Friday, October 18, 2013

Android Logo is Open Source of Delight

The little green Android gets a life of his own
When Irina Blok was working as a designer at Google in 2010, little did she know that her whimsical little robot with antennae would become one of the most recognizabe tech logos in the world.  The instructions for potential designers of the Android logo  were to use a robot image to create a product identity thatusers could immediately associate with the operating system and the devices that use it.  Blok found her inspiration in the man and woman pictograms used in universal symbols for restrooms.

But since Google chose to keep the logo open source, rather than protecting it with a trademark, companies and designers have had a field day decking out the little robot in a variety of guises, from a superhero to a Frankenstein's monster, and even a limited-edition Kit-Kat bar.  But Blok and her fellow designers at Google prefer letting their little logo out into the world like a growing child, to take on an identity of its own.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The New York Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: " Irina Blok may have drawn one of the most recognized logos in the world, but her association with the green Android has not made her famous. Blok can think of only one incident when she garnered the public’s attention for designing it. In 2010, she and her 6-year-old daughter were in a movie theater waiting for “Alice in Wonderland” to begin when an Android logo flashed on the screen. Her daughter, Blok recalls, suddenly stood up and yelled, 'My mommy invented that!' Everyone in the row in front of them turned around to stare. Blok was so embarrassed, she says, that she sank down behind her tub of popcorn.

The Android logo was born three years earlier, when Blok worked as a designer at Google. As Google prepared to endorse the Android software platform for mobile devices, Blok and her design-team colleagues were told to create a look for the software — something that consumers could easily identify. The logo, she was told, should involve a robot, and so she studied sci-fi toys and space movies — anything that might help her create a character. In the end, she took inspiration from a distinctly human source: the pictograms of the universal man and woman that often appear on restroom doors. She drew a stripped-down robot with a tin-can-shaped torso and antennas on his head.

While Blok worked on her design, she and her colleagues agreed that the logo, like the software, should be open-sourced. 'We decided it would be a collaborative logo that everybody in the world could customize,' she says. 'That was pretty daring.' Most companies, of course, defend their trademark from copycats, and million-dollar lawsuits have been filed over the rights to corporate insignia. This one would remain free."

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