The Gmail Logo Was Designed the Night Before Gmail Launched

Gmail_logo copy.jpg

Ever leave an assignment until the night before it was due? You're in good company. According to a post on Quora from former Google designer Kevin Fox, Googler Dennis Hwang was up late the night before Gmail launched, working on the email service's logo.

Fox recalls:

The logo was designed literally the night before the product launched. We were up very late and Sergey and I went down to his cube to watch him make it.

400px-CatullFontSample.svg.pngFox says that initially they had tried to make the Gmail logo in the same font as the Google logo, a font called Catull designed in 1983. But Catull has, as Fox calls it, a "very awkward" letter 'a' (see image at right), which made it unusable for "Gmail." Hwang opted to keep the "G" in Catull but to render the "ail" in a sans serif font, which Fox believes is Myriad Pro (looks right, to my untrained eye). The "m," of course, appears as a small envelope, the ubiquitous Gmail symbol we have come to know well.

I had never noticed before how the G of Gmail was such a different style than the rest of the logo, but now that I've focused on it, that G is always going to stick out, the serif-laden man among his serif-less friends.


Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Technology

Just In