If you’re like most people, your day isn’t complete without at least five visits to Google to look something up. They’re more than aware of this and they’re happy to have you visit as often as possible, so don’t feel bad about frequenting the site. As if being able to find an answer to every question imaginable wasn’t reason enough for people to visit, they still feel the need to bring users to their site by creating fun and whimsical “doodles” to attract people.
We all have our favorite that we’ve seen in the past, but do you know the backstory about why Google doodles even exist in the first place? Or how they come up with them? Maybe you’re looking for some tips on using their doodle ideas when it comes to your own website or window displays at your brick-and-mortar location?
I had a feeling these questions were keeping you up at night, so I asked Professor Google and this is everything that I found…
The Early Days of the Google Doodle:
In 1998, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to use their corporate logo to show that they were attending the Burning Man festival in Nevada. This was before the company was incorporated, so they figured what’s the harm in altering their homepage to reflect the news? They didn’t have any stock holders to appease or anyone else to answer to besides the two of them. The temporary revised logo was intended to be a comical way to show users that the founders were “out of office.” You know, like when the American flag is flying at the White House it signals that the president is home.
Two years later in 2000, Larry and Sergey asked their intern Dennis Hwang, who is now their current webmaster, to create a doodle for Bastille Day. Users loved it and gave such awesome feedback that Dennis was appointed to be Google’s Chief Doodler. His doodles began showing up more and more often to highlight familiar holidays on the homepage. Now, they highlight a wide variety of events and anniversaries from celebrating the 46th Anniversary of Star Trek’s 1st broadcast to Julia Child’s 100th birthday that you never know which day a doodle will appear before your eyes!
The Google Doodles of Today:
Creating the doodles is no longer up to one man, but up to an entire team of talented illustrators (or as their affectionately referred to as “doodlers”) and engineers. The team has created over 1000 doodles for Google’s US homepage and their homepages around the world, so yes, even if you think you’ve seen them all… there’s bound to be a few that you’ve missed!
The doodlers regularly brainstorm and decide with events during the month will be celebrated with a doodle- who wouldn’t want to be a part of that meeting?! Which events are deemed worthy of a doodle? As long as it’s an interesting event or anniversary that will “reflect Google’s personality and love for innovation,” then that’s all that’s required.
You can check out all their past doodles here. And don’t be afraid to share an idea that you have! The doodle team is always eager to hear from users and fans about possible ideas, just drop them a line (or two or three) at email@example.com and the next doodle could be yours!
How to Apply Their Creativity to Your Company:
If you’re a web-based company, you may be thinking that doing something fun and unique for your entire website may be too time consuming to do on a regular basis. And you’d be right! Instead, alter just your homepage for major milestones:
- Anniversary of your company being founded
- Awareness months that mean a lot to you
- Or just switch it up once every few months for the upcoming weather season to get the most mileage out of your changes
For your brick-and-mortar location, use your windows as a way to attract attention of passersby. How exactly? Tell a story with your products. For Christmas, don’t just reach for all your red and green items, but instead create a theme and insert your related products. Clothing and accessory stores could show off their coats, hats, and scarves by showing them in a snow globe type setting. Just give it some thought and the ideas will start pouring in no time.
Use bold shapes and colors to catch people’s eyes. It sounds obvious, but it should still be reiterated whenever possible. If you have a sale on small items like jewelry, then use big decorations to get people to walk over and take a closer look. Keep your display clean and uncluttered to avoid people from getting visually overloaded and walking away never remembering anything specific about your display.
Keeping customers enthused about your brand’s webpage and window displays is a great way to keep them coming back to see how else you’ll surprise them. You don’t have to be as rich as Google or have a full-time team of doodlers on staff in order to accomplish this. All you need is a little creativity, some time, and you’re good to go!
What’s your favorite Google doodle? Do you enjoy seeing your favorite website change their homepage for special occasions? Do you have any suggestions for making window displays knock the socks off passersby? Sound off below!