Android logo, from bathroom signs to open source – how it’s made

October 13, 2013

Android

The Android logo needs no introduction anymore, as Android is probably one of the easiest brands to recognize out there – at least to smartphone buyers – but not everybody knows its story.

That little green robot has been Android’s logo since the beginning – well, since Google acquired this particular startup and decided to turn it into what it is today, which is when it gave the logo design job to one of its employees, Irina Blok.

According to the New York Times, Blok received the Android logo job back in 2007 when she was working at Google.

The company wanted a logo for the mobile software platform that “consumers could easily identify.” Google also wanted the logo to “involve” a robot. So Blok researched robots by looking at toys and space movies, but ultimately she was inspired by public bathrooms:

[…]the pictograms of the universal man and woman that often appear on restroom doors. She drew a stripped-down robot with a tin-can-shaped torso and antennas on his head.

Now that the design was finalized, Blok and her team decided that the logo should be open-sourced, just like the operating system it represented. That way, anyone interested in customizing it could do so whenever and however they wanted.

Android 4.4. KitKat

However, Blok, who no longer works at Google, is not as famous as the Android logo:

Blok can think of only one incident when she garnered the public’s attention for designing it. In 2010, she and her 6-year-old daughter were in a movie theater waiting for “Alice in Wonderland” to begin when an Android logo flashed on the screen. Her daughter, Blok recalls, suddenly stood up and yelled, “My mommy invented that!” Everyone in the row in front of them turned around to stare. Blok was so embarrassed, she says, that she sank down behind her tub of popcorn.

The rest, as they say, is history, as the Bugdroid quickly became a very famous Droid, and one that has seen many customizations since being designed. In fact, Google has just customized the green robot for its upcoming Android 4.4 KitKat release, in which the robot is made of KitKat chocolate.

Comments

  • Teo Jia Rong

    Give her a medal!

  • Lil bit

    Not bad, I always thought the logo was made by a gay, all the graphic designers where I worked as a developer consultant before were gay. Honestly, every time we went to developer events as well, all the designers I met were gay also. I didn’t think there were such a thing as real female graphic designers. Though we had female hardcore programmers in C and C++. Going back in time we even had female teachers in x86 Assembler classes. But designers, never.

    • lil bit

      I even know a girl who programmed classified missile guidance systems for a famous European weapon system that I dont want to name because the number of female developers able to do such jobs can be counted on your fingers, and she was not only beautiful but totally stunning, and, she couldn’t design an app icon for sure.

      • Tochi Obudulu

        Seriously though, your logic is amazing.

        Amazingly crap.

    • Tochi Obudulu

      So if all graphic designers are gay, then this guy, the head of design at apple must be too…

      *Looks at iOS7 design*

      Nevermind

    • TechDevil

      “made by a gay”? You make it sound like being gay is its own species. “A gay person” is what you should have written.

  • TechDevil

    Use your words carefully, author. Is the robot outside of Google headquarters “made of KitKat chocolate” or just resembles it? I don’t think they would invest in a chocolate statue.

  • ongboy

    Note 3 Os. 4.3 can’t player of 快播
    Cannot see and no sound look like forward already feel back to them
    But no action taken, many times
    Please do something

  • rebirthofcool

    interesting correlation and that Android have come a long way to be a kitkat of today while striving to be buttery smooth in its footsteps

  • meme@home.com

    That thing is called a bugdroid?
    Now I know

  • skinman18

    Its evolving

  • Keith McNeill

    This Android release is sponsored by a confectionary company?

    Gimme a break.

  • SiddharthaRangra

    And i thought that, D2-R2 droid form Star Wars was the main inspiration behind the logo.