MAUD’s identity for Rare with Google marries corporate branding with a punk aesthetic
Beginning with global masterclasses throughout Europe, Asia and the Antipodes, Rare with Google intends to support continued innovation and inclusivity into the creative and technological industries through a platform that supports creatives. With the help of D&AD, Sydney and Melbourne-based studio MAUD designed Rare with Google’s identity in 2017 and have continued to develop it as the platform has expanded. Under the umbrella of their creative campus, they now run student learning programmes for those in the creative industry, a residency with Google’s creative teams and a Creative Fellowship.
MAUD dove deep into the existing comprehensive Google identity to find what subversions they could make to one of the most recognisable corporations in the world – searching for how they could bend the rules without fully breaking them. This began by looking at key elements such as their extensive, yet never fully utilised, colour palette and their primary typefaces Google Sans and Roboto – using Roboto Mono Regular for large body copy text rather than it’s typical use for micro details such as tags and screen navigation.
MAUD also brought Google’s typefaces up to date with further inclusive, diverse iconography to continue pushing their ideals of inclusion and representation, whilst trying to avoid the contrivable notion of branded diversity. “The symbols became a way to showcase diversity without the identity becoming too homogenous”, MAUD tells us, “when designing the symbols we wanted to illustrate a range of factors such as who the programme may be for, what the programme is about and also some irreverence thrown in for good measure”.
Subversion also came in the form of Rare with Google’s logotype, whereby a deep-dive into Google Sans uncovered alternative ‘A’ and ‘R’ glyphs that were used and, in the case of the ‘R’, flipped. “The flipped R came to represent an unregistered mark of approval”, MAUD explains, “with the Rare programme celebrating difference and diversity, we wanted a symbol that could be representative of the movement, whilst still remaining clean and utilitarian”. Acting as a poetic contrast to the utilitarian typography, Rare with Google’s image treatment is gritty and textual. With influence from 1960’s Parisian protest posters to 1970’s British Punk zines, the aim was to visually reference and continue the voice of activism and change throughout recent history.
MAUD has successfully achieved a pairing of corporate identity and a grassroots, protest aesthetic – marrying vibrant creativity with utility; resulting in something that is as accessible as it is expressive.