See those shadows? All of that is in the past. The colors have also been tweaked, making them slightly less bright and primary-looking.

Although the new logo started appearing in Chrome on Android devices, the firm only put out a statement regarding the changes yesterday, but kept it brief: "As part of this design, we’ve also refined the color palette and letter shapes of the Google logo.”

Has Google been influenced by the radical overhaul of Apple's mobile OS? Before its release, sources were already calling Jony Ive's design "flat." And just look at the color pop on those icons--you've got to admit that there is a similarity between this and...

...these new navigation bar app-esque logos. Will you just look at those aquas and those raspberries? I feel we're going to see Google's fashion sense with a Cruise collection coming imminently.

Of course, not everything is flat. Marissa Mayer went all shady with Yahoo's new logo. "We came up with the nice idea of creating a chiseled triangular depth to the logo," she wrote in a blog post. "This causes the letter Y to appear in the shading at the ends of each of the letters." (I have a question: Why?)

Following a month-long 30-logo-a-day campaign, Yahoo's old logo was flat. What does this all mean?

Probably not that much. But here's an Apple logo with some real shine and depth to it, captured in a screen shot from its website. How long before that goes flat too? Or do you think the firm has better things to do with its time, like hurry up and get its iWatch finished and in the shops?

Was Google's New Flat Logo Inspired By Apple?

For the past few years, we've thought the tech world was a three-dimensional thing, with shadows and bevels. But now, in a reversal of Christopher Columbus's discovery, it seems that the world is flat.

Google has flattened its logo and unveiled a radical new look for its navigation bar that seems to owe more than a nod to iOS 7, which is "very, very flat." Although the newer, flatter look has been visible to Android users on Chrome, the firm only commented briefly on the changes: "As part of this design, we’ve also refined the color palette and letter shapes of the Google logo.”

So, is this a trend we're going to see rolling out throughout the tech industry? Not everyone is going in the same direction, it seems.

[Image: Google]

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28 Comments

  • yifcgvhb

    the flat style is always been there... between 2007-2012 it's been used the "shadows style" (in logos, buttons...) but lately they are using more often the flat style... both of them are just trends and both have always existed (nobody had invented or created the flat style), now it has gone popular to use flat style and everybody uses it but it stills a trend it will go old fashioned in a few years... (sorry for my english i'm spanish)

  • "MaxxFordham"

    I don't know why anyone would want to go back to flat looks after we've already progressed way beyond that with some great-looking 3D-like icons and some that are even photorealistic! All this flat junk just looks like they've slid back into the way-old past! Why would we want that?

  • Jonathan H

    Skeuomorphism is a dated, lazy crutch of an approach that some designers use, but flat design is about stripping back the artifice and moving interaction design forward. No one used floppy disks anymore, but skeuomorphic designs do because some concepts like 'Save' are really difficult to convey. If you want photorealistic, take a photo. Meanwhile, actual designers like myself will be doing what we can to push interface design forward.

  • "MaxxFordham"

    Okay, Jon, well you're talking about just skeuomorphism--at least so you think; or maybe you've partially fallen prey to what seems to be the mass's misdefinition of that word from as the definition that really belongs to the term *"visual metaphor,"* or even more specically, the term *"visual emulation"* instead--but I'm not talking about just designing decorations, etc. that are there just to look like something that used to have a function. And I'm not talking about what would actually be called visual emulations or metaphors, where, for our case ere, in the electronic display world icons and software-based buttons and other controls and indicators, etc. are designed to look like physical real-world objects that don't really need to look that way in order to function just fine electronically (whether or not that physical object isn't or is still in wide use or at least still serves a real function), such as say, maybe a volume control on a computer that looks like a physical volume knob or slider instead of just a mostly blank circle with a dot or a mostly blank box on a line.

    Even your example of a button with an image that looks a bit like a piece of outdated technology like the floppy disk (not that *no one* uses anymore, but which many people don't use anymore) to mean "save" isn't necessarily exactly skeuomorphism, anyway. The way that works doesn't really fit the true definition of the word. Maybe that kind of icon has transcended into more of a form of language. it's really an iconic metaphor.

