Toronto Teen Wins Inaugural Doodle 4 Google Contest

by Pandora Angelique Lee
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Toronto Teen Wins Inaugural Doodle 4 Google Contest - Fresh Print

Photography by Ingrid Goh.

Tucked in a 675 square foot room on the Royal Ontario Museum’s second floor is a brightly coloured room which juxtaposes the dimly lit neighbouring exhibits. Whimsical icons decorate the brightly painted blue, red, yellow, and green walls.  It is here where 72 original Canadian doodles hang as part of the Doodle 4 Google exhibit.

Google doodles are the spontaneous changes made to the iconic Google logo to commemorate holidays and significant events associated with that day. To date, over 1000 doodles have been created for homepages around the world. On February 26, 2014 a doodle designed by Cindy Tang, a Toronto grade 12 student, entitled Sea Telescope joined this elite group and was featured on Google Canada’s search page as the 2014 Doodle 4 Google contest winner.

Last October Canadian students from kindergarten to grade 12 were the invited to design an original logo for the homepage under the theme “If I could invent anything, I would invent…” Thousands of students submitted entries from the west coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, to the east coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The majority of submissions were coloured illustrations created using pencil crayons and markers. However, there were a few entries that used other mediums such as graphic design software.

Submissions were divided into subgroups based on the student’s grade and regional group. 72 regional finalists were selected, which was narrowed down to 25 national finalists by guest judges: Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Former Commander of the International Space Station; ROM’s CEO Janet Carding; Google Science Fair Winner 2013 Ann Makosinski; and actress Karine Vanasse. The 25 finalists’ doodles were posted online, allowing the public to vote for the top five finalists. The judges then selected the winner. The national finalists were flown into Toronto for the awards ceremony, which was held at the Royal Ontario Museum where the national winner was announced.

Toronto Google doodle - Fresh Print Magazine

Photography by Ingrid Goh.

Tang won a $10,000 scholarship and a Google Chromebook. In addition, her school, Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute, received a $10,000 grant. The other four finalists, Xusheng (Sam) Yu of St. Francis Xavier Community School; David Isaiah Jeans of Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School; Meriam Akkou of École Secondaire La Camaradière; and Maria Angela Viaje of Johnston Heights Secondary all won a $5,000 scholarship and a Google Chromebook.

Tang said that her work was inspired when she “stumbled across a fact that 95% of our oceans were undiscovered” and she was “curious to see what was under there.” She “played around with the idea” which resulted in her final winning design.

Carding indicated that as a judge she considered the overall idea, how that message was conceptualized, and what it would look like when someone opened the homepage. She noted that Tang’s submission also reflected the ROM’s mission to make new discoveries.

The other submissions contained a variety of ideas including environmental themes, making things become reality, and living in alternate environments.

“It’s remarkable that you can look at those six iconic letters and see all of the infinite possibilities”, said Premier Kathleen Wynne, as she congratulated Tang and the other finalists at the awards ceremony.

This was the first of the Doodle 4 Google contests in the world and organizers look forward to what will be created in future years.


Photography by Ingrid Goh.

Students visiting the exhibit eagerly looked to see whether their design had been selected as a finalist. They also gathered ideas for future submissions.

All 72 regional finalist doodles will be displayed in a special exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum until April 27, 2014.

Doodle by numbers:

  • Thousands of submissions
  • 72 competition finalists
  • 4 judges
  • 47 regional finalists
  • 200,000 votes
  • 20 regional winners
  • 4 semifinalists
  • 1 winner

On display until April 27, 2014 at Royal Ontario Museum

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