SQUARED

30th June 2013

‘Squared’ (sometimes referred to as ‘Google Squared’) is a new education initiative developed by Google in London and piloted in 2012. I discovered Squared in February of last year, when I met some recent graduates from another advertising agency who had been invited to join the first, in house pilot round of the programme.

I instantly resonated with Squared, as I’ve never embraced our slow and outdated educational system. I joined the creative and advertising industry when I was 17, having skipped college and University; so I’ve spent my life learning by doing. I’ve followed Squared since it’s inception, watching it evolve into the refined and respected educational programme that it is today. However, I’ve always felt that something was missing

 

The Current Identity

Current Squared Identity

 

While the current brand identity is simple and balances metaphors well, it’s also quite limited and takes a backseat to the course itself, instead of encompassing all that it stands for. Now that Squared is established and trusted in the industry, I felt it deserved a new identity that reflects the quality of the programme.

I wanted to create a symbol that students and mentors could wear with pride. Something brutally simple, yet tastefully inspired and instantly recognisable.

 

A Reason to Exist

 

Every brand needs a reason to exist. Squared’s mission statement is to “Empower the leaders of today and tomorrow.”. I started by coming up with 10 words that embody that statement and the essence of the Squared brand.

 

Squared Brand Essence

 

The Logo

 

Next, I spent some time sketching a custom typeface, inspired by Bank Gothic and Squared’s current use of Kelly Slab. ‘Squared’ is now styled as ‘SQUARED’ to make the letterforms appear stronger and more confident.

 

SQUARED Type Sketch

 

After experimenting with variations on Bank Gothic and similar typefaces, I realised that they looked like they belonged on an old Sci-Fi movie poster. They were generic and forgettable.

I decided to drop the word mark completely and focus solely on the Q, the letter that bears the closest resemblance to a square while retaining it’s legibility.

SQUARED Logo Q

After more sketching, I quickly settled on what would become the new symbol for SQUARED.

 

SQUARED Logo Sketch

 

SQUARED Logo Sketch Full

SQUARED Logo GridSQUARED Logo

SQUARED Logo Before After

The new logo is modern, minimal and instantly understandable. It bears a striking resemblance to a mortar board, after the tassel has been flipped to the wearers left to signify graduation. This is the reason the tail is aligned to the right instead of the center.

SQUARED Mortarboard

The logo also resembles a magnifying glass, a subtle nod to Google Search.

SQUARED Search

Typography

 

A strong and simple sans-serif was needed to complement the new logo. I chose a personal favourite of mine and the typeface I use in my own Identity; Gotham.

 

SQUARED Primary Typeface TitleGotham Typography

Gotham is sensible, bold and modern. It has great proportions and omits the friendly curves found in Helvetica. Like the new logo, it’s also incredibly versatile. It’s various weights make it applicable virtually anywhere.

 

SQUARED Secondary Typeface

SQUARED Arial Typography

Arial is used as the secondary typeface, because it renders well on web and mobile and is frequently used by Google as their default sans serif.

 

Type Applications

 

SQUARED Launch Poster

 

The SQUARED tone of voice is loosely inspired by modern military recruitment ads. Bold, direct statements placed alongside a clear call to action and minimal visuals.

 

We Are SQUARED

We Are SQUARED Wall Vinyl

Think Outside the Box

Think Outside The Box Wall Vinyl

 

Nicola Mendelsohn

 

Nikesh Arora

 

Typographic Frame

 

Framing

 

 

Framing features prominently in the SQUARED brand identity, adding depth and helping to drive focus towards key emotional elements of the images. The logo itself is a frame, both literally and metaphorically. It can contain your memories and experiences as a SQUARE, or be used to represent a blank canvas for your future.

 

He's A SQUARE

 

She's A SQUARE

 

They're SQUARES

 

We Are SQUARED

 

Frame 1

Frame 2

Frame 3

Recognised Industry WideNetwork

 

Colour

 

 

SQUARED features a largely monotone and neutral palette. The entire identity has been designed to look beautiful in black and white.

Monotone

Where necessary, the brand utilises Google’s four hue colour palette. This brings energy and youthfulness to the brand while aligning it with it’s parent company. It also allows for the use of what I’m calling the ‘Google accent’, which is a thin, striped line containing Google’s primary brand colours.

Colour Palette

Adewale Oshineye Quote

 Dan Cobley Quote

Nikesh Arora Quote

Colour Tiles

Searching

People Like You

Search is Over

Welcome Ashley

SQUARED Modules

Colour Logo

 

 Central Saint Giles

 

The use of colour is primarily inspired by Central Saint Giles, a beautiful, striking complex containing Google’s primary advertising and sales office in the heart of West Central London.

 Central Saint Giles Map

 

The complex was designed by legendary architect Renzo Piano (designer of The Shard) who once said that “…the idea of colour represents a joyful surprise.”, a sentiment carried throughout the SQUARED brand.

 

Central Saint Giles North

 

This is where SQUARED was born. I’ve visited the office many times and it never ceases to inspire me. Both the interior office design and exterior complex design meld the essence of Google, London and the creative and advertising industry perfectly.

 

See more of Central Saint Giles by clicking left or right on the slider below.

 

SQUARED Central Saint Giles Section 2
SQUARED Central Saint Giles South Road
SQUARED Central Saint Giles South
SQUARED Central Saint Giles OB 8 Sculpture
SQUARED Central Saint Giles Courtyard
SQUARED Central Saint Giles Interior
 

 

 

Central Saint Giles Frame 1

 

Central Saint Giles Frame 2

 

Central Saint Giles Frame 3

 

Central Saint Giles Frame 4

 

Central Saint Giles Frame 5

 

 Central Saint Giles Frame 6

 

Central Saint Giles Windows

 

The Website

 

 

The SQUARED website was designed with impact and clarity in mind. It uses SQUARED’s loud, direct tone of voice to put the brand’s mission statement at the front and center, above a bold, over-sized call to action, while the Google accent sits subtly at the bottom of the unit and footer of the page.

 SQUARED Homepage

 

Responsive Design

 

The website features a fully responsive design, providing the same impactful experience across all devices.

 

SQUARED Desktop Website

SQUARED Responsive Website

 

Video Archive

 

 

Also included is a HD video archive of past SQUARED talks, given by well known industry experts.

 

SQUARED Video Archive

Blog

 

 

A blog containing the thoughts and experiences of current and past SQUARES is also publicly available. The title, author and opening paragraph are overlaid onto the posts featured image, utilising the same direct and impactful style as the homepage.

SQUARED Blog

 

The Invitation

 

Being invited to join SQUARED should carry with it a sense of occasion. It should be a personalised and emotional experience, akin to being accepted to your dream university or gaining admission to an exclusive club.

Until now, the majority of SQUARED applications came from professionals already working in the creative and advertising industry. Now that SQUARED is available online, a more direct response to applications is needed as some of the candidates may not work in Central London. In all instances, new SQUARES are now sent invitations by both email and post.

 

Invitation By Email

 

SQUARED Email Invite

 

Both the digital and print invitations are designed with an air of mystery. It’s likely that the recipient will know immediately who the message is from, but they won’t know for sure. This creates a feeling of positive uncertainty, not unlike opening a gift on your birthday.

This is represented by the email subject line ‘You’re in.’ as opposed to ‘Welcome to SQUARED!’ and the print invitations subtle, barely noticeable use of the SQUARED logo and Google accent, featuring no explicit branding or mention of the programme.

 

Invitation By Post

 

SQUARED Envelope Front

 

SQUARED Envelope Front Close

 

SQUARED Envelope Lip

 

SQUARED Envelope Opening

 

SQUARED Envelope Opened

 

SQUARED Package

 

SQUARED Front Cover

 

SQUARED Search Over Print

 

The invitation is brief and minimal. It feels more like a concise brand book than a formal invite to join an educational programme. The subtle Google colour accent is painted in between pages, only appearing once the book has been opened fully. “A joyful surprise.”.

