Google's iconic, brightly colored logo has become synonymous with the tech behemoth, and the company's whimsical "Google Doodles" have become a creative and wildly popular phenomenon analyzed and celebrated around the globe.
But before the first Google doodle--a crude sketch added for the Burning Man festival in August of 1998--Google experimented with a variety of other designs for its signage.
Newly rediscovered using the Wayback Machine, these older logos, left behind on the drawing board or swapped out for brighter and better versions, range from the intense to the intensely hilarious.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford University in the '90s, Wired reports. Brin was a second-year grad student in the computer science department, and Page was engineering major from the University of Michigan deciding on grad schools. The two begin collaborating on a search engine called BackRub in 1996 and renamed it Google in 1997.
The earliest Google design reflects these '90s origins, echoing the type of clip art popular during that era.
A particularly amazing version of the logo features lowercase letters in a distinctly amphibian hue. The design includes green irises in the double "o's" -- something reminiscent of a googly-eyed crafts project.
Today, Google's logo and its special doodles are far more sophisticated and even interactive. In the tradition's early years, the practice of changing up the logo was controversial, according to Dennis Hwang, Webmaster Manager.
"If you read any kind of corporate marketing or branding textbook, the one thing they tell you is to make your corporate branding consistent no matter what," Hwang told Time. "But Larry and Sergey said, 'Why not? We should have fun with this.' They did it in spite of some resistance within the company."
Visit Inspiration Feed for a great compilation of the company's best doodles designed so far.