Did Google just shoot the serif?
This morning, something seemed strange about the homepage. It was an animated doodle heralding one of the biggest updates of the season (okay, not as drastic as Kanye running for President, or the end of bubble wrap), but big enough. The Google logo humbly stared at me from behind the computer screen, and the criminally smooth lines moonwalked all over my homepage. It was Googlegasm, seeing the old logo get erased…with a new one appearing and prancing from four rippling dots, ending with a swaggering G.
But five seconds into that striptease, you realise that the love handles are missing! And as any man – or woman – would agree, what’s life without the right curves?
At this point the art director would cleverly brush off any editorial criticism by calling it a ‘design principle’. So, obviously Google justifies the new typeface saying that streamlined glyphs can now shrink down to the tiniest size and is more legible as compared to the serif lettering. This simply means, the new logo can be read as easily on a 2.5 inch smartwatch as on a 50-inch Chromecasted television.
If not in GoT then at least for the serif, winter has come, and how! As the font of sensible, serious discussion is replaced by what they call a more ‘Googley’ typeface, sans-serif has gotten a one-up in the on-going battle. Of course, digitally all forms of sans-serif fonts (and especially the 10 different versions of Helvetica) are a designer’s algorithm, but nothing beats the Garamond-like persona that takes you through 544 pages of Great Expectations, or the various serifs that greet you every morning with your newspaper.
So, despite Google letting us down, and trying to cushion the blow with cute-as-a-button dots and animations, we know deep down that no memo will ever be complete without those uncompromising dashes, the razor-sharp edges and the curves that will remind us that it’s always beauty over cutie.
Unbending, severe and worthy of going to the presses, serifs will continue to be the voice of reason and authority, at least in our font book. So while Comic Sans is out there wooing the prom queen, we still believe that Times New Roman will save the science fair.
Goodbye Google Serif, you’ll be missed by those with sense and sensibility.