For the first time in eight years, Google is changing the icon for Chrome, its flagship web browser. The differences, thankfully, are minor.
“Some of you might have noticed a new icon in Chrome’s Canary update today,” Chrome designer Elvin Hu tweeted. “Yes! we’re refreshing Chrome’s brand icons for the first time in 8 years. The new icons will start to appear across your devices soon.”
Most people probably wouldn’t even notice the change. But there are, in fact, several differences. Hu says that his team simplified the main brand icon by removing the shadows, refining the proportions, and brightening the colors. This, he says, aligns the icon with Google’s latest and modern “brand expression.”
The most obvious difference, I guess, is the larger blue circle at the center. Other changes are subtler. Google found, for example, “that placing certain shades of green and red next to each other created an unpleasant color vibration, so [it] introduced a very subtle gradient to the main icon to mitigate that, making the icon more accessible.”
Hu says that the icon was also customized for each platform. On Windows 10 and 11, the icon will have “an obviously gradated look,” letting it look more natural on those systems. On Chrome OS, the team used brighter colors without gradients to match that system. And on macOS, it has a 3D look.
“You might ask, ‘why bother with something so subtle?’” Hue continues. “We tailor Chrome’s experience to each OS, with features like Native Window Occlusion on Windows, day-one M1 support on macOS, Widgets on iOS/Android, and Material You on Android. We want our brand to convey the same level of care.”