In 2000, a 3D modeling tool debuted called SketchUp, which was purchased by Google in 2006. Since then, SketchUp became part of the Google brand architecture, which meant the SketchUp identity was Google-ified. As Aidan Chopra explained on the SketchUp blog, “The Google years brought several logos as we responded to successive top-down branding directives. None were particularly inspired.”
You can see the evolution of the SketchUp logo as part of Google in the image to the left. The first logo is simply the original SketchUp logo with the Google name tacked on, and the logos on the bottom are later evolutions of the brand logo.
But the Google days are over for SketchUp, which was sold to Trimble in April 2012, and that means it was also time for a new brand identity. Rebranding SketchUp meant the brand could return to some of its core messages of simplicity, perspective, dynamism, friendliness, and professionalism rather than “stodginess or head-banging complexity,” as Aidan Chopra explained.
The new SketchUp logo is shown below. The new logo icon looks like a cube, which seems appropriate for a 3D modeling tool, but as Chopra points out, “It isn’t really a cube at all. The implied stairs or levels are an apt representation of our roots in architecture and other construction disciplines.” Furthermore, the chevrons in the logo icon create a series of hidden arrows pointing upwards — a nod to the “Up” part of SketchUp.
Ultimately, the SketchUp logo needed to be flexible to work in diverse media, as a screen icon, and more. Any brand that’s moving out from under a massive brand umbrella like Google has an opportunity to truly stand out with a phenomenal rebranding initiative. While marketers and customers might argue that the SketchUp logo isn’t perfect, the new identity is a significant departure from its Google identity. And returning to a red color palette that points to the history of the SketchUp brand before Google owned it, is a wise decision — not to mention the fact that SketchUp finally has a desktop icon!
What do you think of the SketchUp rebranding? Leave a comment and share your thoughts about branding after parting from a well-known brand like Google.
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