Established in 1928, Motorola was a telecommunications company that designed and produced a number of consumer and professional products, from two-way radios to cable TV set-top boxes to cellular and smartphones, including the once groundbreaking RAZR. After a rough patch towards the end of the first decade of the 2000s, Motorola was split into two independent companies: Motorola Solutions, which “provides mission-critical communications products and services to enterprises and governments” and Motorola Mobility, which “delivers personalized information to meet the needs of consumers both in the home and on the go.” The latter keeping the smartphone side of the business. In 2012 Google acquired Motorola Mobility setting up a beneficial synergy between Google’s Android OS and Motorola’s hardware. This week, a new tiny logo for Motorola was spotted on the footer of Techweek100’s site, a conference presented by Motorola. Later, not sure how, another version of the logo, confirmed by Motorola, appeared. No announcement, official reveal, or design credit.
The intention of the change is obvious: Google is marking its territory in a way just a touch more subtle than a cat peeing on its backyard. The change most people will notice is barely design related, it’s in the nomenclature of it, “Motorola: A Google Company”. I can’t think of many (or any) consumer products or services being so heavily-handed “branded” (in the original sense of the word) as Google is doing here. Perhaps it’s a maneuver that will last only a few years until people know that Motorola is Google’s bitch because, sorry, but that’s what this sounds like.
Graphically, the famous Motorola “M” remains the same and seems like it will still be used in a solid circle as usual. The biggest surprise is the multi-colored ring version that has popped all over the internet. It’s an interesting extension that definitely signals something is different but not completely different. It works in providing a fresh take on the monogram and seeing it, literally, through a new frame. Although Google didn’t have any problem putting its name on the logo, it held back in making the colored ring be Google’s official colors because I guess that would be too much. The typography went from a bold, italic uppercase to a light, normal lowercase setting. It seems like it’s been two or three years since we last saw this kind of friendly-fication of a logo. It does kind of work, especially in unison with the “a” and “company” being lowercase too. It does have a nice rhythm to it with all those “o”s and the customized “a” at the end is (although annoying) enough to give the wordmark some customization without going overboard. Overall, this is clearly a logo to signal change and to establish who’s boss in this, so a definite success.