    What I'm talking about, instead, isn't mere skeuomorphism or even just visual metaphor, or emulation, but simply the way something looks, whether it looks cool or nice, or more plain and boring. For example, I still like some e-buttons and things that look like physical buttons, but not so much just because maybe they look comfortably familiar that way, but just because I think they look better that way. There are some skeuomorphs or/and visual/auditory metaphors that I've never liked, however, such as the fake button hole up in a lapel of some suit jackets or sports coats that's sewn in just so we can see it there. As for electronics, whenever I buy a new digital still camera, I turn the auditory metaphor of the film-camera shutter sound off because I don't like it to make an alerting sound that a picture was just shot just so it can make the sound of a film camera.

    So rather than just wanting the electronic device industry to get rid of skeumorphism, I'm simply saying that I don't see why we should go back and make the graphic design of buttons like drive icons and program-launching buttons and backgrounds, and even text for titles and things, so flat and basic all over again. Flat and basic stuff looks boring to me. (Even facebook = fb = flat and basic, haha!) An icon button doesn't have to be flattened and lose nice detail in order for it to be nonskeuomorphic. For example, even in the famously flat Windows 8, the drive icons are still very 3D-looking and alive! They're not skeuomorphic, though, because yes, if you still have a floppy disk drive int the computer you currently use, then that floppy disk button represents gaining access to a disk in that drive excellently well. The buttons for the hard disk drives are just shaped like rounded boxy things, but they still have a nice slick 3D look to them. Are they skeuomorphism though? No. The optical disk drive icons are that same way. So (and you may already know this, but...) just because an e-button or a piece of e-text or something has a 3D-like look to it doesn't mean it's a skeuomorph; just as flattening the look of something doesn't automatically make it non-skeumorphic.

    And then even if you did actually mean to be referring to 3D-looking icons and things like that in general--even the plenty that are definitely NOT skeuomorphic--I don't see how you could say they are so "dated," when in fact flat, low-detail icons came out WAY before these cool ones we had just before the retro-flat ones of nowadays did! All those crappy flat icons came out back in the days of the first versions of Macintosh, Commodore Amiga, and Windows (like 1-98 or 95, or at least 1-3). So how can you say that today's 3D icons are so "dated," especially now in a world where many movies are 3D and TVs and cameras are becoming 3D (I know--they're different kinds of 3D; one is pseudo-3D and the other is actually stereoscopic)? If anything's dated, it's that flat crap from computing's early days, whose look some companies have gone back to for some annoying reason!

    Also, yes, I *know,* that the best way to make a photorealistic image of something IS to either shoot a photo of it or to scan it, depending on the kind of thing it is. so of course that's *why* they *do* shoot a photo to make some icons.

  • Vani

    I think I missed that flattened logo. The one I see right now is definetely not flat, still got shadows and shine. Or did they just change the US site?

  • 'a Jacob Sobaszkiewicz

    Nice... A false article to advertise the original article on fast company... ever seen an XBox 360?

  • Samuel L. Matson

    Adding my voice in support of Microsoft. They've led this trend since 2010. They listened to their artists and designers.  It was risky and has be criticized to no end by the general public. But it made them a leader again.  Unlike FastCo, where being creative means owning an iPhone.

  • Jonathan H

    Dear Lord, trying to credit Apple for Google following the trend that Google itself popularized is so mindbogglingly ignorant and stupid that it just makes my head hurt. 

  • Efe Abbe

    No it wasn't. I am an apple user and a graphic designer- all this speculation about Apple leading trends is ridiculous nonsense. It's like you guys keep your eyes shut and then when Apple "copies" something it's a wow fest all over the web. Your audience isn't that dumb.

  • Martijn

    Oh god, really! They may have an image problem, but give Microsoft their due...of the three tech giants we're discussing here, they were the pioneers of flat design.

  • robinkristianparker

    Yep. Agree with everything said below. To suggest that Apple are responsible for the current trend for 'flat' UIs is just ridiculous

  • "MaxxFordham"

     That's true, I agree. Sometimes too many people give Apple too much credit for too many things!

  • Basilio Lo Iacono

    It's seriously ridiculous how it seems that everything was invented and/or patented by Apple.

    Look on the internet for the pdf Google's Economic Impact (USA) 2010 and you will find a first version of this flat logo.
    Not considering the Microsoft's Metro layout as mentioned by other people.

  • John Longson

    I discovered it in the Google Annual Report 2004 PDF (also on the Internet). Did Google somehow backtrack with their documents?

  • Jonathan H

    The Ribbon, while a hurdle to remember, has been overwhelmingly been determined by experts to be an excellent user interface.