What's up with Google's Logo?

Google's July 20, 2010 logo, inspired by the work of Nam June Paik

Today, July 20th, if you look at Google’s website, you will see a picture of the Google logo made out of old TVs and radios and other electrical equipment.

Google’s logo changes frequently, and often changes to commemorate specific events on specific days.  Christmas usually has a Christmas themed logo, and Halloween will have a Halloween logo.  Most of these logos are all designed by Dennis Hwang, a Korean-American graphic artist (I learned this thanks to information from reader Elaine in Canada).

(Edit:  Mike Dutton from Google tells me that Dennis Hwang now does other things besides making the logos, and the logos are made by 5 artists on the Doodle team.  So Mike, did YOU create this one?)

Not knowing what this logo was, I clicked it to find that it lead to all kinds of information about a Korean-Hong Konger-Japanese-German-American artist, Nam June Paik.  (Okay, he’s really just a Korean-American, but he’s lived in so many places in his life, that simply calling him a Korean-American might not do justice to him.)

The late Nam June Paik was a pioneer in electronic art.

Who was Nam June Paik?

Well, he was certainly a well traveled person.  He was born in Seoul during the Japanese occupation.  When He was 18, to escape the Korean War, his family moved to Japan.  There, Paik attended the University of Tokyo, where he studied music.  After graduating, he moved to Germany to further study music, but there he became aware of a new art medium, electronic art.  In 1964 he moved to New York and his work came to fruition.

His art usually combined video, sound, and the physical shape. His sculptures are then more than just those in the classical sense, but also including several kinds of electronic devices, such as video players and television.

Probably his most famous work is his 1995 sculpture, “Electronic Superhighway”  which is on permanent display in the Lincoln gallery of the Smithsonian.  It is a critique of American culture, showing that too much emphasis is placed on the television and celebrities, as well as shiny things that have no real purpose.

Why did Google make a logo inspired by his work?

Mr. Paik was born on July 20th, 1932.  Today is July 20th.  Someone in Google wants to pay tribute to him.

Electronic Superhighway is arguably Paik's most famous piece. Click to Enlarge



13 Responses to “What's up with Google's Logo?”

  1. The google logo artist is Dennis Hwang. I read about him on the newspaper one time. I vaguely remember he’s of Korean descent. Google him! 😀

  2. Nam June Paik is regarded as a famous artist in the world. Unfortunately, he was dead at 2006. So we can’t see his works of art anymore. But I still remember his work of art which was shown at the 2002 Korea/Japan World cup’s opening ceremony. At that time his art expressed Korea’s advanced technologies.
    Your article reminds me of Mr.Paik’s arts. I’m gonna search Mr.Paik more. 🙂 Thanks!

  3. Wow I had never thought about who was in charge of creating the logos…. and I was reading about Dennis Hwang and he seems so layed back…nice post!!

    ps. talking about ART, check this out http://thejuliejuliagiselaproject.blogspot.com/2010/07/national-museum-of-contemporary-art.html

  4. a friend told me that also can change the background of the page of google but still do not understand how

  5. Maybe it was because his art showed that technology is beautiful. Plus, google is full of techie people! I guess someone got inspired by his works

  6. Oh, I’m happy to see him on this blog! I like his arts 🙂 I was surprised when I heard about him, because I’d never imagine TV could be a great art! I love his creative ideas^^

  7. Just a small fyi, Dennis is working on other exciting projects at Google and the doodle team is actually made up of 5 other artists, myself among them – though the team page still needs to update w/ this info… 🙂

    We’re really glad people enjoyed the doodle!

  8. Oh, Dennis Hwang 🙂 I like his idea that the logo changes depending on special events. He always doodled in class, so his teachers nagged him a lot. However, his habit that the teachers nagged for made the Google’s great logo =)

    I want to add some more, but that’s all I know. I need to search for information! haha

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