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The Ultimate Guide to Doodle for Google

Doodle for Google is an annual art contest open to all students in grades K-12. Google's iconic “doodles” aim to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s love for innovation. Google has hosted this contest since 2008, giving students the opportunity to share their design for their own “doodle” and be featured on Google.com. With thousands of applicants and only one winner per state and one winner per country, the contest is incredibly competitive.


Doodle for Google is a wonderful opportunity for students to be highlighted by one of the most famous platforms in the world and showcase their talent and imagination.



Doodle for Google 2016 Winner
Doodle for Google 2016 Winner


How can you participate in Doodle for Google?


Each year, Google releases a theme for the year’s Doodle for Google contest. For example, in 2022, the theme was: “I care for myself by…”


See the winning design of 2022’s Doodle for Google contest below!



2022's Doodle for Google  winning entry
2022's Doodle for Google winning entry


Following the theme, you will create your Doodle and write a short written statement supporting the design of your Doodle. Make sure to keep it creative and original! Next, you will scan / photograph your completed Doodle and submit it along with the online submission form here.



How can you win Doodle for Google?


Doodles are judged on three parameters:

  1. Artistic merit: this criteria is based on one’s artistic skill

  2. Creativity: this criteria is based on the student’s ability to represent the contest’s theme, use the letters in the Google logo, and form a creative approach.

  3. Theme communication: this criteria is based on how well the contest’s theme is expressed in both the artwork and the written statement.


Doodles are grouped and judged by grade. Grades K-3 will be judged together, as will Grades 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10-12. A panel of judges will determine three levels of winners:

1. 54 State and Territory Winners

The best Doodle from each of the 50 states and US territories is chosen to be displayed in an online gallery on the Doodle for Google website.


2. 5 National Finalists

Over 5 days, the US states and territories will all vote for their favorite Doodle from the 54 State and Territory Winners. These votes will determine 5 National Finalists.


3. 1 National Winner

A panel of Google Employees will choose 1 National Winner out of the 5 National Finalists



Doodle for Google 2017 Winner
Doodle for Google 2017 Winner


Pros and Cons


There are both pros and cons to entering the Doodle for Google contest. We’ve listed a few of each below to help you decide whether or not you want to participate!


Pros

1. The award is a prestigious recognition

Not many people win Doodle for Google! Even being a state winner is an incredible achievement, not to mention being a national winner! By winning Doodle for Google, you demonstrate that you have a talent for design, artistry, and creativity that not many people have. This means you will surely stand out on any college application as a passionate, unique, and artistic personality.


2. The award gives you experience and exposure

Ultimately, by being featured prominently on Google.com, your work will be seen by every person across the globe. For someone who might hope to pursue art as a future field of study or career, there is no greater exposure.


Being able to say you won Doodle for Google will certainly help you get a foot in the door in the art world. You show that you are able to think creatively, research the theme, and create artwork that conveys an important message.


3. Winning comes with great prizes!

Each level of awards gives you different prizes.

  1. State and Territory Winners will have their Doodles featured on the Doodle for Google gallery. They will receive Google hardware, a congratulatory message from Google, and fun Google swag

  2. National Finalists will also have their Doodles featured on the Doodle for Google gallery. They will then receive a $5,000 college scholarship, as well as Google hardware and swag

  3. The National Winner’s artwork is displayed on Google.com for 24 hours. They will then receive a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for their school or a non-profit organization of their choice, Google hardware and swag.

These awards are all incredibly valuable and give anyone a reason to try their shot at a Doodle for Google.


Cons

1. The award is incredibly competitive

Doodle for Google is a highly competitive contest. Last year, the contest saw over 115,000 entries. The odds of winning are relatively low, and most people won’t be selected as a finalist or a winner. Not winning may be disappointing to some people—it’ll be important for you to manage expectations.


2. Time and effort involved

Preparing a submission for Doodle for Google can be time-consuming. Students will need to invest significant time and effort into their artwork; the most time will be spent brainstorming an innovative idea. Students will need to balance how much time and effort they are willing to put in with their expected chances and hopes of winning.


4 Tips to Help You Win


For those who hope to enter Doodle for Google, the competitive atmosphere can be hard to approach at first. We’ve compiled a few tips to help give you the best chance at winning!


1. Look at past submissions

By looking at previous winning Doodles, you can gauge the standard of what Google is looking for in a winning design. This is the best way to understand what is being asked of you, from the level of creativity, to the appropriate expression of theme.


You won’t know how to win until you understand what it takes to win! You can look through previous winning designs here. Here’s a video highlighting the 2023 winner and their journey!


2. Don’t forget the written statement

You will be asked to submit a short written statement along with your Doodle design; this statement is meant to help explain your vision and support your design. For example, here is the written statement by the winner of the 2022 competition:


“I care for myself by accepting others' care for me. Often I struggle to shoulder a burden on my own, and forget that I have so many people, like my mom, who care about me and want to help me. Opening up and letting others support me not only relieves my stress—it lets me tackle things I could never do on my own.”


Although your design is the most important element, do not underestimate the importance of a written statement! This is where you can explain anything that might be confusing about your design, and fully flesh out what it is meant to convey. The design and the statement should work together to make a complete picture. It’s not a good idea to spend all your time on the design and end up neglecting what the written statement can do for you


3. Research the theme

Although many themes might seem simple enough, it’s always a good idea to do more research. Learning more about the topic will help you gather inspiration and insights that can help you create a more informed and compelling design.


Take the time to do some extra reading; this will help greatly in the brainstorming process, instead of only going off what you already know about the topic.


4. Ask for feedback

Asking for feedback is always important when your work will be seen and judged by multiple people. Ask your mom, your teacher, your friends:

Does this design make sense with the theme?

Is it easy to understand?

How could I improve my written statement?


This is one of the easiest ways to come up with ideas for improvement. Additionally, here’s a comprehensive guide by the leader of the Google Doodle team that you can also check out!


Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research (including research in art and design) then you could consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.



Amelia is a current junior at Harvard College studying art history with a minor in economics. She’s enthusiastic about music, movies, and writing, and is excited to help Lumiere’s students as much as she can!


Image Source: Google logo


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3 Comments


Great article. Any idea when the theme will be announced?

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SciGirls Roar
SciGirls Roar
Dec 25, 2023

What is the theme for 2024?


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