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Android Logo is a Chip Off the Ol’ Blok: Inspiration for His Birth

October 14, 2013 - Written By Jeremy Ellwood

If you follow us here at Android Headlines, then there’s no doubt that you are fully aware of the logo used for Android, that cute little bug-eyed green android. However, what you may not know is where he came from and how he came to be. According to Huffington Post , the original drafts were not quite as adorable, sporting “creepy” spiral eyes and looking a bit more like something crossed with the Jetsons and bad science fiction.

And then came Irina Blok . Before getting into the logo itself, let’s talk a bit about its designer. Blok was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and arrived in the United States at the age of 18. Rather than following her family’s trade of engineering, she decided to pursue design instead. Although her name is not as well known as it could be, her designs are universally known; including designs for Yahoo, Adobe, Visa, H&R Block, and of course, Google. She now sits as a Creative Director at Edmodo. A definite go-getter and entrepreneur, Blok also owns/operates a small apparel design company called Creative Blok. I could go on forever about Irina Blok’s background and designs, but we’re here to discuss her inspiration for the Android Logo.

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Blok and her design team were asked by Google to create something that would be easily recognizable to customers. After researching various science fiction toys and movies, inspiration of simplicity hit. While others were offering the afore mentioned “creepy” concepts, Blok finally pulled her inspiration from a very unlikely place; restroom signs. Reflective of the simplicity in the signs which typically sport a straight-bodied male and a dress donning female, the “little green dude” (as she calls him) met all the requirements (simple, recognizable, effective, memorable) and was adopted by Google.

android-Restroom

Blok notes on her page:

…Initially the logo was meant for developer community, but it quickly became consumer facing with millions of people creating their own versions of the logo every day.

A story told in the New York Times website claims a cute anecdote involving Blok’s popularity (or lack thereof) and her 6-year old daughter regarding the recognition for the logo. You can read the full story at the link above, but a quick summary is while in the movie theatre in 2010, the Android logo came on the screen. Her daughter stood up declaring, “My mommy invented that!” Blok’s embarrassment sunk her into her seat to hide behind her popcorn.

Blok was one of the first to propose and agree that the logo should be open source, just like the software it represents. Because of this, many interesting variations have been created including R2-D2, Logo Domo, and even a Mr. Moneybags (see image below). And let us not forget the logo that will brand our next update to 4.4. – the Kit-Kat Logo. While most companies hold their logos close to their chest, disallowing any manipulation thereof by any third parties, Google took a completely different approach and because of their decision, it would appear that global creativity of fans has flowed and some have even been adopted. It does not make the logo any less familiar, no matter what “clothes” you put on him. And he will never forget where he came from; a rest-room somewhere in California.

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