Chrome is changing its logo for the first time since 2014, and if you look really hard you might be able to see what’s different. Elvin Hu, a designer for Google Chrome, offers a first look at the logo redesign in a thread on Twitter, as well as some of the ideas behind the ever-so-subtle changes.
Some of you may have noticed a new icon in Chrome’s Canary update today. Yes! we’re renewing Chrome’s brand icons for the first time in 8 years. The new icons will appear on all your devices soon. pic.twitter.com/aaaRRzFLI1
— Elvin (@elvin_not_11) February 4, 2022
Instead of including shadows on the edges between each color, essentially “lifting them” off the screen, red, yellow, and green are just flat. And while not mentioned by Hu, the blue circle in the center seems bigger and stares even more into your soul, but maybe that’s just my imagination.
The colors in the logo look more vibrant (probably because the design team removed the shadows), but there’s another change I would never have noticed if I hadn’t read Hu’s Twitter thread. Apparently, Google’s design team found that “the juxtaposition of certain shades of green and red caused an unpleasant color flicker.” To fix this and make the icon more ‘accessible’, they decided to use very subtle gradients – which I’m convinced the human eye can’t even see – to avoid color vibrations.
The main Chrome logo (the logo you click from your dock/taskbar to access the web) doesn’t look the same on all systems either. On ChromeOS, the logo looks more colorful to complement the other system icons, while on macOS, the logo has a small shadow, making it look like it’s “popping” out of the dock. Meanwhile, the version of Windows 10 and 11 has a more dramatic gradient so that it fits in with the style of other Windows icons. Hu says you’ll see the new icon now if you’re using Chrome Canary (the developer version of Chrome), but it’ll roll out to everyone else in the coming months.
There are also some new icons for the beta and developer versions of the Chrome logo, with the most dramatic change being a blueprint-like icon for the beta app on iOS. Hu also notes that the design team experimented with a white line that serves as a border between each color, but found that this made the overall icon smaller, potentially making it harder to spot among other Google apps.
From 2008 until now, the Chrome logo has gradually become simpler. What started as a glossy, three-dimensional emblem has been compressed into a 2D symbol of modernity. Maybe one day I’ll get my wish and see that almost tangible 2008 Chrome logo adorning my desktop again. But not today.