Chrome is changing its logo for the first time since 2014, and if you squint hard, you might be able to see what’s different.
Elvin Hu, a Google Chrome designer, provides a first look at the logo’s redesign in a Twitter thread, as well as some of the thinking behind the ever-so-subtle changes.
Instead of using shadows to “raise” the borders between each color of the screen, the red, yellow, and green are simply flat. And, while Hu doesn’t mention it, the blue circle in the middle appears to be larger and staring even deeper into your soul, but that could just be my imagination.
The colors in the logo are more vibrant (due to the design team removing the shadows), but there’s another difference that I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t read Hu’s Twitter thread. According to Google’s design team, “placing certain shades of green and red next to each other created an unpleasant color vibration.” To fix this and make the icon “more accessible,” they decided to use very subtle gradients — that I’m convinced the human eye can’t even see — to prevent any color vibration.
The main Chrome logo (the one you click on from your dock/taskbar to access the web) will also differ depending on the system. On ChromeOS, the logo will be more colorful to match the other system icons, whereas, on macOS, the logo will have a small shadow, giving the impression that it is “popping out” of the dock. Meanwhile, the Windows 10 and 11 versions have a more dramatic gradient to match the rest of the Windows icons. Hu says the new icon will be visible now if you use Chrome Canary (the developer version of Chrome), but it will be available to everyone else in the coming months.
There are also new icons for the Chrome logo’s beta and developer versions, with the most noticeable change being a blueprint-style icon for the beta app on iOS. He also mentions that the design team tried a white line as a border between each color, but this made the overall icon smaller, potentially making it harder to recognize among other Google apps.
From 2008 to the present, the Chrome logo has become increasingly simpler. What began as a gleaming three-dimensional symbol has been reduced to a two-dimensional symbol of modernity.