Tech Giant Rebrands during the year of Lockdown: our thoughts on Google

November 06, 2020
3 min read
Daria Gonzalez
CEO

The year 2020 hit many businesses hard. While many weren’t able to pick themselves off the ground and others froze in an attempt to weather the storm, some decided not to shy away from the challenge and rethink their brands to accommodate this new reality.

The Tech vertical, for obvious reasons, suffered significantly less than others did during this economic shift. Some brands even benefitted from the lockdown, allowing them to be more action-driven with their budget spends. Over the next month, we’ll be looking at five major tech companies that rebranded during the tumultuous year and learn from their wins and failures.

Last week we dove into Medium’s recent rebrand, relaying our thoughts on their strategy and new logo. Medium rebranded to manifest a more relational and expressive platform to engage their creators and users better. A timely adjustment during the lockdown craze. This week, we’re looking at Google, who also made significant changes this year to their G- Suite and Maps apps.

Google Workspace

Google reworked their G Suite into Google Workspace and rolled out its new identity in late September. However, Google Workspace is not merely a makeover for their productivity apps, but a bigger shift, both in function and appearance. According to their team, Google Workspace was planned before the coronavirus crisis, but the pandemic created a sense of urgency.

The Google Workspace identity serves as an umbrella to gather all of its apps under the same sub-branding while simplifying each app’s symbol and incorporating their staple Google 4-color palette.

Courtesy: Google

Though clearly a move in the right direction — as cohesion is essential in a brand — it is still questionable whether applying such a vibrant color palette to a variety of small icons that, on several occasions, will appear next to one another, is the best way to ensure brand cohesion without missing out on the user experience. According to user complaints, Google Workspace’s logos are now too similar and some, almost indistinguishable. As depicted in this widely popular meme circulating the marketing and design networks on LinkedIn:

Google Maps

In addition to Workspace, Google Maps celebrated its 15th anniversary by also rebranding. GMaps’ pin finally accumulated enough fame by itself to stand alone as a recognizable mark (much like Nike’s “swoosh” symbol). This is quite huge and marks a new branding era for Google Maps. It also allows for a much cleaner, sleek, and memorable logo than its predecessor that fits a road, Google logomark, and location pin all in one small square.

Courtesy: Google

Final wunderthoughts:

Win:

Converting veteran app icons into potent, stand-alone symbols and aligning multiple products under a unified brand.

Loss:

Failing to differentiate enough between product icons while creating a unified brand line, making the user experience confusing.

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