Donegal student’s winning Doodle 4 Google graces homepage

16 Apr 2013

Donegal student Annie Coyle, after winning the 2013 Doodle 4 Google competition

Annie Coyle, a 15-year-old student from Letterkenny, Co Donegal, has been announced as the winner of this year’s Doodle 4 Google competition for her doodle that has been inspired by her love of all things aeronautical. Her doodle features on the Google Ireland homepage today as a stylised Google logo.

Coyle, a student at St Bernadette’s Special School in Letterkenny, was presented with the overall prize by Google doodler Kevin Laughlin at Google’s Dublin HQ yesterday afternoon.

Laughlin, who works at Google’s offices in Mountain View, California, is one of the creative forces behind Google’s doodles, including the recent interactive doodle inspired by the late Douglas Adams, the creator of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy multimedia series.

Laughlin presented Coyle with a Chromebook and a €5,000 scholarship to go towards her further studies. Coyle’s school will also get a €10,000 technology grant from Google.

For this year’s Doodle 4 Goodle competition, students were tasked with creating a doodle based on their favourite inventions. Coyle’s winning doodle was inspired by airplanes, with her doodle transforming the Google logo into a jumbo jet.

Donegal student Annie Coyle's winning Google doodle in the 2013 Doodle 4 Google competition

Donegal student Annie Coyle’s winning doodle, which will appear on the Google Ireland homepage tomorrow

Speaking following her win yesterday evening, Coyle said she created her doodle quite quickly. She said she was excited about the doodle being featured on the Google Ireland homepage today.

A judging panel chose the 75 finalists whose doodles then went forward to the online public vote in February. From the five group winners, Laughlin selected Coyle as the overall winner.

“It was difficult to pick the overall winner but in the end I found Annie’s simplicity and restraint delightful and compelling,” he said. “Annie’s doodle stood out to me because it was really minimalist. In general a lot of kids tend to add things to their drawings, which is a good thing, but what I liked about Annie’s is that it was just really simple and sweet. I love airplanes and here is an airplane,” he said.

The four other group winners in the competition included Chafia Flynn from Our Lady of Lourdes National School in Bunclody, Co Wexford, and Aaron Devoy from Scoil Carmel in Firhouse, Co Dublin. Lochlainn Kelly from Scoil Íosagain in Buncrana, Co Donegal, and Patrick Moynihan from St Clement’s College in Co Limerick also won prizes for their doodles.

How do you create a Google Doodle?

As for Laughlin, he has worked on doodles that have appeared on Google’s homepage in recent times, including the one celebrating the inventor Frank Zamboni and his ice-resurfacing machine, the Zamboni.

“A recent doodle was for the 366th birthday of the German entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian,” explained Laughlin.

He said that while the doodlers create one doodle per person, they are some doodles where people collaborate together.

“For the 61st birthday of Douglas Adams I was actually collaborating with another artist to create the animations for that doodle. For the Zamboni doodle I was working not only with other artists but also some programmers, whereas the one for Maria Merian was a solo effort.”

Laughlin said the time it takes to create a doodle can vary anywhere from a few days, to a week to even six months.

“Obviously, the more interactive or animated doodles can take a month while more simple ones can take a week to two weeks,” he added.

Yesterday afternoon Laughlin also gave a doodle workshop to some of the older Doodle 4 Google finalists in Dublin. “I want to congratulate everybody because they were all awesome drawings and it was really great to be here,” he said.

Laughlin is off to Turkey tomorrow to announce the winners of the Doodle 4 Google competition there.

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Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic