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.
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.
Fox 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.