Google Doodle Fetes John Venn’s 180th Birthday

Not just anyone can say there has been a Google Doodle created in his or her honor.

On August 4, Google honors what would be the 180th birthday of John Venn, the creator of the Venn diagram. A Venn diagram intersects to show all possible logical relations between a defined collection of sets, although Venn dubbed his design “Eulerian Circles.”

Venn was not the first to create a diagram of its sort, but he was the first to formalize its usage and generalize the concept.

The Venn diagram was created in the 1880s and is still used in many fields including:

  • Set theory
  • Probability
  • Logic
  • Statistics
  • Computer Science

What might be the best part about Monday’s Doodle is that it actually functions as a Venn diagram. Users can select a set on the left such as “mammals” and then a set on the right such as “has a shell” and the overlap of the circles in the middle will show a result that shares both characteristics. In this case, an armadillo is displayed (who knew?).


Meet the Doodler: Mike Dutton

The lead designer for the Venn Google Doodle was Mike Dutton. Dutton shared his experience in creating the doodle in a post on Google’s Doodle page.

“Venn diagrams in general are naturally pretty fun. So as far as finding an idea for an interactive doodle, Venn was a no-brainer,” Dutton said in the post. “But finding a way to clearly and correctly communicate how these diagrams actually work was a bit trickier.”


Once the initial concept was developed, Dutton said the team spent a “Friday afternoon on a patio with the sole mission of figuring this out.”

In addition, Dutton said he and his team decided to go with a more childlike approach to the graphics because they wanted to make a design that would appeal to kids and provide an educational element.

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