How about having this on your business card: Doodler. For Google.
The title is actually Product Graphic Designer/Illustrator, but Google is hiring for this role usually known as “Doodler.”
This person creates the popular daily images on Google’s homepage that honor historical events or influential figures. And they’re often interactive, creating a learning experience or a fun break from the workday. “You have the reins to our brand and iconic logo and can run freely with your innovative ideas,” the listing promises. “Go forth and doodle!”
What’s the Deal With the Doodle?
Google Doodles used to be a surprise, starting around 2000 and appearing occasionally on Google.com in place of the primary-color logo. Then-webmaster Dennis Hwang used to create most of the occasional doodles as part of the company’s “20% rule,” where employees choose a side project to focus on alongside their daily tasks.
But doodles became so popular that the company decided to make them a daily habit and a team effort. If you land the job, you won’t be the only doodler — Google has an entire crew of artists who develop each day’s visual. And doodles aren’t just for Americans — it’s a worldwide task. Recent Doodles show creations for South Korean and German Google homepages.
What’s it Like to Be a Doodler at Google?
Articles about Google’s company culture often focus on collaboration. That’s especially true in this role — you won’t be able to hunker down at your desk with headphones all day.
“It’s very fast-paced, and we need to juggle many things at once,” doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino told Design Sponge in a 2014 interview. Once a doodle is done, it’s on to the next one, with little time to reflect on that previous work. “It helps that I have plenty of very sweet and brilliant co-workers who are good with constructive feedback… we’ve all stepped in for one another at some point to offer critique, be it visual or conceptual,” she said.
Another challenge? Working across teams with animators or software engineers to develop interactive doodles. Many artists might agree with Foster-Dimino, who said, “I was comfortable working alone, but hesitant to direct others.” But with time, she’s conquered her delegation anxieties.
For more on what it’s like to be a Doodler, check out this video:
How to Become the Next Google Doodler
You’ll need some serious artistic chops to get this job. The listing requires a portfolio or reel of varied creative work, along with experience in two or more design disciplines, like illustration, graphic design, character animation, motion graphics, 3D modeling, game design or prototyping.
You’ll also want to demonstrate visual storytelling ability, a love of culture and tech, and experience working with a creative team.
If you’re right for the role, you can expect to spend your days pitching ideas and collaborating with the Doodle team to turn your ideas — and others’ — into reality. You’ll be juggling various projects and tasks, and be expected to continue learning new techniques and skills as an artist in the digital space.
The listing doesn’t mention the pay, but Glassdoor.com reviews indicate that comparable salaries for graphic designers and illustrators at Google are in the $90,000 range. Plus, there are some serious perks included at Google’s Mountain View campus. You’ll enjoy free food, laundry facilities, a hair salon and on-site doctors. Google’s also been complimented for its generous paid maternity leave policy.
Other Ways to Doodle
Not feeling qualified for the job? Don’t want to move to California? You can still get involved with the Google Doodle team.
Google hosts a yearly Doodle 4 Google contest where it invites school-age children to create a doodle based on a theme. Judges evaluate the entries by grade group, and winners receive scholarships and Google products.
Google also invites the public to submit ideas and sketches by email. But if they use your idea, the Doodlers will likely adapt it, rather than commissioning you to flesh out the piece.
Looking for a little inspiration before you apply? Google has a Doodle Archive where you can view each day’s doodle and read about its origins and creative process.
Your Turn: Will you apply to be the next Google Doodler?
Lisa Rowan is a writer, editor, and podcaster living in Washington, D.C. She loves a good Google Doodle.