by Kartik Mathur
Google’s new logo evokes more than just shock: there is something ugly and classless about the thick overly-simplified letters. The typeface is reminiscent of Comic Sans, Mc Donald’s, children’s alphabet printing.
Any resemblance to Comic Sans is unfortunate.Comic Sans has become one of the most widely hated fonts, with websites and Internet campaigns dedicated to opposing the use of Comic Sans, like ‘Comic Sans Criminal’.
Comic Sans is a casual script typeface inspired by the graphic novels and comics ‘The Dark Knight Returns‘ and ‘Watchmen‘. As the name suggests, it was developed for use within speech bubbles, in comics, and other informal documents. Comic Sans has never suggested elegance, nor was it intended to. For example, Comic Sans should never be used in reports, papers, or even in a newsletter.
The old logo, with its curlicued typeface and serifs, was reminiscent of printing, books, literature. The font was a nod to formal and elegant typefaces, used traditionally in professional and erudite publications. The old logo was not patronizing; it was an honest, handsome representation of a fast and accurate search engine, whose results spoke for themselves.
Another design objective that apparently influenced the new logo was uniformity. Google has been serving mobile browsing agents with a slightly different logo for a while now. They seem to have unilaterally decided that two Google logos are one too many. Thus, they opted to replace the beautiful old-fashioned logo with easily rendered, geometric, slightly altered shapes.
Even the beloved little blue ‘g’ icon that appeared on tabs has been replaced. The new four-colour ‘G’, matching the new logo, is crass and unappealing. Scaled down to the flavicon dimension, the new ‘g’ is lurid, with unintelligible individual colours. At every level, distinctive elegance and whimsy have been supplanted by conformity, commercialization and a depressing uniformity.
The new logo came just a month after a major restructuring of Google was announced. Google is now owned by a new holding company named Alphabet, to separate the profit-making search engine company from loss-making projects, like robot cars, medical research and internet-delivering balloons. It is believed that this move will allow greater transparency of how investors’ money is being used.
However, Google’s new logo is indicative of more than just bad taste. The problem runs deeper.
It seems like the age of Serif fonts is at an end. Most sites now use Sans Serif fonts for large bodies of text, and even the search results of Google are in Sans Serif. In fact, the old Google logo was distinctive for its iconic serifs, setting it apart from the accompanying text in Sans Serif, on the canvas of the clean, white homepage.
It now seems that Serif fonts only reign supreme within the pages of books, and in the quietly authoritative columns of professional publications and papers.
Google claims that the new design is “simple, uncluttered, colorful, friendly”. However, since when did a couple of serifs become threatening? Why does Google suddenly feel the need for this forced ‘reassurance’? It seems that as our Internet privacy is encroached upon further day by day, companies like Google strive to maintain a false illusion of friendliness and security.