Every August, Jessica Yu and a carefully selected committee of Googlers from various backgrounds begin the delicate — and joyful — process of choosing which Google Doodles will appear on the Google homepage in the coming year. They begin meeting regularly in the summer and usually wrap up by late October. Sometimes they gather in person, other times over Google Meet. Either way, it adds up to hours of discussion and work each week, all dedicated to making Doodle magic happen.
“We want to create that feeling of surprise and delight when you’re going about your day-to-day life, and then — tada! — a little gift,” Jessica says. “We want people to learn something, or laugh, or feel inspired.”
As the team lead, part of Jessica’s job during this annual selection is to help choose Doodles from a massive pile of submissions (which come from Doodle team members, other Googlers and then from people completely outside Google), discuss them with this committee and a network of global cultural consultants and then decide on the best way to bring them to life. “You have to figure out how you want to depict this topic or person,” she says. “Should it be an image or an animated GIF? Or should it be interactive, or even a game.”
Perla Campos, Marketing lead for Doodles, says this process takes so long partly because getting the most diverse and inclusive collection of Doodles requires the team to hear from Googlers all over the world. “It’s a balance of having a lot of cooks in the kitchen but also making sure we have everyone involved,” she says. The other reason selections are so drawn out: Perla estimates that the team looks over “a couple thousand” Doodle ideas. “It’s a puzzle,” she says. “It’s a huge puzzle.”
While Doodles are beloved inside Google and by many who visit the homepage, more goes into them than you might think. So I asked a few Googlers on the Doodles team to share some of the surprising and, yes, delightful details and stories from behind the scenes.
1. The Doodle team receives about 7,000 submissions a year.
Jessica says the hardest part of the team’s job is definitely sifting through Doodle submissions — because there are so many great ones. The team gets hundreds of requests every day from people who email email@example.com, and Googlers are pitching their concepts all the time, too.