Last updated on October 11th, 2021
Google has once again made new design changes in its Gmail logo as well as the whole spectrum of icons. The company has been redesigning its visual identities in the past frequently. So, new designs are no surprises to the users. For marketers, it sounds like a new Google branding strategy. Also, as happened on previous occasions, the new Gmail new logo and icon design revamp has come with both praise and criticism from the users and experts alike. Let’s find out what this new colorful logo says.
Like other big corporations, Google, the leading search engine company in the world, has recently given a new look to its Gmail logo and many other icons. Such redesigning of a company’s brand identity visuals become necessary with time.
This is because people’s likings and dislikings change over the years. Technology and other aspects of life also are not the same as a decade or so before. So, the recreation of brand visuals is part of the branding strategy for big and even small businesses.
Therefore, Google has had its reasons to have a relook at its Gmail new logo and icons. But before that, let us have a brief look at how the logo evolved over the years.
History Of The Logo
Google’s email service called Gmail has been immensely popular with users. The company has been changing its logo very often with time. Since its inception 15 years ago, the Gmail service logo now looks a lot different than its original version. But, all these redesigns kept one element intact which was the ‘Envelop M theme’. It is the same even in the Gmail new logo design.
The Gmail logo was launched in 2004. From then onwards to 2013, the logo was a logotype that displayed the company’s full name. At that time as well, the enveloping element was there in the middle of the name, which was first Google Mail, and then shortened to Gmail.
The Envelope Logo
In 2014, Google replaced the older version of the logo with just the M element. This was because the users were familiar enough with the service and they did not require the full company name. So, the M letter was the sole design element and it was designed in red to catch the attention of the users. The logo had dark and light shades to give it depth and a touch of 3D visuals.
The users had become familiar with Google’s envelope logo on its home page. When the envelope logo was first launched, the users and critics equally praised its unique modern looks. It connected well with the users. The rest of the icons of the Google Suite were also redesigned accordingly.
The recent redesign in 2020, thus, was round the corner given the company’s history of a frequent revamping of its visual identities. Now, the M envelope design is still there but in a different look.
Besides recreating the Gmail new logo, the company also has renamed it for its collection of apps. Now, G Suite will be called Google Workspace. The company says that the Workspace represents the new online work culture.
Why did Google redesign its logo?
Google has now given a new look to their previously called G Suite software. Even Google G Suite has been renamed as Google Workspace. The efforts from the company are directed to get Gmail, Chat, and Docs merged into one platform. Here, the company intends to compete with Microsoft Office and Outlook email, which are known for their integrated approach.
Reflecting On The New Work Environment
A motivation behind redesigning the Google logo and the whole spectrum of the icons is the new thinking about the work. The way modern people work has changed a lot over the years.
According to Google, the main reason for the redesigning of its logo was that the company wanted to visually represent “a more connected, helpful, and flexible experience.” About the changes made in its other icons, the company says that it was because the Workspace apps were “part of the same family’’.
Google’s vice president and general manager of G Suite, now Workspace, Javier Soltero says, “Work is no longer defined as a physical place, necessarily,” He says. “What we’ve been able to prove over the last six months around the world is that you can run banks, governments, healthcare institutions, all kinds of businesses in a distributed fashion, and I think that leaves with it a lasting change.” This can be said even more authentically today in the pandemic times when most people are working virtually.
So, for Google, according to their officials, the Workspace is not just another name change for Google Suite. For them, the new name Workspace is part of evolution and it represents the new era of virtual working.
What was the design challenge?
To redesign Gmail’s new logo was not an easy task for Google’s design team. They had to consider a lot of factors including the fear of how people will respond. When a logo is already popular and has an emotional appeal amongst users, recreating it is surely a tough job. Due to the attachment to the older design, people often do not like a new logo version. People have reacted aggressively against many company logos that were redesigned in the past.
Merging Of Individual Identities
But, a major challenge before the company’s design team was redesigning the Gmail new logo in such a way that it became the basis for Workshop logo designs. The company wanted to merge all its different entities into one identity. The aim was to make consumers feel that all those services come from the same brand and they complete one big picture. But at the same time, each entity should also keep its unique identity.
Margaret Cyphers, the creative director at Google, says, “Life has changed, but also the way that people work has changed.” To represent and reflect this statement, it was important to revamp the design to the extent that it looked entirely different from the previous one. So, the design team created a new set of icons for each of the Workspace entities.
Cyphers emphasized that the balance of creating new icons and keeping their identities was not easy. She said, “When you have strong brand equity, that’s something you have to be very respectful of and cautious [about].”
What are the main elements of the new Gmail logo?
Google’s new logo is a simple design. It is a M shaped logo that users can identify with quickly. There are not many other elements. When the logo was first launched more than a decade ago, it had a lot of text. The full company name made the logo at that time. But now it is a simple M, and Google redesigns it only to ensure that the envelope looks different.
