Back in June Google changed its Favicon that appears next to their URL in web browsers and set off and insane amount of debate about what it meant for the future of their branding. The explanation from Google at the time was it was trying to create a more unified set of icons for the brand to use.
All of that sounded fine until today when I saw that they changes their Favicon again less than a year after they did it the first time. On top of that the new Favicon is the result of a call for entries by Google to create a new icon and the design is based on one specific submission seemingly with inspiration also taken from a few others.
This is all just a strange and unnecessary change and you would have thought they would have thought they would have learned their lesson the first time. Who thinks it is a good idea to experiment which an iconic brand and show that new branding concept through a 16×16 pixel icon? It’s like saying advertising on grains of rice to people with cataracts is a good idea. It’s small. It’s fuzzy and it just isn’t the right platform for this kind of work.
This seems like the perfect case of ivory tower syndrome where brands get so caught up in their own world they forget that the rest of the world hasn’t been sitting in their meetings, seeing 200 different versions and seeing how this fits into a biggest brand system. If you do things like this then we are forced into judging the work on what they give us. In this case you gave us a barely readable “g” that doesn’t lend itself to any aliasing on the rounded corners. I think that if you put this in a better and large execution then the icon could have potential to work to modernize the look of the brand but to me it seems like someone needs to get control of this and create a more unified and smarter approach to their branding work.