When Irina Blok came up with the idea to create a simple green robot to symbolise what was one of Google’s newest projects at the time, she had no idea it would become so iconic.
Today, the little green robot that Google uses as the mascot for Android may be one of the most widely recognizeable logos in the tech industry.
But Blok, a former designer at Google that now works as the creative director for shopping startup Curbside, said the logo wasn’t really designed to attract widespread attention.
The little green robot was initially aimed at developers — the intended audience for Android before it became such a big consumer product.
“It was more about how do you take the Android and make it human,” Blok said in an interview with Business Insider. “Like, what is the simplest way an Android can be designed?”
A report from The New York Times in 2013 cited Blok as saying that she drew inspiration from the universally recognizeable symbols found on men and women’s bathrooms. Blok, however, told Business Insider this wasn’t true.
“It was just about creating something that everybody could relate to and something that developers in particular liked,” she said.
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit about how the Android robot came to be is the fact that no one at Google really knew about it. Blok didn’t present the Android logo to anyone at Google — she just created it independently and open sourced it.
It didn’t take long, however, for the developers who worked at Google to catch on. Developers then quickly began creating their own versions of Blok’s small green character.
“It just became this viral movement on its own,” Blok said. “The next thing I knew, there were all kinds of robots. There was one that was a little kitty, there was one that looked like Sarah Palin. They were like multiplying everywhere.”
A person that used to work at Google in Android’s early days offered a similar description of how Android came to be. This person, who worked closely with Android inventor Andy Rubin, said the logo just started to appear everywhere as the team was developing the first version of Android.
This is what made Google such a fun place to work, says Blok — you had the freedom to create whatever you wanted, as long as you finished your assignments.
“You’re just kind of making stuff,” she said. “And you don’t really realise how cool it is it until years have passed.”