20 of the Best Google Doodles of 2020

Posted inDesign Inspiration
Thumbnail for 20 of the Best Google Doodles of 2020

Google Doodles don’t *need* to exist, really, for any reason—after all, it’s the search that brings us to the search engine behemoth, and not said Doodles. By design, they don’t sell or shill—rather, they simply inform and delight. And throughout 2020, they were, as always, a joy to behold. Here are 20 of our favorites from the past year—spotlighting groundbreaking thinkers, international holidays and achievements, and so much more. (Speaking of “more”—click “more” to read more about each highlighted item, and in some cases, Q&As with the featured guest artists.)

Hélène Leroux

Today’s animated Doodle celebrates the iconic French blue-and-white-striped shirt, the marinière (French for sailor shirt’). On this day in 1858, the French Navy decreed this versatile undergarment part of the official uniform of its sailors, marking the genesis of the top’s storied journey into closets around the world. (More.)

Christoph Niemann

Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Berlin-based guest artist Christoph Niemann, commemorates German Unity Day or Tag der Deutschen Einheit on the 30th anniversary of the countrys reunification. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, government officials from East and West Germany signed an agreement on Aug. 31, 1990, that consolidated the two countries into one nation. Known as the Unification Treaty, the historic resolution went into effect just over a month later on Oct. 3, a date now celebrated each year as a national holiday across Germany. (More.)

In honor of Colombia’s Carnaval de Barranquilla, today’s Doodle features some of the colorful costumes and masks on display during this annual celebration of cultural heritage stemming from indigenous, African and European traditions. Across four days, over a million people will visit Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast to watch floats, dance in the streets, and maybe take part by wearing a Marimonda mask, as seen in the Doodle artwork. (More.)

Today’s Doodle commemorates Brazil’s Independence Day, known in Portuguese as the Sete de Setembro (7th of September) or Dia da Pátria (Nation Day), which has been a federal holiday since 1949. (More.)

On this day in 1994, three speleologists (cave specialists) by the name of Jean-Marie Chauvet, Éliette Brunel and Christian Hillaire were exploring in the Ardèche region of southern France when they happened upon something remarkable: an enormous display of what turned out to be some of the earliest-known and best-preserved figurative drawings ever made by humankind. Today’s Doodle celebrates this groundbreaking discovery—now known as Grotte Chauvet (French for Chauvet Cave)—which forever altered the archaeological understanding of prehistoric man’s artistic expression and creative development. (More.)

Tania Yakunova

Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Kyiv-based guest artist Tania Yakunova, honors the Ukrainian embroidered shirt (known as vyshyvanka) in commemoration of International Vyshyvanka Day. Held each year on the third Thursday of May, this holiday is dedicated to the preservation and revival of Ukraine’s folk tradition of crafting and wearing embroidered clothing. What began in 2006 has since exploded into a global phenomenon with participation in over 50 countries around the world. (More.)

Sameer Kulavoor

Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Mumbai-based guest artist Sameer Kulavoor, celebrates the 101st birthday of legendary Indian writer, playwright, musician, composer, actor, director and philanthropist Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, widely known by his Marathi initials Pu La. Renowned for his signature style of joyful humor and satire, Deshpande brought smiles to the faces of countless readers and audiences with his multifaceted contributions to Marathi literature and the performing arts. (More.)

Today’s Doodle celebrates the centennial birthday of Italian writer and journalist Gianni Rodari, widely acclaimed as one of the most influential Italian children’s authors of the 20th century. Rodari earned renown for accessible stories of fantasy that incorporated real-world social issues, including Il romanzo di Cipollino (The Tale of The Little Onion, 1951), which is represented in today’s Doodle. In 1970, he became the first—and to this date only—Italian to win the Hans Christian Andersen Award for writing, one of the highest international honors in children’s literature. (More.)

Camilla Ru

Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Manchester-based guest artist Camilla Ru, celebrates St. Lucian economist, professor and author Sir W. Arthur Lewis, considered one of the pioneers in the field of modern development economics. A trailblazer not only in his research, he was also the first Black faculty member at the London School of Economics, first Black person to hold a chair in a British university (at Manchester University) and the first Black instructor to receive full professorship at Princeton University. On this day in 1979, Lewis was jointly awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his pioneering work to model the economic forces that impact developing countries. (More.)

