The Google Doodle has evolved from a simple stick man, to complex, meaningful designs that embody what Google stands for.
The first ever Google Doodle was featured in August 1998 and designed by Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The doodle was a simple depiction of a stick man standing behind the second ‘O’, and it’s purpose was to notify users of the Burning Man Festival taking place (an event which both founders attended that year).
Shortly after Page and Brin came up with the burning man doodle, which in essence was an “out the office” reminder to those using the search engine, they asked then intern, Dennis Hwang, to produce a doodle for Bastille day (French national day). After his creation, the ball really started rolling and Hwang was appointed Chief Doodler because the animation was so well received by users.
The year 2000 saw Google’s first real doodles as we know them today. To celebrate the summer Olympics that took place in Sydney, Australia, multiple doodles were added to the main logo. Each one depicted a kangaroo taking part in a different Olympic sport.
Hwang was the sole “doodler” for a number of years but today, these little pieces of art are created by an entire team of dedicated graphic designers and engineers. Google will occasionally work with guest artists too, like Samuel Githui, the first African artist to collaborate with the brand.
To decide which events, figures, and holidays get a custom doodle, the design team periodically meet up to brainstorm new ideas. The selection process is aimed at celebrating interesting events that reflect Google’s love and passion for innovation. Once an idea is given the green light, illustrators and engineers can begin creating it.
In 2015, Google reported that they’d launched more than 2,000 doodles for various homepages around the world. One of the most memorable doodles to come out recently was a tribute to musical legend Freddie Mercury, for what would have been his 65th birthday. Another fun doodle was created to celebrate the anniversary of the first man in space. This doodle involved hovering your mouse over the logo to launch a rocket. A simple yet memorable design.
Google Doodles have always been a great way for the company to show that they care and are socially aware, that they enjoy celebrating significant dates and events with you, the users. These little creations are quirky and fun, and serve as great reminders to the public that something special might be going on.