Remember the days before smartphones or laptops when to have access to the Internet you’d have a desktop computer, with dial-up Internet? As a kid, the first thing you’d often do under parental supervision was set up an email.
Your first e-mail may have been Gmail, or Yahoo or MSN (or Rediff for desi kids), but the envelope icon stayed same. For Gmail, the iconic red and white logo that popped up has stayed constant through your years of manually type www in the URL bar to having the app on your phone – the logo has remained more or less the same.
And now it’s changing. Google is replacing the iconic Gmail envelope logo with a design that’s a lot more in keeping with other Google products.
The new Gmail logo is now an M made out of Google’s core blue, red, yellow, and green brand colors. It more closely matches similar logos for Google itself, Google Maps, Google Photos, Chrome, and many more Google products. Goodbye, envelope.
But turns out not everyone was stoked about it. All the same colors leads to more confusion.
Google scale: take 5 iconic, visually distinct logos and ruin all of them at once. pic.twitter.com/yttToio8NV
— Dan Romero (@dwr) October 6, 2020
In isolation, I don't mind this new Gmail logo at all. Cleverly hides the envelope.
But every time Google gives me another new four-color app icon, makes it that much harder to pick the right one on my phone.
I'm still getting used to looking for a Maps pin. Used to be a map! https://t.co/o0LPmHPd0V
— Sean Hollister (@StarFire2258) October 6, 2020
5 iconic, visually distinct logos for products that are part of the same family, except that you cant tell that from their shapes, sizes, colors, and then take them towards a place that makes it clear they are both Google products and part of a single, now more integrated set. Ok
— Javier Soltero 🇵🇷 (@jsoltero) October 6, 2020
@gmail the new icon looks ugly
— AY-WN (@underratedtoxic) October 6, 2020
The lack of cohesive iconography is sending me. pic.twitter.com/Iw7xhPQQR6
— Killed by Ghoulge 👻 (@killedbygoogle) October 6, 2020
they murdered the gmail icon
— MMATT 😀 (@mmattbtw) October 6, 2020
A report in Fast Company revealed that Google considered dropping the M altogether or fully removing the Gmail red color, but people involved in user research studies weren’t happy with the changes. The studies did, however, help Google realize that the envelope part of the Gmail logo wasn’t a critical design element, allowing the team to experiment with keeping the M and adding Google’s traditional color palette.