Psychology-driven brand design. Creating and refining remarkable brand identities.

Design - from all angles

A blog about branding, marketing, and design, mostly through the lens of practical psychology, intended to be a resource to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Unless otherwise noted, all articles are written by Nyla Smith, owner of n-Vision Designs. {Subscribe to the RSS feed here: RSS}

What we can learn from Google's Doodles

Nyla Smith | Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Google DoodleYou may have admired Google’s fantastically fluid logo without giving it more than a passing thought. A couple of keywords in the search box and you’re ready to explore the infinite wisdom of the World Wide Web. But before you go, why not take a minute to learn a lesson or two from those innovative Doodles?  

What is a Google Doodle?

Google frequently transforms their otherwise simple logo into a creative rendering that showcases holidays, pays tribute to famous people, honors historical events, and highlights current events.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

John Venn's 180th Birthday

Earth Day 2014

Chinese New Year 2014

Take a romp through time to discover yours:

What is Fluid Branding?

Also known as Liquid Identities, Fluid Branding goes beyond a single consistent logo, allowing for multiple looks that can be used interchangeably. While it centers around your logo, it may also include a set of colors, patterns, and images that support your brand, offering flexibility and adaptability.

Why is this a Successful Strategy?

A Fluid Brand System is like creating a visual language that speaks to your medium and audience as you reinforce, refresh, and enhance your brand. For instance, Google Doodles reinforce Google’s own purpose of being an instant and relevant source of information. This effective branding system engages viewers with interesting and interactive logos. They even go so far as to use video or animation (World Cup 2014 Google Doodles come to mind).

Innovation vs. Consistency

Where Innovation allows brands to stay fresh and relevant, Consistency allows us to recognize brands quickly. As you can see, both are important aspects to your branding. Even though Google frequently adapts their logo, there’s a level of consistency that’s easily identifiable, but the bigger focus of a fluid brand system is flexibility, because it allows you to be innovative.

The Fluid Branding of Airbnb

Airbnb pairs travelers with local hosts and unique accommodations in their city of choice and is a another example of the use of fluid branding.

While their logo is a somewhat ambiguous abstract symbol open for interpretation, Airbnb uses that to their advantage as they invite customers to “Make your symbol. Share your story.” This enables customers to personalize Airbnb’s logo to fit their unique experiences, mirroring their brand position of creating those ultimate experiences through the use of their service.

The core essence and shape of the logo remains consistent yet flexible, as various renderings take on a meaning all YOUR own. Airbnb “hands over the keys” to let you co-create, and guess what? This process will bring the added satisfaction that keeps you coming back, partly because you feel a sense of ownership, or at least a sense of inclusion – which is a positive step towards brand allegiance.

Is this the Future?

YES, Fluid Branding is the future!

Not only do logos already need to adapt to a myriad of devices, screen sizes and media—savvy business owners take advantage of the opportunity to be situationally responsive, which allows them to feel more connected, relatable, and up-to-the-minute.

Building Your Own Strategy

While the fledgling company may want to consider holding off until they have earned standing as a recognizable brand, Fluid Branding is an effective strategy for established businesses.


  • Bolsters your brand
  • Creates interest and interactivity
  • Regains freshness and reinforces your brand messaging


  • Center on the logo, while preserving its core essence
  • Maintain a level of consistency
  • Remember to remain flexible, be creative, and have fun!

So, the next time you pause to admire the latest and greatest Google Doodle—take a look at your own logo and ask yourself if Fluid Branding is the right fit for your future.

Nyla Smith is a Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Front-End Web Developer and Consultant with over 13 years of experience. She is the owner of n-Vision Designs, LLC in Hampton, Virginia, which exists to provide marketing support and brand consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses needing creative solutions. Contact Nyla if you'd like to discuss your next creative project. She can usually be bribed to a meeting with a cup of green tea and an oatmeal cookie.
Post has no comments.

Keep reading: