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Google’s Doodles

Many of you may have noticed on Valentine’s Day that Robert Indiana’s LOVE series was given a little Google-doodle-love. I, and others at the museum, found this particularly exciting as the IMA’s permanent collection is home to 62 works of art by Robert Indiana, including the original LOVE sculpture (once displayed in Central Park).

Google has paid homage to a number of artists, inventors, and social happenings since it started doodling in August of 1998. The practice began when Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin modified the company’s infamous logo to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival. Well received by users, the duo decided to create a second alternative logo for Thanksgiving. With a designated Chief Doodler and a team of designers, there have been over 300 doodles created for Google’s US site and over 700 internationally.

The recent Valentine’s doodle sparked my interest in the doodle history and with very little research needed (using Google of course), I came across a timeline of Google doodles. Here are a few that I found to be particularly noteworthy.

It only seem appropriate to start where it all begin. Posted globally on August 30, 1998, the Burning Man festival doodle was used internationally to represent an “out of office message” for the two Google founders who were attending the festival.

Commemorating the birthday of Piet Mondrian, this doodle was published globally on March 7, 2002. It is also the first doodle I came across that clearly paid tribute to an artist.

Other artists later recognized with doodles include Paul Gauguin, Michelangelo, M.C. Escher, Diego Velazquez, and now Robert Indiana (among others). Norman Rockwell’s tribute (published globally February 3, 2010) is pictured here:

Many doodles in the first several years were pretty simple, often replacing one letter with a cartoon or image. “L” became Santa Clause, or “O” became an Easter egg. Veering from the very literal designs published around the same time (and mentioned above), this doodle (issued globally on January 04, 2006) celebrated Louis Braille’s Birthday:

The day this doodle was published (May 22, 2010), was a fairly unproductive morning in my office. Interactive and highly addictive, this doodle commemorated the 30 year anniversary of Pac Man’s creation. Perhaps one of the most popular doodles to date, Google has kept an active link for the Pac Man doodle for those needing a Pac Man fix.

One of my favorite Google doodles was actually created by 15 year-old Vance Viggiano as part of the Doodle 4 Google program. Meant to inspire tomorrow’s leaders and inventers, this competition invites K-12 students to create a doodle around a theme chosen each year (significant scholarship money is awarded to the winner). Vaggiano’s doodle was created to complete the theme “If I could anything, I would…”. He finished the sentence with “…enrich the world with an intense passion for art and the everlasting joy it provides. Art embodies the creator’s expression, and offers exquisite exuberance towards both the artist and the viewers, also serving to soothe an ailing soul in distress.” Talented and thoughtful – he wins my vote.

You can browse the entire collection, or for those students interested in this year’s Doodle for Google, registration ends tomorrow.

Filed under: Around the Web, Art

5 Responses to “Google’s Doodles”

  • avatar
    Maureen Says:

    I had no idea they’d done a pacman one, brilliant stuff! I liked the recent Jules Verne one too. It was designed for a mobile phone and when you tilted the phone, the scene shifted:

  • avatar
    Jenny Says:

    I missed this one – thanks for passing it along!

  • avatar
    Anne Young Says:

    Did you happen to see the recent one for Brancusi’s birthday (2/19/11)? I thought it was rather brilliant!

  • avatar
    Jenny Says:

    I did see it and yes, very nice! It’s really interesting to see the difference between the early years and what they’re creating now. Web Design in general has changed so much in a fairly short amount of time.

  • avatar
    Tim Says:

    My daughter and I had a great time one afternoon going through all of the Google doodles (found, of course, by Googling “Google Doodle”). And Burning Man is still on my list of things to experience!

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