If you took a look at Google yesterday you will have noticed that it was another of those special days that Google decided to commemorate with a specially designed version of their logo. To honour Freddy Mercury’s 65th birthday, the logo was creatively woven through a collection of portraits of the Queen frontman. A play button in the centre ran an animated video of the band playing along to their hit ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, before Mercury himself shoots off through a montage of Queen references. These Google Doodles as they are known have become a popular feature on the site, so I thought I would compile a list of some of our favourites. I’ve eliminated ones that featured on only one country’s website in favour of those that are more internationally recognised.
Burning Man – 1998
Not the most elaborate design that Google would create, but the origins of the Doodle lie in a simple trip to Burning Man festival for founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. To let users know they were out of the office, a simple representation of the festival’s iconic effigy appeared behind the logo.
Dilbert – 2002
In 2002, a week long series of Google Doodles was run in which the comic character Dilbert’s office attempted to come up with a new logo for Google. Cue some dodgy puns and a new logo (at Dilbert’s expense) that somehow failed to be implemented.
TiSP – 2007
In 2007, Google got in on the April Fool’s Game. A standard logo with the second g replaced by a drawing of a toilet linked to TiSP, which purported to be free wireless broadband service that brought the Internet into users’ homes via their plumbing system. Installation involved flushing one end of the cable through the system until it reached a TiSP Access Node.
Large Hadron Collider – 2008
Google honoured the switching on of everyone’s favourite misunderstood apocalypse machine with this Doodle in 2008. Nothing fancy here, just a great design that matches its theme perfectly.
Samuel Morse’s Birthday – 2009
Ok, it may be an obvious idea but it just looks great. Notice that despite the abstract shapes on the screen it still looks like the familiar Google logo, a testament to the strong role that colouring plays in the original.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday – 2009
My favourite of the Doodles to honour a political figure, this 2009 design keeps things simple and subtle. Gandhi’s head cleverly forms the G, and the entire logo is set against an image of khadi, the cloth which Gandhi encouraged Indians to spin as a symbol of independence.
Pacman’s 30th Anniversary – 2010
Arguably the most celebrated of Doodles, Google honoured Pacman’s 30th anniversary with this playable custom version of the game. Work your way around this Google-shaped labyrinth, dodging ghosts and eating dots, power pellets and fruit for some retro fun.
Will Eisner’s Birthday – 2011
Of all the tributes to artists that have featured in the Google Doodles, this one to mark comic artist Will Eisner’s 94th birthday is one of the most beautifully rendered. With the first o consisting of an image of his famous character The Spirit, the other letters appear as buildings in the style of his own depictions of his native New York.
Les Paul’s Birthday – 2011
Google gave the gift of music to its users with this Doodle, allowing you to ‘pluck’ strings with prerecorded notes on them, that could also be recorded and passed on. This is another Doodle that does a really good job of keeping true to the logo in an abstract way, the shapes of the letters being hinted at by the components of the guitar, whilst the plucked strings vibrate with the Google colouring.
Charlie Chaplin’s Birthday – 2011
Not the first video Doodle to appear on the site, but you have to admire the effort here. Google recreated a Charlie Chaplin style silent comedy featuring the logo and various Chaplin-esque comedy moments.
A complete archive of Google Doodles can be found here. Got a favourite that hasn’t been mentioned? Leave a comment below and show us!