Google and the Instagram logo

Google and the Instagram logo

Have you spotted the tiny imperfection in Google’s logo?

Let’s have a look at Google and the Instagram logo. Eight years after the logo was released, the discovery is still being made that on the face of it the ‘G’ appears circular when in fact Google’s circular G isn’t actually a circle at all.

If you look at the left of the design you will see that it’s circular, on the right, however, it isn’t.

Could it be a hidden mistake?

Not so. What Google actually did is use a typography technique called ‘optical balancing’ to make the design look right, even if technically it isn’t. 

An important part of typeface design in particular involves managing what your eyes see and what your eyes think they see. 

A perfect example is Helvetica’s ‘H’, in which the crossbar is positioned slightly above the centre but appears to be central.

This trick can also be used when positioning an object in the centre of the page – always allow more space at the bottom otherwise the object will appear to be falling off the page.

Can you think of another logo that looks circular but isn’t?

While you are reading about Google and the Instagram logo, let’s also take a look at Instagram.

You may remember the old camera icon that Instagram used, well this certainly isn’t a subtle change, I would say it’s a major overhaul. Gone is the almost ‘Box Brownie’ look and feel that the original logo reminded me of and in comes a new colour palette and gradient.

The idea behind the gradient according to Instagram was ‘to use vibrant colours to make it feel illuminated and alive, and to signal moments of discovery.’

There is even a bespoke typeface ‘Instagram sans’ which has been designed with the brand’s heritage in mind and inspired by design elements their community see every day.

The typeface has also been designed to be globally accessible to include global scripts including Arabic.

I think it has a much cleaner look, coupled with the vibrant colour palette, enhances the user experience too.

Which do you prefer, the old school or the gradient version? I hope you have enjoyed reading about Google and the Instagram logo.