Jan. 18, 2011 at 3:23 PM ET
Google celebrates most holidays, famous birthdays and seasonal changes with a little extra strut, care of the Google Doodle, those sometimes whimsical riffs on the search engine's logo. Doodles are usually done by a team of designers, but once a year, the company opens up a competition called "Doodle 4 Google" to students. An announcement about the fourth annual contest is scheduled for tomorrow.
Since 2008, Doodle 4 Google has allowed kids in grades K-12 to compete on a national scale to create their own doodle, which would be viewed by the millions who use the search engine home page, for a day.
Last year's winner, Makenzie Melton, a third grader at El Dorado Springs R-2 Schools in El Dorado Springs, Missouri, beat out 33,000 other submissions with "Rainforest Habitat," (see image above) which appeared on Google.com on May 27. Makenzie also reaped other rewards: a $15,000 college scholarship, a netbook and a $25,000 technology grant for her school.
The three runners-up each received a netbook.
The four winners were feted in grand style, with an event at the Google New York office a celebration at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, which carried an exhibition of the 40 regional winners. Their day in the Big Apple also included "doodle classes with our doodle team and the opportunity to meet some of this year’s expert jurors who helped judge this year’s final doodles around the theme 'If I Could Do Anything, I Would...'"
We'll find out soon what this year's theme is, but year-round, there's a bounty of inspiration for the contest.
We've seen the logo creativity most recently with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday yesterday, the December holiday season, Thanksgiving and Veterans Day. There has also been the Google Doodle mystery, the tribute to mystery writer Agatha Christie and the peace sign nod to John Lennon on his birthday, using "Imagine."
The doodle team has created over 300 doodles for Google.com in the U.S., while the world has seen more than 700 designs.
This year's competitors will undergo a lot of scrutiny, if Google follows the same formula for judges as it did last year: "Well known illustrators, cartoonists, and animators" from "organizations such as Disney, The Sesame Street Workshop, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates and Peanuts, and Pixar Animation Studios."
Who knows where the doodlers of today may end up?