Here Are Some Of The Elements Of The Gmail New Logo
Color is perhaps the most important design element in the visual language of most companies. They communicate a brand message to the target audience using those brand colors. So, colors help a lot in determining the precise visual identity of a brand. Mostly, when a company decides on its brand color palette, it uses those colors across all products such as websites, brochures, business cards, etc for consistency that the product or service comes from the company and the audience can rest assured about that.
Considering that, Google also has maintained the old color pallet in the redesigned logo. Google has redesigned its envelope M logo. While the M shape remains the same but it comes with huge color modifications. Now, the new logo has blue, red, yellow, and green colors which are brand colors of Google. These are also the colors used in all Google products such as Google Maps, Google Photos, Chrome, and others.
So, the designers kept the M element but added the company’s all the traditional brand colors. The color palette now dominates the logo. However, amongst the colors, red is predominant in the logo. Yellow, blue, and green merely show their presence at the arch of the M design.
02. Color Consistency
Once the logo redesign was in place, Google took care of the consistency as well. Now the logos of all the other products appear in the same shape and color palette as Google’s new logo. So, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Meet, Google Sheets logos have been revamped as per the new logo design.
After redesigning its logo and other Google Workshop logos, Google now has the same visual language for all the apps. But the way the colors are used in the new logo design has been criticized by some experts.
For instance, experts point out that there is no order or direction in the use of the colors. They say that while some Google products now have the color order of red, yellow, green, and blue the other one has red, yellow, blue, and green. Our eyes can spot such inconsistency in the color order and creates some confusion. But, it looks like the designers did not consider that important in creating new logo.
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03. Overlapping Colors
Another feature of the color used is that they overlap each other. To some, these logos may look a bit complex and puzzling to eyes. In the older logos, the three colors were separate from each other. Blue, yellow, and green were the primaries and then there were their secondaries. But the new logos have three primaries and just one secondary.
The shape is another important design element. It helps determine the visual impact on the viewers. A unique feature of the Gmail new logo is its M envelop shape.
The Google design team under Cyphers conducted some testing and got feedback on it. They found that the ‘envelop’ element of the Google logo was not that critical to the design, which surprised the team.
About the new logo, Cyphers says, “It feels different and fresh and more modern, but I can still tell it’s Gmail.”
The previous logo was a sleek design in red and had some shades inside and on top of it. This gave the logo some three-dimensional effect. Now, the Gmail new logo design is a lot thicker. The legs of the M and its shoulders appear a lot thicker now. The shoulders are well rounded and appear broader than before.
While the older version of the logo had shades, the newer one is deprived of it and appears as clean. But, overlapping colors have compensated for the lack of shades in the new design. Since the logo is now a colorful version, it no longer is dependent on those shades to make an impact.
05. Workshop Logos
As far as the shape of the Workshop icons is concerned, they will change as per the background. The previous icon designs had a solid shape and therefore, the impact of background did not matter. But while deciding on the shape, if it is dictated by the background, then the UI a user has chosen becomes a big factor in the impact of the shape.
For instance, these logos have a hole in the middle. Now, will that hole will always be in white? In that case, it will appear as a positive space against a dark background but negative against a white background. That means if the background is white the hole will appear in white, which is a positive space. So, the logos are hollow and four of the logos are rectangular.
People’s Reaction To The Logo
After Google’s Gmail new Logo and its Workplace icons were released, not all experts and people have spoken good about it. They have severely criticized the logos and even called them a design failure.
Experts have much to say against Gmail’s new logo design. They think that a rainbow of colors for Gmail is not a good strategy as it looks similar to the other Workspace icons. It should have looked distinctive as the email services are a separate and major identity of the company.
One of the complaints of the users is that these icons look too similar and they can be easily mistaken for one another. The logo and icons have all the colors. Because they all have all the colors, users can’t tell them apart.
Colors Lack Order and Direction
A major criticism regarding the use of colors is that the order of colors is different in the icons. This creates a bit of confusion in the users’ minds. The direction of the colors is also not the same. Some icons have clockwise and others have an anti-clockwise direction of the colors red, yellow, green, and blue.
Overall, criticisms apart, we can say that Google felt that it was time to reflect the undergoing changes in the world. People are working differently as compared to a decade ago. They have new technologies that allow remote working, for instance, much easier.
Google wanted to reflect such changes in its Gmail new logo and Workshop icons. As far as the users’ and critics’ adverse comments are concerned, that is part of a new design. We all are emotionally attached to the older designs and react unfavorably to any alterations. In the end, people will get used to the new logos.
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Gmail’s new logo has Google’s all brand colors. The generous use of colors makes the logo look unique and different from the previous design. The company did so to reflect the new online work culture developing across the world. Its Workshop icons have also been revamped with the brand colors and look different.