When you think about it, Google Doodles are some of the most-viewed artwork around. The basic formula is simple: Take a significant event for the date in question and spell "Google" in an artistic but (mostly) still recognizable fashion. But Google has a knack for these little Doodles, and people just eat them up.
And there have been some pretty great Doodles in 2011. Of course everyone has a different opinion on which Doodles are the best, just like folks have a difference of opinion on any sort of artwork. That obviously means that this "best of" list is nowhere near objective - these are definitely my opinions (and remember, I'm American!). Having said that, I think that the following list is a fairly comprehensive list of some of the better attempts this year.
So let's get to it (in no particular order):
Google honored the 164th birthday of the great American inventor Thomas Edison. The Doodle was animated, featuring a telegraph machine that types out "G" in morse code as well as a glowing light bulb.
The 183rd birthday of the author Jules Verne was celebrated with an interactive Doodle that allowed users to navigate 20,000 leagues under the sea. You can play around with it in full view HD here.
Charlie Chaplin's birthday got some special treatment, as Google unveiled a short video of a Chaplin-lookalike interacting with a Google logo.
Google honored the 226th birthday of "Birds of America" author John James Audubon with one of the prettier Doodles of the year. It was also one of the most abstract, as much of the lettering is a little tough to make out.
One of my favorite offerings of 2011 was the set of Roger Hargreaves Doodles. The "Mr. Happy" and "Little Miss Sunshine" author received 16 different Doodles, portraying various characters from his beloved children's books. See them all in the video below:
The now famous Les Paul Google Doodle allowed you to not only interact with a guitar, but record your songs as well. This led to numerous YouTube videos of people playing famous songs using the playable Doodle, and it turned out to be a major productivity killer. This Doodle was probably the most popular one of the entire year.
Legendary humorist Mark Twain received a massive Doodle fit for widescreen. The Doodle portrayed a few instances from a famous scene from his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Why do the work when you can trick other into doing it for you?
Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham received one of the most buzzed-about Doodles of the year. The animated Doodle takes us through five famous dances from her career - and is truly a pleasure to watch.
Another abstract Doodle comes from Turkey's National Sovereignty and Children's Day. Toys are aligned to form the subtle resemblance of the famous Google logo.
This Doodle for Jordan Independence Day is just beautiful:
The Freddie Mercury Google Doodle needs no description. Just pure, unadulterated awesome.
Another wonderful interactive Doodle celebrated Gumby creator Art Clokey. The Doodle featured all the favorite characters from The Gumby Show - The first “G” is a block, and the first “O” morphs into Gumby’s nemeses, the Blockheads. The second “O” turns into Prickle, the yellow dinosaur. The second “G” is Goo, a flying blue mermaid. The “L” is Gumby himself and the final “E” is his sidekick Pokey the pony.
A recent Doodle that ran in Switzerland, Austria and Germany honored the 83rd birthday of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. His unmistakeable design is seen in the Doodle, which highlights some of his most famous architectural accomplishments.
What were your favorite Doodles of 2011? I'm sure I overlooked some great ones - so call me on it. Did I make any egregious omissions? Let us know in the comments.[Lead image is the Jim Henson Doodle]