My Odd Job: Google Doodles only last a day but they take months to make

Google Doodles are the entertaining, educational and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate events, anniversaries and human achievements.

We gather annually to decide which events will be celebrated with a Doodle and our inspiration comes from numerous sources, including Google users from around the world.

Overall, we want to celebrate a diverse mix of topics that reflect Google’s personality, teach people something new and, most importantly, are meaningful.

I am always blown away by the feedback the work receives on social media.

A school teacher once said that they started the day by showing a Doodle to their class, encouraging them to celebrate the featured cultural moment. Surprisingly, other feedback includes people raving about our more random creations, such as when we featured the falafel or the vacuum.

There is a team of illustrators (we call them Doodlers) and engineers behind each and every image you see.

Doodles greatly vary in how long it takes to create them. A static illustration can be finalised in as little as a week, but a GIF will take around two or three weeks.

Even longer are interactive ones, which are powered by VR and AI, or are gamified. Anyone of these can take months to complete.

A recent example was the one we did for Georges Méliès, a trailblazing French illusionist and film director. It was the first time we had worked to create something interactive with VR 360°.

He was a pioneer of revolutionary filmmaking techniques and the VR team wanted to show that we also can do something revolutionary. The team tried to imagine what Méliès would do with that technology today.

My favourite part of the job is doing deep-dives into the various topics for research. What I look at varies based on the subject, but for example, if it were a well-known writer or poet I would read various books, essays and texts on them to try and understand exactly who I am trying to capture.

With writers especially, I don’t want to have to resort to a picture of them sitting at a desk, so reading their life’s work helps with ideas.

A Doodle that really captured my interest was the celebration of marine biologist and conservationist, Rachel Louise Carson’s 107th birthday. The final illustration was inspired by a quote from her book, Silent Spring, ‘In nature, nothing exists alone.’

But aside from that, there are a few creations that really stand out, my absolute favourite being the Doodle for the 100th Tour de France. The image came to me of using the two o’s in ‘Google’ as the wheels and I was inspired by the early 20th-century tour posters and images of cyclist with moustaches.

It was a moving graphic – I jump at any opportunity to make an illustration move, as it takes me back to creating flip books as a child – so it recognised the heritage of the Tour de France while pointing to the future.

The Doctor Who theme was definitely the most unusual. It started life as a request from a huge fan at Google. The idea seemed daunting – 11 Doctors, 50 years of adventures, countless enemies and time travel, all condensed into one Doodle.

But we loved the idea of science fiction, technology, learning and fun coming together, so we set about creating a multiple level game, which gave people the opportunity to control the much-loved characters.

Google values our work for a number of reasons. We are always looking to educate and entertain the people who visit Search and we are also keen to celebrate a variety of human achievements.

Personally, I love the idea of people discovering something positive that combines technology with a personal artistic touch.

How to get involved with My Odd Job

My Odd Job is a new weekly series from, published every Sunday. If you have an unusual job and want to get involved, email [email protected].

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