The occasional artistic “doodles” that replace the Google logo are seen by hundreds of millions of people. But who are the brains behind them?
A playable Les Paul guitar, a Pac-Man game and a keyboard in celebration of Robert Moog. These are just some of the many doodles that Google has displayed on its home page.
What started in 1998 as a stick figure drawing behind the letter “o” to show the team were out of the office, has now developed into intricate designs, games and artistic representations of famous figures and events.
There have been more than 1,000 doodles. They depict both the famous and the less well-known, they feature anniversaries and some more idiosyncratic tributes, and are increasingly becoming interactive and shareable.
How else would hundreds of millions of people been reminded of Amelia Earhart’s 115th birthday or that Gideon Sundback was the inventor of the zip? On his 132nd birthday, Google placed a giant zip down their home page.
On every day of the 2012 Olympics, a new sport-themed doodle has lived above the search bar. One day it was synchronised swimming, another day users could practise shooting hoops against the clock.
They are seen by hundreds of millions of people. Some are put together in a few hours – others, like the Freddie Mercury tribute, take several months to complete. All are created by the handful of “doodlers” who sit in a small office in California.
The team’s “creative lead”, Ryan Germick, says he doesn’t dwell on the idea of his work being viewed by such a mindboggling number of people.
“Human brains are not built to understand how hundreds of millions of people interpret something. For me it’s more about seeing if I can make my colleagues laugh, or learn a new technique. Then I’ve done my job.
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