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Artsy side of search: Designers, pop stars create iGoogle themes

New campaign from Mountain View draws attention to iGoogle personalized home pages by introducing "themes" designed by artists and pop culture figures.

This is Google's video introducing its work with artists worldwide to create
beautiful, funky, and visually enticing iGoogle pages for the masses.
(Credit: Google)

If you thought Google's capacity for high design didn't go far beyond its primary-colored logo, think again.

The iGoogle personalized home pages have been graced with new flair thanks to the introduction of iGoogle Artist Themes, a way for Google members to do digital interior decoration.

It may not help Mountain View on its quest to organize all the world's information, but it can make some of that information look a little prettier. Microsoft did something like this with Zune Originals, trendy designs for its music players.

"We've collaborated with almost 70 artists from around the world," an e-mail announcement from Google reads, "inviting them to use iGoogle as their canvas by creating unique, dynamic themes for our users to personalize their pages." The imagery in each theme changes continually.

Artist Jeff Koons' 'Google doodle' Google

This is no small-time operation. Google has pulled out the stops, with contributions from artists and architects like Jeff Koons, Michael Graves, Philippe Starck, and Yann Arthus-Betrand, as well as fashion luminaries like Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta, Marc Ecko, and Dolce & Gabbana. A few music artists like Coldplay, the John Butler Trio, and the Beastie Boys also are present, as are pop-culture figures like BoingBoing's Mark Frauenfelder, Jackie Chan, The Wiggles, and...Lance Armstrong.

To celebrate, Google will host an art-themed party Thursday night at a nightclub in New York's Meatpacking District, the upscale shopping and nightclub enclave that lies conveniently adjacent to the company's sprawling Gotham satellite office.

In addition, the logo has been tweaked by Koons for the day.