Method Podcast, Episode 16

From product images to onboarding animations and doodles, Google illustrators describe the finer points of their craft

In this episode, host Travis Neilson interviews a trio of Google illustrators creating images to inform and delight millions of people around the world. Designer Mat Helme shares insights from his work creating the guidelines for Google’s product illustrations. Motion Designer Laura Dumitru talks about her creative process and the animations she designed for the Pixel startup sequence. Doodler Hélène Leroux shares the story of her illustrations for Back To The Moon—a Google doodle about filmmaker Georges Méliès, and the first doodle to be nominated for an Emmy.

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A few highlights:

On what makes a good product illustration “Immediate comprehension.” — Mat Helme

On the hierarchy of words and images “It's a bit of a competition sometimes, between illustration and copy. We’ve learned that a lot of the time, if you have an animation, people just don't read the copy. It's something we always need to be careful with.” — Laura Dumitru

On the magic of Google doodles “The logo of a company is normally something untouchable. If you have the freedom to replace the logo with, oh, a dragon who's burning the letters, it's something that you've never seen before. It brings a lot of fun to the brand.” — Hélène Leroux

A scene from Back to the Moon designed and directed by Hélène Leroux

Handy info and links for this episode:

Principles Not Platitudes” is an essay written by Google UX Researcher Jess Holbrook, arguing in favor of measurable and meaningful design principles.

Back To The Moon is the first Google doodle to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program. Honoring French director Georges Méliès, the short film was directed by Hélène Leroux and Fx Goby. It was produced by Nexus Studios.

Go behind-the-scenes of Back To The Moon in this video by the doodle team and Google Spotlight Stories.

Mat Helme is a Palo Alto-based visual designer and the lead designer of Google’s product illustration rulebook.

Laura Dumitru is a Google motion designer based in London. Her current work includes illustration and animation for the Pixel phone.

Hélène Leroux is an animator, designer, art director, and film director based in San Francisco. She is currently on Google’s doodle team.