Every one of us knows the stomach terror of starting a project right before it’s due. But what if your assignment is Gmail’s logo, your teacher is Google, and it’s due tomorrow? Suddenly school doesn’t seem that bad.
Former Google designer Kevin Fox shared the tale of the iconic logo’s hurried genesis on Quora:
Dennis Hwang designed the Gmail logo. At the time, Dennis designed virtually all of the Google doodles and he did a lot of the new logo work as well.
The logo was designed literally the night before the product launched. We were up very late and Sergey and I went down to his cube to watch him make it.
The initial version used the same font as the Google logo (Catull), but Catull has a very awkward ‘a’, so Dennis decided to use Catull for the ‘G’ to tie the brand to Google, then cast the others in a cleaner sans-serif (Myriad Pro, if I recall correctly).
Here’s the relevant part of that:
The logo was designed literally the night before the product launched.
Not too shabby, Mr. Hwang! The envelope M of Gmail’s logo is wonderful, friendly, and simple — everything a logo should be. I’m shocked they were able to throw together any logo at all the night before, as most people would have had an immediate stroke if confronted with the news that they had to design a logo for the most important thing to happen to email since its invention. Phew! [Quora via Atlantic]