When Google redesigned its logo and replaced its classic serif typeface with a more modern font last year, there was no shortage of strong opinions -- some were favorable while others more hostile. 

Sarah Larson wrote in The New Yorker, "Google took something we trusted and filed off its dignity. Now, in its place, we have an insipid 'G,' an owl-eyed 'oo,' a schoolroom 'g,' a ho-hum 'l,' and a demented, showboating 'e.' I don’t want to think about that 'e' ever again."

Uber's recent "radical rebranding" was another highly contested design change.

So apparently, you can change the recipe for the most recognizable food choice of American children (and some adults) -- Mac & Cheese -- and no one will notice, but make an adjustment to a font, color, or icon, and your brand could be the object of vitriol.  

It shows just how difficult it can be to modernize and change the symbol of a brand, even though design standards and use cases are changing. Part of Google's move to a sans serif font was to make the name legible at smaller sizes (smartwatches) and animated to reflect its native (digital) environment. 

DesignHill created the below graphic to track the changing design philosophies that have infuenced logo design since the mid-1800s. Check it out to see how the evolution of art and style prompted changes in graphic design: 



Originally published Mar 17, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017


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