Sunday, July 12, 2009

Google's new "favicon" and branding in the digital world

Earlier this year Google launched a new favourites icon, or "favicon" (industry jargon mocked up from the words "favourites" and "icon"), as it is often referred to. The favicon is that tiny 16 x 16 pixel icon you see next to the URL on your browser. Branded as the "world's smallest signpost", the favicon plays a powerful role in modern digital communications.

Referring to Google's favicon, Bill Gardner argues in the Creative Review's Logo Trend Report 2009 that "the favicon may turn out to be a measuring stick against which success of any new logo might be measured – as in, can this logo be made to fit in a 16 × 16-pixel square?".

But what makes Google's latest favicon all the more interesting is that replaced its predecessor that was only published six months earlier.

So what's up with the constant changing? Indecisiveness?

"Logos are set to become fluid, ever-changing, customisable, even personalised entities and Google is the first global brand that understands this," explains Mr Plimsoll in Craig Smith's article in the BBC Magazine.

Consistency, consistency and consistency has been the main mantra in most branding rulebooks. But modern brands living in the digital domain, such as Google, are leading the way to a new more dynamic branding reality.