Over the years, Google has grown into an internet powerhouse, and it has adapted to the times by providing online and mobile apps for almost everything under the sun. The Google Play Store has evolved from its original incarnation as the Android Market into the digital media giant it is today. Along with Google’s growth, the company has made updates and revisions to its brand, including several redesigns of its logo. The Google Play logo is one example of part of the brand that has undergone a redesign, and here we look at those changes as they progressed over time to develop the logo that exists today.
About the Google Play Brand
Google Play is the official app store for Google’s Android operating system. The Google Play store began in 2012 to combine the services of the already-existing Android Market, Google Music, and the Google eBookstore under one banner. Users can browse and download various applications developed using the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) specifically for Android-compatible devices. The Google Play store also offers music, movies, books, and television programs for purchase.
Services Included in the Google Play Store
- Google Play Music
- Google Play Movies
- Google Play Television
- Google Play Books
- Google Play Games
- A section of the Google Play Store highlights awards given to the year’s best apps
Services No Longer Included in the Google Play Store
- Google hardware devices such as Google Nexus devices, Chromebooks, and Chromecasts were available until Google started a separate retailer in 2015 called the Google Store
- Magazines and news publications were also available until Google started its own app called Google News in 2018
Some apps in the Google Play store are free while others cost money. Android users can download apps directly onto their device via the Google Play Store mobile app. Another option users have is to send an app directly to an Android device by using the Google Play website. There were over 82 billion downloads in the year 2016, and at the time of this writing there are over 3.5 million apps available in the Google Play store. You can purchase content from the Google Play store using a debit or credit card, gift card, carrier billing, or pay via PayPal. Google Play also offers in-app subscriptions.
Google does not require that Android-compatible apps be acquired through the Google Play Store. Users can download Android apps directly from a developer’s website or from a third-party app. This makes the Android brand different from its largest competitor, Apple, because all apps for the iPhone and other iOS devices can only be obtained through Apple’s app store. Google restricts certain types of apps from being published on the Google Play Store, such as apps that feature sexually explicit content, violence, hate speech, gambling, child endangerment, and various illegal activities.
Google Play Logo Design History
Android Market Logo (2008-2011)
During this period, the Google Play store was called the Android Market. The base logo was a three-dimensional black and white shopping bag with black handles on top that was shown from the perspective of looking down from above into the bag, and the designers used gradient shading to show the sides of the bag and the depth of the bag. On the front of the bag, the Android logo was put at a playful angle and outlined in white
The Android logo was lime green and made up of simple geometric shapes that, when combined, formed the shape of a robot. The logo was displayed alone in certain applications and at other times with text that read “Android Market.” The font for “Android Market” was in all lowercase letters, and it had a space age, robotic feel The word “Android” was gray, the word “Market” was the same lime green as the robot logo, and the two words were stacked.
Android Market Logo Redesign (2011)
Image via Flickr
This version of the logo was used for only a short time into 2012 until the Android Market was renamed. Like the previous logo, the icon was a shopping bag with the Android robot logo on the front, but the perspective of the bag shifted to a less dramatic one that made it seem like the viewer was looking at the bag straight-on. The slight perspective shift also showed a bit of the interior of the bag.
This version of the shopping bag was white with lime green handles and a lime green inside with gradient shading throughout to give it a three-dimensional look. Once again, the Android logo was put at an angle, this time more toward the bottom right corner of the bag’s front. When this version of the Google Play logo was used with the “Android Market” text, the text was all on one line and used a font like Myriad Pro in upper and lower case letters, but this time, the word “Android” was lime green and “Market” was gray.
Google Play Store Logo (2012-2014)
Image via Wikimedia
In 2012, the Android Market became the Google Play Store, which prompted a complete re-haul of the logo design. They scrapped the Android robot, but a simplified concept of the shopping bag remained. It only had one handle and less shading.
The new Google Play logo sat in the center of the bag and was now a triangle shape with rounded corners that mimicked the design of the “Play” button found on most electronic entertainment devices. The inside of the triangle itself was segmented into four angled quadrants, each of which was a different color, represented by gradients shifting from a darker tint of each quadrant’s color to a lighter tint of that same color. The four colors were a light green, a more turquoise shade of green, a purple-ish red, and a light orange.
Image via Wikimedia
The 2012 Google Play logo sometimes displayed the text “Google Play” which was all in a gray font. The word “Google” was in the same logo shape as the main Google logo, and the word “play” was in a lower case sans-serif font. In 2014, the shopping bag on the Google Play logo was flattened to simplify the design.
Google Play Logo Design Evolution
Image via Wikimedia
The most recent Google Play logo has been used since 2017, and it features the triangular Play button style used in previous incarnations of the logo. However, all the gradient shading is gone and the colors are brighter to more closely match the colors in the main Google logo. There is no three-dimensional appearance at all, with each of the colored quadrants shown as a vivid, flat hue. The four colors inside the current Google Play logo are an intense bright green, a golden yellow, a vibrant red, and an almost cyan blue
Compared to Previous Google Play Logos
- The colors are flat, but more intense
- The overall design of the Play button remains the same
- When displayed alongside the “Google Play” text, the font matches that of the previous logo in gray Product Sans font
- The shopping bag design element is gone
Advertisements that encourage potential customers to download an app from the Google Play store often feature a special Google Play badge, and customers can use this badge online or in print. It is a black rectangle with rounded corners that features the triangular Google Play logo alongside white text that reads “GET IT ON Google Play.”
Flattening and brightening the logo makes sense in the grand scheme of branding practices for Google. Across Google’s wide range of online services, each service has its own logo or icon that maintains a relative amount of consistency. The logos are usually segmented on the inside, and they feature text in the Product Sans font. They also feature bright block colors that match the main Google logo. Changing the Google Play logo during the company’s latest round of branding design changes only brought it up to speed with the rest of Google’s icons, which helps preserve Google’s brand identity.
Image via Flickr
Google is a technology company that’s known the world over for its innovations and ability to reinvent itself to keep up with the times. To create a more uniform brand identity in their online and mobile presence, the company changed the Google Play logo and marketplace name from the Android Market to the Google Play Store. Many people will find the vivid, flattened, and simplified logo that emerged after the brand’s redesign appealing, especially in today’s world of brightly colored mobile app buttons and complex interface designs, while others continue miss the old logo.While there is a certain visual appeal that most three-dimensional icons have, especially regarding the softness on the eyes created by gradients and more subtle colors, the changes made to the Google Play logo were to keep it up to date with current trends and the company’s current brand image. The logo is attractively bright, clean, and simple, and it helps people easily identify the logo with the online marketplace where they can easily access their favorite entertainment, games, and other apps.
Featured photo via Flickr