A recent convo* about the sepia drawings above (which appeared as Google's logo of the day a while back):
Paddy Johnson: The animations themselves would be ugly in any media though.
Duncan Alexander: I'm really not seeing what was so "ugly" about the animation. Is it because of the antialiasing, or the color and line?
Tom Moody: The Martha Graham drawings are ugly because of the sepia fake ink wash and middlebrow idea of modern dance. The anti-aliasing is the final layer of unnecessary pseudo-refinement.
Q. What is this anti-aliasing you're always going on about?
A. Originally a technique to make fonts easier on the eyes, web companies now apply it indiscriminately to every visual element, even simple graphics that are supposed to be in sharp focus. The soft bleed of ink lines on paper is often imitated with simplistic edge-smoothing filters, but why? Ink is ink and pixels are pixels. At some point makers of synthesizers stopped trying to imitate bassoons and just let the synth sound like...a synth. Google may be an advanced tech company but its aesthetic ideas are strictly from high school.
*redacted for brevity