Google has altered its typeface. Cue much discussion about what subtle message the company is trying to convey.
Serifs, in layman's terms, are the "little tails" on letters in some typefaces. Google's new logo, having last been updated in September 2013, has done away with serifs in a bid to appear "simple, uncluttered, colourful and friendly". It comes a month after it announced plans to create Alphabet, a new parent company. Both will use the typeface Product Sans.
When Google first rose to prominence, it was generally accessed from a desktop computer. The challenge for the company now is to be easily understood on a multitude of platforms, devices and apps which didn't previously exist.
A glance at some of the oldest newspapers in the world reveals a strong penchant for serifs. The Daily Mail, the Sydney Morning Herald and the New York Times all use them, although the latter recently refreshed the typeface of its magazine to reflect how times have changed since the pullout was first printed in 1897.
Companies change their typefaces to keep them up to date, or because an old logo no longer fits with a new business strategy, says graphic designer David Airey, author of Logo Design Love. This could range from a small refinement to a complete redesign.
"Google is one of the world's most innovative companies, so the previous serif wordmark was never really the right fit, particularly considering the young age of the business. Serif typefaces are generally more suited to traditional companies with a lot of history and heritage. It makes sense for Google to be identified by a more contemporary mark."
The cost of implementing the physical change at its offices is likely to be quite small although the company has already updated the logo outside its headquarters in California.
Google is hoping this update will stand the test of time. For those interested in those redesigns which haven't endured, there's a place you can search for that.
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