When you want to know what is happening in the world, Google is the first port of call for many people. Google also brilliantly knows how to mark and celebrate important global events in a fun and creative way, and this is through their brilliant Doodles. Google Doodles are where they redesign the logo to reflect important days, birthdays and events. Many of these are also animated or even interactive, and there have been dozens of fantastic ones over the years which we will be taking a look through today.
10. Burning Man
The one that started it all, the very first Doodle was used in 1998 and was designed as an “Out of Office” message for co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The pair were attending the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, and found this as a fun and creative way to let people know that they would be unavailable for the duration of the festival in case the servers crashed. This Doodle design simply sees the stick figure of the logo stood behind the second “o” in Google. Although this design is very simple in comparison to the ones that would follow, it is still one of the greatest and most important ones to date. After this Burning Man Doodle was used, they would hire a team of specialists to design and create these Doodles, and these employees are now brilliantly called “Doodlers.”
9. Les Paul’s 96th birthday
The team at Google came up with a fantastic Doodle in celebration of guitar pioneer and inventor Les Paul’s 96th birthday. This was to redesign the logo as an interactive and playable electric guitar. Not only was it an excellent design, but it was also a tremendous amount of fun, which made it easy and simple for guitar players and non-players to rock out whilst surfing the web, all whilst paying tribute to the legendary jazz and blues musician who also is the father of solid body electric guitars. This consequently paved the way for rock and roll as we know it today, and this is something that Google clearly felt was worth celebrating. Much like all of Google’s best Doodles, this one was fun, interactive, brilliantly designed and marked an important occasion.
8. Charlie Chaplin’s 122nd birthday
Legendary silent film star Charlie Chaplin remains immensely famous and an important name in film, and Google decided to honor the actor with a very creative Doodle which was designed to celebrate his 122nd birthday in 2011. In a similar vein to all his silent film work, this Doodle sees a Chaplin lookalike who interacts with the Google logo, reads a Google newspaper and even attempts to draw his own Google Doodle. Chaplin’s work shows the power of visual storytelling, and this is something which Google clearly understand and have put to work so well here in this very creative piece. The team must have had a huge amount of fun with this Doodle, as they actually all star in the short piece with Mike Dutton starring as Charlie Chaplin and sporting the famous mustache, hat and eyeliner.
7. Claude Debussy’s 151st Birthday
In order to celebrate one of the most influential composer of all time on what would be 151st birthday in August of 2013, the Google Doodle team came up with a beautiful design which was a serene nighttime sequence with one of his most famous compositions playing in the background. Against the beautiful piece of music, users saw a moonlight sky with twinkling stars, lampposts and flashing windows illuminate the scene of a steam boat travelling down the river with cars, cyclists and even a rowing boat also travelling. The city is inspired by cities from the late 1800s, whilst the style has a flat and graphic look which suits the tone of the Doodle very well. Whether you were familiar with the legendary composer or not, everyone who visited Google on this day were in awe of the stunning Doodle and the fantastic piece of accompanying music.
6. Halloween 2012
The team at Google clearly love Halloween, and this is evident with a number of spooky yet brilliant Doodles to mark the holiday. Although there are a few to choose from, most would agree that the 2012 Doodle is the best Halloween one to date. This interactive Doodle features a spooky looking street with a gusty wind and five doors which you can click on (if you’re feeling brave enough), plus there are a number of pumpkins and a raven to complete the scene. There is a scary surprise behind each door which eventually spells out Google, and there are a number of nice little touches, including the eyes following the mouse and the cat in the trash can, which shows the creativity that the team has. To complete the eerie setting, there is a chilling wind sound that plays over the top.
5. Pac Man
There are thousands of fantastic video games that feature stunning graphics, yet it is still hard to top a game that is as fun and addictive as Pac Man. In order to celebrate the 30th birthday of this legendary game, Google enabled users to play the game in all its 8-bit glory all around the Google letters. Not only was this a huge amount of fun and a Doodle that no doubt many people spent far too long playing, but it was also the very first playable Doodle and therefore was an important development for Google. Not only did this Doodle feature all the original colors, sounds and characters, but it even purposefully included many of the same bugs for a real sense of nostalgia. Whilst it will have brought back memories for many users, it will also have introduced the classic game to a whole new audience too.
4. Freddie Mercury’s 65th Birthday
For what would have been Queen frontman’s 65th birthday, Google designed an incredible Doodle which was a brilliant tribute to the legendary singer. The animated tribute is set to Queen’s iconic “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and features a colorful sequence where Mercury and Queen perform the song live as well as an animated sequence which reference the famous lyrics of the song. This then comes to a conclusion as the Google letters come to the forefront. This amazing animation and tribute to Mercury came shortly after Google had spoken to Mercury’s former bandmate Brian May, who Google had invited to come and post about his experiences with Mercury and life in one of the most famous rock acts of all time. The Doodle team clearly found this extremely inspirational, as they would go on to create this masterpiece which was an excellent tribute to Mercury.
3. Saul Bass’ 93rd birthday
When it comes to graphic design, Saul Bass is the master and therefore he must be a very influential figure for Google. To celebrate his 93rd birthday in 2013, the Doodle team came up with a sequence which is a tribute to his very distinctive and mesmerising style. Bass was responsible for many of the greatest film credit sequences of all-time, perhaps most notably is the hugely influential sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. This is clearly referenced in this Doodle amongst much of his other work (including film posters), with the designers having to reach out to all the studios to obtain rights to be able to use such imagery. Music also plays a huge factor with this Doodle, as the captivating animation is set to a jazzy Dave Brubeck track titled “Unsquare Dance.”
2. John Lennon’s 70th birthday
With their first ever animated video Doodle, Google created a stunning piece of art which was designed to celebrate what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. Lennon is one of the most iconic and influential artists of all time, so it was fitting that Google would experiment slightly and create something so unique and captivating. The Doodle is an animated sequence which acts as a mini music video to his famous song “Imagine,” which ends with a mini animated version of John with his glasses making the “oo” in the Google letters. It is a very fitting and creative tribute, and it remains one of Google’s most visually impressive Doodles to date. Doodler Mike Dutton stated “The old saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ still rings true, so I hope a moving picture will help me adequately—and simply—thank John for the memories.”
1. Robert Moog’s 78th birthday
On the 23rd of May, 2012, users all around the world had a huge amount of fun with Google’s latest Doodle. This very popular one was created to celebrate Robert Moog’s 78th birthday. For those that are unaware, Moog invented the electronic analog Moog synthesizer in the 1960s which became a hugely important tool in electronic music, but it was also heavily used in rock and a number of other genres. To celebrate his birthday, the Doodle team created a fully functioning mini synthesizer which users could control with their mouse and keyboard. Not only could users make all kinds of sounds and no doubt annoy those around them, but they could even record, play and share the songs that they create through a mini 4-track tape recorder, which keeps in theme with 1960s music.