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Google SketchUp, one of the most popular 3D modeling tools, recently joined the team at Trimble. Though best known for GPS technology, Trimble integrates a wide range of positioning technologies including GPS, laser, optical and inertial technologies with application software, wireless communications, and services to provide complete commercial solutions. Its integrated solutions allow customers to collect, manage and analyze complex information faster and easier, making them more productive, efficient and profitable.

Google joined the team to focus more on their own core communities and claim they will be able to innovate and develop new features better than ever before. Amongst the changes, this has given the team an opportunity to redesign the look and feel of the brand.

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Here are some highlights and images from the official blog post by Aidan Chopra, SketchUp Evangelist:

“The most distinctive element of our original logo was its big, red U. This kind of logo is known as a logotype or wordmark, meaning that there’s no symbol attached to the word; the word is the logo. The trouble with using a logotype for a piece of software is that, most of the time, individual programs on your computer are represented by application icons that live on your desktop or in a strip along the bottom of your screen. SketchUp’s icons have looked like this over the years:

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“SketchUp’s application icons have, in my opinion, gotten progressively less good over the years. The last one (on the right) only appeared on Google’s More > Even more page. None of these icons were ever really used as product logos.

The Google years brought several logos as we responded to successive top-down branding directives. None were particularly inspired, and none solved the we-need-an-icon problem, either. Mostly SketchUp, then mostly Google, then side by side.

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As we kicked off our new branding effort in June, we were determined to kill two birds with one stone: We would design a symbol (some people call it a “mark”) that would do double duty as our product icon.”

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“For the mark/icon itself, we were looking for a form that communicated a number of things. Less important were notions of informality and simplicity, though we obviously didn’t want our symbol to convey stodginess or head-banging complexity. We focused on the notions of three-dimensionality, dynamism (movement) and perspective. We decided it was best to stick to a single color; Our choice, Pantone 1795, is saturated, definitely not brown or purple, and stop-sign-visible at a thousand paces. I cheer up whenever I see it.”

“We chose a typeface called Whitney for the word “SketchUp”. On the Comic Sans-to-Baskerville continuum of font gravitas, Whitney is friendly, professional and clean. Just like us, we think. To uniquify things a bit, we tweaked the ascenders and descenders to match the angles in our symbol. For the rest of the SketchUp Pro family of applications, we derived icons from the SketchUp symbol. LayOut is represented by an orthographic top view of the stair-step shape. Style Builder is an outline of the mark, rendered with stylized edges. All three icons are SketchUp Red, which ties them together and sets them apart.”

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Check out this amazing example of a project designed on SketchUp featured on the SketchUp Showcase:

Project: Angela Hospice Care Center
Designer: James Pappas
Location: Farmington Hills, MI, USA
Organization: Fusco, Shaffer & Pappas, Inc.
Overview: Angela Hospice Care Center is a nonprofit hospice located on Felician’s picturesque campus.

2 different rooms from sketch to completion:

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“There were many challenges to address in this design: the central one was increasing space. Additional space for counseling, bereavement, training, and a children’s play area were accomplished within the core of the building to allow access from each pod. Design cues were taken from the existing building to create a cohesive design that blended with the existing building and campus. Natural light and views were also a necessity which was accomplished through the use of large picture windows and expansive storefront to achieve a connection to the immediate campus.”

- Fusco, Shaffer & Pappas, Inc.

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Check out other amazing projects here and to see what else is new with Google SketchUp head over to their official version 8 M4 Release Notes page.