Comparative Critique (Google)

Google has grown to the point where it has become synonymous with the internet. The Google homepage is iconic for its simplicity and its ease of use. With this integration into online media, Google has a lot of responsibility in keeping its search engine clean in terms of design because of its global use. I never feel limited while using google. There is just enough customizability and the content is always the main focus. Simplicity has always been at the forefront of Google which is made evident through their logo and branding systems.

In 2013 Google changed from a 3d logo to a primarily flat one. It seems like the 2013-2015 logo still had some sort of gradient making it appear 3d to me. I think the variance in the girth of the type also contributed to this 3d effect in the old logo. The newest Google logo has eliminated any doubt that it is even slightly 3d. It is truly flat and feels a lot more stable compared to the old logo.

With the rebranding of Google in 2015 they also released a new Product Sans typeface to be paired with Google products. The type in the new logo is derived from this typeface as well. The simple typographic shapes and forms in the new logo are interactive and fun. It  feels very architectural in form due to the type’s rectangular structure and stability. The  previous logo feels sophisticated while the new logo feels more approachable and kind hearted. This duality in nature is found primarily in the two logo’s type choices. The new typeface provides more interesting negative space within the logo while the old is more about the form and movement of the positive space.

The color scheme has not changed in the new logo however the G icon now sports the full arrangement of color instead of just solid blue. This change to the G icon makes it more versatile in my opinion. The use of the full color scheme adds depth and complexity that is potentially lost in the flattening of the main logo. I really appreciate how the G icon and main logo compliment each other in their different applications.

Google released a design rollout video that accompanied the new logo and brand systems. The video featured a lot of new animation elements that linked different design elements together in a pretty fun way. The video also focused a lot on the new voice recognition software and how it could be used with newer devices such as smart watches. This is a cool feature however it takes center stage away from more important conceptual changes in the rebrand.

In addition to the new G icon there is also a new microphone icon which falls in line with their focus on voice recognition. This microphone icon follows the same color scheme as the main logo similar to how the new G icon looks. The shapes combined with the color and the flatness make this icon feel strange compared to the other design elements. There is no implied depth like with the new G icon making the microphone feel out of place. The variance in rounded versus sharp corners adds to this strangeness.

Overall I think the ideas and concept behind the rebrand are really well thought out and make a lot of sense with Google’s history. I think the simplistic nature of the new logo brings a new perspective on Google for me. When I was a child I mainly thought of Google as a source for information and studying. This rebrand gives a gentle push away from the formal perception that I had previously.

Marshall McLuhan’s Communication Theory

McLuhan’s idea of “hot and cold” media comes off as deceptively simple and inconsistent when looking at the consumption of media today. One of my main issues with this idea is that it relies on everyone having a similar perception of media, which is just not the case. From my experience levels of engagement with a certain piece of media have more to do with the context as well as the perception of the viewer than the medium itself. I think the reason for this binary scale, that McLuhan utilized, was the fact that there were a set number of electronic media mediums that could be viewed at the time. Today there is such a wide range of mediums and technology that the line becomes blurred.

Another idea that McLuhan wrote about was that “the medium is the message”. This phrase is a bit over the top but it does help give us an understanding of how medium and message correlate. I’d say the medium provides a range of perception that the message can sit in. This range can inform peoples opinion of the message to an extent but the message is still there and able to exist on its own. With how fast messages and content can be shared these days it is especially important to consider how ones message will be perceived in different mediums. This applies to graphic designers of course. Being conscious of other mediums and how they inform your design choices is necessary as a graphic designer since we often spend 90% of the design process in front of the computer.

Today we live in a media filled world. Media guides us constantly and often times distracts us from the real world. Recently with the rise of social media people now rely more and more on social interaction through digital means. This trend is kind of scary in a way and is becoming more of a concern with people working and schooling online. Social media is kind of a double edged sword in a way. It can give us ways to make new friends and stay in touch with friends who have moved but at the same time it can mess with people’s minds and change how we perceive the world in damaging ways. With all that said I don’t see a clear way to deal with this oversaturation of social content through design alone. Perhaps designers need to be more aware of visual stimuli and how images and messages can affect the brain.


Hi my name is Calvin Balzer and I am currently a Graphic Design student at Oregon State University. I enjoy creating and sharing creative projects with peers as well as the internet. Currently I am trying to explore different design and art related mediums in order to find something that I feel very passionate about. Hopefully to find a career for myself through exploring different communities and platforms and applying myself and putting myself out there as a creative individual. One of my goals for 2021 are to put myself out there and develop some sort of a following online. Whether that following be on Twitch or Instagram or wherever.