The Man behind the Google 1)Doodle 谷歌徽标背后的男人
Ever wonder who creates the beautiful logos which you see daily on the Google homepage commemorating holidays and events? It’s Dennis Hwang, the official logo designer for Google, who creates those Google Doodles.
Dennis Hwang’s drawings are viewed by nearly 180 million people a day. A daily pleasure for many Internet searchers, his ever-changing logos give the search giant’s homepage even more appeal. He’s one of the most important 2)graphic designers in the business world. And yet the 3)mild-mannered29-year-old 4)keeps a low profile—and devotes only a small fraction of his time to his art.
Hwang is the Google doodler, the man whose hand-drawn alterations of the search engine’s logo commemorate holidays, artists’ birthdays, and other random events that the company 5)deems important. In June, 2004, a French astronomer sent Hwang an e-mail explaining that within 24 hours Venus would pass in front of the sun—the first time it had happened in 122 years. Quickly, Hwang 6)mocked up a version of the Google logo where the second “O” had become a sun with a black spot on it representing Venus. He showed the design to Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founders, who liked it. “We are a 7)geeky company, so it was an easy sell,” says Hwang. “Within a few hours, I had posted the doodle and we were 8)alerting the world to this cool event.”
A former art-computer science double-major at Stanford University, Hwang is also now Google’s Webmaster. He devotes 80% to 90% of his time to managing the team of 30 people who maintain Google’s web pages in more than 100 languages. His doodles, about 50 a year, are9)dashed off using an electronic tablet that translates his scrawlings onto his screen.
Hwang’s 10)whimsical designs serve a serious business function. Google’s multi-colored Google logo is just as important a branding device as Apple’s apple. As Google 11)balloons into a powerful and controversial tech 12)behemoth, the doodles humanize the company. With their rough, hand-drawn look, they 13)hark back to the company’s experimental, 14)nimble, intellectual, and fanciful startup legacy. “The doodles let Google wink at their audience,” says Bill Gardner, founder of LogoLounge.com, a site that covers trends in corporate logo design.
Born in Knoxville, Tenn., Hwang also spent part of his youth living in a Seoul suburb. As a junior at Stanford in 2000, his 15)residential adviser asked him to be an assistant Webmaster at a then-little-known search engine startup named Google. He started as a summer intern and then worked 40 hours a week his senior year while completing his undergraduate degree.
By that time, Google had already experimented with doodles. The first one was done by Brin and Page in 1999 when they left for the 16)Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. Hwang started doodling almost by accident. “It was simply because I was an art major in a very small company,” he recalls. His first design honored 17)Bastille Day in 2000.
To plan his doodles, Hwang meets quarterly with a team of vice-presidents and creative directors. People now expect a doodle on certain holidays, like Thanksgiving. “We look at the calendar and muse about what is happening around the world, interesting events or birthdays of people who have contributed something significant.” Once he drafts a doodle, he shows it to Page and Brin. “Holding up my mockups and then holding my breath while Larry and Sergey do their ‘18)thumbs-up, 19)thumbs-down’ emperor thing is never boring,” wrote Hwang on a Google blog. “I love the fact that my little 20)niche within this company turned out to be something so cool and creative and, well, Google-y.”
Hwang also gets many ideas from enthusiastic users like the French astronomer. In 2005 librarians around the country lobbied Hwang for a 21)National Library Week doodle. After he created one, he received a big 22)care package complete with a librarian 23)action figure that 24)shushed.
Some doodles draw strong responses. An early design for Thanksgiving featured an 25)innocuous turkey 26)raking leaves. But it drew 27)vitriolic responses from Brazil, Australia, and other parts of the Southern 28)Hemisphere from users who accused Hwang of being Northern Hemisphere-centric. “That one taught me to think more broadly,” he said. Another logo, for 29)Michelangelo’s birthday, proved to be a little too 30)risque for some users. “A lot of businessmen were startled when they 31)pulled up the home page in client meetings and there was the nude David.”
In 2003, he wove the double 32)helix into Google’s logo to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA. In 2007, he met James Watson, one of the scientists who discovered DNA. “He asked me for a signed print of the Google DNA logo,” says Hwang, his voice 33)brimming with enthusiasm. “I couldn’t believe it. My drawing had come full circle.”