Thanks to partnerships with Samsung, HTC and others, Google’s Android operating system makes up 64{ba3215b0bf35eaeb06be458b3396ffbfc50bb9db10c9ff1594dfc3875e90ea48} of the smartphone market (at least according to Wikipedia). The logo (a robot with antennas, much like the 1970’s Space Invaders logo but in green) is recognised the world over and for many, is synonymous with Android itself. Created in 2007 by Google designer Irina Blok, the logo is uniquely customizable and open-sourced.

One must ask: why would Google do this, when most companies would fight tooth and nail over their rights to corporate insignia? Is it because Google wants consumers to recognise the Android brand as a symbol of innovation, creativity, and user-friendliness, or is there another reason? Forgive my cynacism, but I think there might be. Going open-sourced has allowed Google to benefit immensely from free marketing by allowing developers, partners and consumers to create their own Android characters, and it’s also a clever way to build recognition for brands that might otherwise encounter difficulties in securing trade mark protection (which makes Google’s battle over its USPTO word mark application for Android all the more interesting).

According to Facebook’s Ji Lee, the hallmarks of a great logo (such as those of IBM, Nike and FedEx) are simplicity and timelessness. Whether the Android logo has quite the same brand equity as these time-honoured marks, I very much doubt. However, its strategy of keeping the logo free-for-all has certainly worked in making it a more distinguishable badge of origin. So, ask yourself the question, will your logo stand the test of time?