Designing Apple, Lenovo and Google There must be something in the water because some of the largest companies in the world have been, somewhat quietly, upgrading a prominent design feature across all of their products. I’m talking about Apple, Lenovo and Google: possibly the three largest tech companies we have seen, who all independently decided to find new ways to express themselves this year. Apple took the drawing boards to reimagine what a font needs to be in today’s world – one where screen size is larger than ever… and smaller than ever. Their luxury watch brought with it new problems of readability and they found that Helvetica was taking up a lot of much-needed room on those small screens. Which led them to create the new San Francisco font capable of scaling up to headlines on monitors and down to tiny pixels, be readable and take up less space. That is no small task and one that we will now all experience in our daily lives as it is rolled out across all Apple products. Font design may not interest all of you, however it is these small details that allow us to understand the world in a better way; without good fonts our lives would be ever more complicated as we decipher the signage and alerts that surround us. When Apple realises there is a problem with the fonts we have on offer, you know we’ve entered a new era of complex design and, like with all Apple design, the solution is beautifully simple. Lenovo, the world’s largest PC company (with 21% of the market opting for one of the Chinese manufacturers products) made a major design decision in 2015 also. Readers will know that I am often with a Lenovo nearby and this is because the company introduced me to their innovative designs some time back and the advancements they are always making. “Over the past five years the Lenovo business has undergone a dramatic transformation, becoming a global leader not just in PCs but also in tablets, smartphones and a range of other devices. As our business has transformed, so too has our brand. There’s the word Lenovo, which we’ve designed in a more contemporary way, making it more readable so there are no pronunciation issues around the world.” [via Lenovo blog] Responding to issues that have arisen, Lenovo designed a new logo which had a broader appeal, something very few companies experience as they take their products in to territories that have not been entered before. Language is a very difficult challenge when it comes to conquering new regions, so taking their company name, Lenovo, around the world makes it very important to have clarity of brand. Google announced a few changes recently to its corporate structure, and along came a new logo to soften this global giant of a company. The company might only be 17 years old but it wants to retain the youthful, playful exterior it has built over time. “Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens. As you’ll see, we’ve taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).” [via Google Blog] The new logo is actually a font, Product Sans, which the company developed recently to use across it’s products. Once again, this change comes as they see a need for a logo that accommodates the developing platforms, pixels and purposes. One size needs to fit all, but rarely does so the logo is a language that translates across devices. Daniel Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.