5 of the best Google doodles

1. St. George’s Day / The 30th Anniversary of the ZX Spectrum (UK)

5 of the best Google doodles - St George

5 of the best Google doodles - St George

• Design by Ryan Germick • Published 23 April 2012

“I’ll play to the hometown crowd and say the recent tandem doodle for St. George’s Day and the ZX Spectrum was a fun challenge.

"Doodles already have their own set of constraints, but adding to it the limitations of a beloved but not-so-state-of-the-art video game system from the early '80s was perhaps the most puzzling yet. (Besides, I’ve been mildly obsessed with Game of Thrones for the last few weeks, so working with castles, dragons, and knights was fun.)

"Fellow creative nerd - and Pac-Man doodle collaborator - Marcin Wichary even wrote a validator to make sure I didn’t break any rules. Took me 29 tries, but I made it.”

2. 60th Anniversary of Stanislaw Lem's First Publication

5 of the best Google doodles - Lem Stanislav

5 of the best Google doodles - Lem Stanislav

• Design by Sophia Foster-Dimino • Published 23 November 2011

“One of my favorite aspects of working as a doodler is that I can often find projects that are an intersection of my various interests. In the case of this doodle, celebrating the first publication of esteemed Polish sci-fi author Stanisaw Lem, I was able to combine my love for science fiction, video games, and pen & ink illustration.

"I spent six months collaborating with UX designer/developer Marcin Wichary to create a complex interactive world featuring characters from one of Lem’s most beloved works, The Cyberiad. I emulated the style of Daniel Mrz, a Polish illustrator with a distinctive style who often illustrated Lem’s books.

"The challenge was to adapt his delicate style to animation for the purposes of the game. Working in Flash, I created hundreds of frames of animation to attempt to bring Lem’s worlds to life. These animation assets were then exported as sprites and animated using modern web technology. I hope the doodle was enjoyable for all who played.”

3. 100th Birthday of Mary Blair

5 of the best Google doodles - Mary Blair

5 of the best Google doodles - Mary Blair

• Design by Mike Dutton • Published 21 October 2011

“As a doodler, I’ve had the opportunity to celebrate some of my biggest childhood heroes, such as John Lennon, Richard Scarry, and Will Eisner. But perhaps my favorite doodle of all time was for Mary Blair’s 100th birthday.

"Although she was the visual mastermind behind iconic works such as Alice in Wonderland and the Disney ride, It’s A Small World, outside of the art and animation industry she is sort of an unsung hero. A Google doodle was the perfect opportunity to change that.

"Of course, I was a little intimidated to get it right, given her reputation among my peers. So I was grateful for the guidance I received from her nieces, Maggie and Jeanne, who told me many wonderful stories about Aunt Mary.

"This helped tremendously to take the edge off, and eventually I was able to look (somewhat) past Mary’s technical mastery, from her wonderful colour schemes to her deceptively simple shapes and compositions, and focus on what was most important – the sense of joy that went into making each picture.

"This was Mary’s ultimate goal, after all, as she wrote in a letter to her husband, to ‘live to be happy and paint to express our happiness.’ It’s a goal very similar to my own as a doodler and illustrator – to inspire happiness within our users, art lovers or otherwise, when they see something new and unexpected on the Google homepage.”

4. 65th Birthday of Freddie Mercury

5 of the best Google doodles - Freddie Mercury

5 of the best Google doodles - Freddie Mercury

• Design by Jennifer Hom • Published 5 September 2011

"Having grown up with a passion for both art and music (but realising very early that a passion for music didn’t translate into talent), I knew that I had to celebrate one of my rock heroes, Freddie Mercury, in the only way that I could - with the power of art.

"As an icon for his songs, voice, performance, and fashion, Freddie [Mercury] was an artist whose legacy we could only celebrate on a grand scale. I decided that Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now had the perfect locomotive drive for the high-energy, colourful, and quirky animation we wanted to create.

"The team and I took his (already vivid) lyrics as our first point of inspiration. From there, I dug into Queen history and found tons of costume and stage designs that eventually made their way into the final animation. I even took some cues from early video game aesthetic to launch Freddie into another dimension of adventure.

"Within about four months, the team and I were able to pay tribute to Freddie on our homepages worldwide. We hope that our users enjoyed the doodle - and perhaps listened to Don’t Stop Me Now as many times as we did while making the video."

5. Grandparents’ Day

5 of the best Google doodles - Grandparents' Day

5 of the best Google doodles - Grandparents' Day

Design by Willie Real • Published 21 January 2012

"This doodle is one of my personal favorites not only because it’s close to me but also because it captures a sentimental moment between proud grandparents and their grandchildren.

"Out for a slow stroll in the park, the grandparents make sure the children are bundled up, shielding them from the cold month of January. In turn the little guy holding hands with grandpa imitates him by carrying his own walking stick while grandma holds on to her little ‘pierogi’.

"A good friend of mine is Polish and I’ve visited him twice, where his folks have welcomed me with the utmost hospitality. They are indeed Polish grandparents and when this doodle came up I jumped at the opportunity to honour them."

You can see many more doodles like these on the Google Doodles homepage. What are you favourites? Write in and let us know - add your comment below.

An abridged version of this article was originally published in the June 2012 issue of Computer Arts.

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