 

SQUARED Welcome Close

 

The invite’s purpose is to delight, to invoke excitement and the feeling that you’re about to become a part of something bigger than yourself.

 

SQUARED Welcome Print

 

The design was cut and refined from over 40 pages to around 20, while remaining a largely visual experience that won’t overwhelm the reader.

 

SQUARED Modules Print

 

Using simple language, the invite explains modules in short and easy to understand paragraphs, while featuring framed visual elements that further align the course with Google London and it’s home at Central Saint Giles.

 

SQUARED The Qualification Print

 

SQUARED Back Cover

 

Prospectus

 

View the full, page by page invite by clicking left or right on the slider below.

 

SQUARED Front Cover
SQUARED Searching
SQUARED Search Over
SQUARED Welcome
SQUARED Modules 1 and 2
SQUARED Modules 3 and 4
SQUARED Timeline
SQUARED The Qualification
SQUARED Our Experts
SQUARED Dual Quotes
SQUARED The Network
SQUARED Back Cover

 

 

Merchandise

 

Also supplied with the print invitation is a basic personalised merchandise package. This contains a lanyard for SQUARES to wear when they’re on site, along with name cards for exchanging contact information and some stickers and badges for representing SQUARED at meetings and events.

 

SQUARED Lanyard

 

SQUARED Name Card

 

The back of a SQUARED name card. The front features a portrait photo of the SQUARE, taken from their Google+ profile. The cards are designed to encourage interaction between SQUARES during and after events by establishing a common ground and helping to inspire conversation.

They contain only the essential information you need to make a connection with someone: a face, a name, an identifier and a casual piece of contact information.

 

SQUARED Merchandise

 

The SQUARED brand acts as a symbol that the SQUARES can wear with pride throughout their journey together. It’s a distinguished mark that you can carry with you throughout your career – one that instantly conveys experience, individuality and a commitment to learning by doing. The SQUARE represents quality, simplicity, versatility and above all, unity.

 

SQUARED Graduation Frame

 

To find out more about SQUARED, head over to the official course website.

Thanks for reading. I’m @jckmgn on Twitter.

 

 

 

SQUARED Featured on Abduzeedo

 

SQUARED Quotes Title

 

“We love the design work which Jack Morgan did with our brand”

- Squared on Google+

“Your Squared concept is stunning, sincerely hope someone at Google pays attention and takes note!”

- James McAulay on Twitter

“Stunning concept for Google Squared. Really well thought out & well documented throughout every decision”

Ben Ford on Twitter

“Very solid work. I love the integration with all the different aspects of branding, from the name tags to the website. It’s a very strong and well thought out concept. I hope someone at Squared sees it”

- Paul Savage (blackdogie) on Hacker News

“It’s really great work. I think the logo is genius and the way in which Jack integrates the logo throughout his website examples really pushes the brand forward.”

Yogesh Ram on Google+

“Outstanding… Simple design with infinite marketing application potential”

Michael Dravnieks on Twitter

“Really interesting, long and in-depth read”

- Carlin Scuderi on Twitter

“Really incredible brand work”

- Tyler Nieman on Google+

“Epic, the linking between Q, graduation hats and search icon is just genius.”

Bami Ekosanmi on Google+

“Awesome work! It’s one of the best rebrands I’ve seen”

- Miguel Oliveira on Twitter

 

DISCLAIMER

  Creative Commons License
SQUARED by Jack Morgan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://jackwmorgan.com/squared.

This project, titled ‘SQUARED’ was designed purely for personal, non commercial use. These conceptual works were created during weekends and evenings without the prior knowledge of Google, Squared, or any of their respective subsidiaries, affiliates or employees.

This project may not strictly follow the Google or Squared brand guidelines and does not necessarily reflect the views or plans of Google or Squared. Google, Squared, the Google logo and the Squared Logo are the property of Google Inc.

Some content including text copy, photographic imagery and vector imagery are © Copyright Jack Morgan 2013.