Google doodles, the drawings that are designed on, around and through the Google logo on our home page, are the creation of Google Webmaster Dennis Hwang. Since Dennis began celebrating and marking worldwide events and holidays with his doodles in 2000, his work has been seen by millions and reached cult status, with fans waiting with bated breath to see his next creation, and even websites and blogs devoted to his work. The doodles have been such a success there is now a whole team of Doodlers who work on the wonderful creations which inspire people all over the world. We spoke to Dennis about his doodles and how he got his ideal job:
Most people have to choose only one of their interests to pursue. How did you get such a cool job that meshes computers and art?
I had an internship with Google in college. I was given the task of helping with maintenance of the website and I soon became an assistant webmaster. Before I joined Google, the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were already thinking about holiday logos...and when I joined, they knew I was studying art and suggested I should give it a shot. I've been doing it since then as my 20% project.
Are you constantly trying to keep up with current events and holidays?
How far I work in advance depends. Sometimes, we react really quickly to current events. When the Mars Rover landed, I created a logo in less than 24 hours. For all of the international countries, if there's a special day and we think it's in line with the Google brand, we want to commemorate it.
Do you get suggestions from Google users?
I get quite a lot of suggestions from users. We're really open to user feedback and having ideas sent to us because our users are really creative. For example, a French astronomer had emailed us about the Venus Transit, in which Venus casts a shadow on the sun every 122 years. During the transit, you'll see a black dot moves across the sun, so here is what I drew.
How do you decide on the design of the drawings?
First, I do a lot of brainstorming, search for images on Google, and absorb all the imagery. Then I apply a design that interacts with letters. I find that a bit more interesting.
Do you have favorite doodles?
I have several favorites. Usually, artists' birthdays are the ones I spend the most effort on, like Monet's birthday.
How difficult is it to reinvent recurring holidays?
It's definitely a challenge, but it's one I look forward to. I've been doing this for quite a while and need to come up with fresh ideas every year. There's only so many ways to draw a turkey or a pumpkin!
Dennis' Top Tips
- Make sure your design complements the shape of the letters in the Google logo, but don't let that restrict your creativity.
- Experiment with different media to see which one works best for your design (you can even create your doodle on your PC).
- Don't over-complicate your design – simpler images often have the most impact.
- Remember that your design could end up on the Google homepage, so imagine how it will look on screen.
- Remember to use color well and think about how it interacts with a white background.
- Avoid commercial or copyrighted images.
- Think outside the box – try to create a doodle that's different from your classmates and hasn't been done before.
- Feel free to use the space behind and in front of the Google letters, but try to maintain your design's overall balance.
- Have fun! “Doodle 4 Google" is all about creativity and enjoying designing fun things. Think about how you want to change the world.