Art School: Lessons from the Google Doodle

by | Jan 8, 2014 | Blog, Blog Archive | 0 comments

If you’re observant, you’ve probably noticed that the Google logo on doesn’t always look the same. Often, it correlates with the time of year or a holiday, and Google frequently chooses to highlight obscure holidays that most of us Google Doodle Preview Small Tilearen’t familiar with.

The Google doodle is more than a haphazard result of bored Google employees getting creative. It’s a clever, very effective form of content marketing. If you pay attention, it can teach us some lessons about content marketing in general.

Keep it Fresh

Google updates its homepage logo often, almost every day – Christmas, Easter, and Rosh Hashanah are work days for the Google doodlers. This keeps things interesting and lends an air of jaunty lightheartedness to the company’s public image.

Embrace Your Audience

The ever-changing doodle allows Google to respond to world events, happy or tragic. The result is a feeling of solidarity with the company’s audience: We know what happened, and we’re with you. It’s a demonstration of the Google’s modest but notable motto: “Don’t be evil.”

Educate (But don’t be pretentious.)

The holidays listed above aren’t the only dates Google has marked with the day’s own doodles. The company honored Albert Einstein on what would’ve been his 124th birthday, celebrated the 50th anniversary of Legos, and highlighted the 2011 lunar eclipse with an interactive doodle that allowed visitors to view photos from the event.

What’s so great about a logo change for an obscure date? It’s educational – but in a fun, light, Schoolhouse Rock! way. If you’re at work and spend 5 minutes learning why the Google doodle depicts an old lady sitting in front of a giant computer, you don’t feel like that time was wasted because you’ve just learned who Grace Hopper was – which, incidentally, increases your value as a team member at the weekly happy hour trivia game your boss organizes. (She was a pioneer of early computer science, for those of us who didn’t know!)

Even if the content you create isn’t strictly visual, the principles behind Google’s doodles still apply. Change it up regularly, remember your audience and respond to their needs, and increase your content’s value by making sure your readers feel smarter when they leave than when they came.


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About the Author: Sharon Eliza Nichols created the Facebook group “I judge you when you use poor grammar.”, which grew to almost 500,000 members. She turned the content into two books, “I judge you when you use poor grammar.” and “More Badder Grammar!”, which have sold 90,000+ copies. Sharon has a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law, she’s been featured in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and she works in marketing in Virginia.