When the new Google logo debuted, we knew just who to ask to weigh in and give us its lineage as a font: François Rappo, from ECAL in Switzerland. Here’s what he had to say.

Logos live their own natural lives. Digital logos do, too, from their screen-based birthplace to their grown up function as successful and recognized global brands.

The Google logo moved slowly along from mere 3d shaded lettering to the solid, monoline geometric version of today.

Google’s new identity borrows its style from early 20th century German modernist typography. Specialists would quote Paul Renner’s Futura, Rudolf Koch’s Kable, or even Melchior Lechter’s Stefan-George-Schrift.

We know many previous striking US interpretations of that geometric style—just think about American Type Founders design for fashion magazine Vogue in the 1930s. Or the dazzling Avant-Garde font by Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase in the 1960s.

By comparison, the new Google lettering—which at first glance seems sleek and modern next to their older, serif logo—is actually rather rough and almost sketch-like when you really analyze it up close and in a historical context. It makes me feel that the company wants to impress a DIY value system on users, and maintain this philosophy in its overall identity.