Google announced a new icon for Chrome in February this year, and today it published an official blog post explaining some of the considerations behind the Chrome icon change.
When they launched Chrome in 2008, the goal was to build a browser that was fast and easy to use, and nothing represents speed like a rocket ship, so they designed a version of the rocket icon.
But the Chrome team ultimately decided to ditch the rocket icon in favor of a design that looked approachable and easy to click, but still captured the spirit of Google, the initial version of Chrome.
Thomas went on to say that it had been eight years since the third version of the Chrome icon was introduced in 2014, and Google wanted to give it a refreshed, modern look. During the exploration phase, the designers experimented with various ideas, including softening the edges, different geometric shapes, separating colors in white, and further experimenting with designs that deviated from the overall shape, as you can see in the image below.
After coming up with the general direction, the designers tested the color, gradient and scale options in different environments. For example, the designers were happy with the specific green gradient in the previous icons, but after thorough testing, found that the gradient green blended easily with the default Windows 11 wallpaper (taskbar), so the gradient green was changed out.
In addition, this year’s new icons modify the scale of the blue circle in the middle, and designers asked Google employees with poor eyesight and found that the blue and white parts of the new icons are easier to recognize. The designers also created different versions of the icons for the smaller UI to improve legibility and avoid blurring by aligning pixel boundaries.
The new icons remove shadows, optimize proportions and brighten colors to simplify key brand icons in line with Google’s more modern brand expressions. Looking at the actual installation, the new icons remove the shadows from the design, but still maintain a slight gradient between red, yellow and green. The icon also does not look exactly the same on each platform.
The Windows version will get a more gradient look to fit Microsoft’s new Fluent UI, the Chrome OS version will get a fully solid-colored version to match the other system icons, and the Mac version will have a shaded icon within the existing white rounded square.