Martcellia Liunic

“Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Jakarta-based guest artist Martcellia Liunic, celebrates Indonesia’s Independence Day, known locally as Tujuhbelasan (from the Indonesian for seventeen). On this day in 1945, Indonesia’s proclamation of independence officially set the self-declared nation on a path to sovereignty. Indonesia’s national motto is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which translates to ‘Unity in Diversity.’ Today’s Doodle artwork highlights the diversity that shapes a united Indonesia with illustrations such as the Sumatran Tiger and the Rafflesia Arnoldii flower (which has the world's largest bloom), just a few examples of the abundant variety of fauna and flora indigenous to the archipelago.” (More.)

Kevin Laughlin

Today’s Doodle celebrates Egyptian pioneer of Arabic language computing, Dr. Nabil Ali, on his 82nd birthday. Dr. Nabil Ali’s innovations in the field of computational linguistics propelled the Arab world into the Information Age by creating programs that enabled computers to understand Arabic in digital form. (More.)

Today’s Doodle celebrates Peruvian photographer Martín Chambi, widely credited as one of Latin America’s first Indigenous photographers and one of the greatest Peruvian photographers of the 20th century. Considered a pioneer of portrait photography, Chambi showcased the intangible essence of Peru’s Andean people, the dramatic landscape they inhabit, and their inimitable culture and heritage. (More.)

Today’s Doodle celebrates Russian linguist, lexicographer, professor and author Sergey Ozhegov on his 120th birthday. Ozhegov published one of the first-ever Russian dictionaries, the Dictionary of the Russian Language, which is still held up as a standard of Russian linguistics today. (More.)

Olesya Shchukina

“Today’s Doodle, illustrated by guest artist Olesya Shchukina, commemorates Russia National Day, known locally as Den Rossii. On this day in 1990, Russia became an independent nation following the official adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation, which was then followed by the establishment of the national anthem and flag.” (More.)

Matthew Cruickshank

Don’t be late for today’s very important date! That is, the 200th birthday of British illustrator and artist Sir John Tenniel, celebrated by today’s Doodle. Tenniel is one of the most highly regarded Victorian illustrators and painters, and is perhaps best remembered for bringing to life the characters of Lewis Carroll’s timeless Alice in Wonderland series. (More.)

Today’s Doodle celebrates the 74th birthday of Dutch astronaut, physicist and professor Dr. Wubbo Ockels, the Netherlands’ first citizen in space. A champion of sustainable energy renowned for his positive outlook on life, Dr. Ockel’s contributions to science and space exploration were truly out of this world. (More.)

“As COVID-19 continues to impact communities around the world, people and families everywhere are spending more time at home. In light of this, we’re launching a throwback Doodle series looking back at some of our popular interacti
ve Google Doodle games! Stay and play at home with today’s featured throwback: Our 2010 Doodle game celebrating PAC-MAN!” (More.)

“Today’s Doodle commemorates Vietnam’s National Day in celebration of the date in 1945 when the Southeast Asian nation declared its independence from France. Featured in today’s Doodle artwork is an idyllic rowboating scene full of traditional Vietnamese symbolism. The man paddling is depicted wearing an iconic Nón Lá, a conical leaf hat that originated thousands of years ago and has since become synonymous with the nation’s culture. Opposite of the man steering the boat, a woman is dressed in the elegant national costume of Vietnam: the Áo Dài, which embodies the pride of the Vietnamese people. (More.)

“Today’s Doodle commemorates Ukraine’s Independence Day, considered one of the most important Ukranian holidays of the year. On this day in 1991, Ukraine officially proclaimed full autonomy from Soviet rule. Illustrated in today’s Doodle is a wreath that showcases blue knapweeds and yellow sunflowers, colors that reflect the stripes of the Ukrainian flag. The country’s national flower is the sunflower, which saw a boom of cultivation across the rich soil of present-day Ukraine in the early 19th century, due in part to its useful and versatile oil.” (More.)

“Fourth of July 2020.”