Gmail is ahead of other email services in terms of popularity and a set of useful features. Like other Google products, it is constantly evolving: if in 2004 users were offered 1 GB for storing letters, now this volume has been increased to 15 GB. It all started with a small startup founded by Paul Buchheit in 2001.
Meaning and History
It took only one night to create the famous Gmail logo because the service was to be launched the next day. Dennis Hwang acted quickly and decisively: he already had experience developing Google doodles, so he knew what style to follow. Nine years later, designers simplified the graphic sign by leaving a single “M” in the form of a mailing envelope.
In 2004, closed beta testing of the new postal service started. During this period, for several days, an emblem with three inscriptions was used, from which it was possible to find out the basic information about the service. In the center was the word “GMAIL” with the same multicolored letters as in the Google logo. The red “M,” stylized as a paper envelope, stood out in particular.
The words “by Google” were in the lower-left corner, and the version of the product, “BETA,” on the right. Dennis Hwang wanted to emphasize the email’s name, so he made the background labels gray and unnoticeable.
2004 – 2010
After the update, the word “BETA” has disappeared. The multicolored letters now have a gradient from a light shade (top) to a dark one (bottom). The original idea of the envelope survived because it matched perfectly to the concept of the postal service.
2010 – 2013
In 2010, the service revamped the home page and did a small logo redesign to match the recently updated Google logo style. But the changes were not global: the developers only removed the shadows, reduced the gradient, and moved the inscription “by Google” to the right.
2013 – 2020
Gmail has taken a simplification path, leaving the most important thing: the big red “M” in the form of an envelope. The designers considered the well-known symbol to be self-sufficient, so they removed the rest of the letters. This option was first used in a mobile application and only appeared on Google and Gmail sites.
The Gmail graphic is shaped like a rectangle with rounded corners. It looks like a real postal mail envelope. Moreover, the logo shows the reverse side of the envelope because the middle lines “M” run along the closing flap’s edge. The similarity is emphasized by the gray shadows formed by the intersection of geometric shapes under the “M.”
Before the emblem was so minimal and had the word “Gmail” in it, it combined two different fonts. For “G,” Dennis Hwang used the Serif Catull, which is best known for the Google logo. For the “a,” “i,” and “l,” the designer chose Myriad Pro sans serif because he didn’t like the way the lowercase “a” looked in the Catull character set. “M” is not one of these fonts: it was created from the ground up specifically for Gmail.
Another coincidence with the Google brand name is the color scheme because it is used to alternate multicolored letters. Now the palette is not so bright, although it is also diverse. It features four grays and two reds: Silver Sand, Gainsboro, Platinum, Bright Gray, Chinese Brown, and Jasper. This combination was needed by the developers to create a three-dimensional effect.
2020 – present
The current Gmail logo is a harmonious combination of short stripes in five colors, including blue, maroon, red, yellow, green. The emblem’s shape remains the same and looks like the letter “M,” repeating the contours of a standard mail envelope. But the designers removed the letter itself: they only strengthened the lines running along with it with color. Moreover, the stripes became not only more colorful but also wider.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
If you trace the Gmail logo’s evolution from the beginning, you will notice a trend towards simplification. In the early versions of the graphics, there were few – the inscription made up of the electronic service name prevailed. Now, on the contrary, the priority is drawn elements. More precisely, he is alone and looks like a large letter “M.” An icon has a double meaning as it combines text and graphics. The first is the designation of mail as such from the word “mail.” The second is an image of the outline of a standard envelope.
The full inscription is present only on the first logo – in the latest versions, it is not. A single symbol acts as a graphic symbol. An individual style was developed for him: “M” is assembled from three geometric fragments. The color spectrum has expanded a lot. In addition to red, it includes blue, green, yellow, and maroon, which used to be colored letters.