Google’s logo doodles are an amazing piece of storytelling, whether it’s a static bit of beauty, a rotating refresh montage, or an incredible animated piece like the one above, live on May 11, 2011 to celebrate the birthday of contemporary dancer Martha Graham.
In the past, Google has reserved their Google Doodle logo changes for specific holidays, but recently they have had something new almost every day (and on many occasions they have shown off a few new doodles per day for international users, as seen here). When searching, every day an interesting graphic appears in the top left corner of Google’s results page, often celebrating a life or an event that most people have devoted very little thought. Taking the time to click through and read a few snippets is a small way to learn just a little bit more about the world we live in.
No other company can make such positive headlines by playing with its logo so often. Google has spent a long time reinforcing its image as a very unique and unusual company, and has gained license to tinker. Other companies are terrified to mess with their brand identity in any way for fear of diluting it and confusing their customers into jumping ship for another product. Google realizes that it is not the logo that makes a company what it is, it’s what it is that makes a company what it is.
Google is search, content, information, communication, endless strings of semi-related information, things you had no idea existed (as well as things you wish didn’t), but it is more. Google is not a logo and it is not a building in California. Google is us. It is the new story of ourselves, a story that is told as we choose, when we choose, and it is ongoing, expanding our world farther than we could have imagined. This is what Google is, and once a company realizes what it truly offers–the story that it tells–and takes the time to carefully build its business around that then it doesn’t have to be afraid of something as silly as a logo.
In the doodle dedicated to Martha Graham, the dancer swirls and flows, suggesting story through movement, the particles trailing off behind her to visually remind us of where she has been. She leaps through the air and finally lands with a thunderous stomp, putting the final punctuation on her moment as if to say, “Done.” When she has finished all she has to say, you realize she has traveled backwards through the logo, but by clicking we move forwards into a new world of information, increasing our knowledge and adding another chapter to the story that Google itself has to tell.