Google changed up its Chrome logo earlier this year, for the first time since 2014. The new Chrome logo has some subtle differences from before, thanks to a lack of shadows, slightly different proportions, and brighter colors. Most Chrome users might not have even noticed its introduction in Chrome 100, but Google had experimented with far more radical designs that didn’t make the cut.
Some of the more striking proposals included completely different shapes for the Chrome logo or separating the colors with white borders. “In the exploratory phase, we tried all kinds of ideas; softening corners, different geometries, whether or not to separate the colors with white,” explains Thomas Messenger, a visual designer at Google. “We also tried options that further departed from the overall shape we’ve been using for the past 12 years.”
One idea would have seen the Chrome logo move to a more burnt orange look (see above), which would look more at home for Mozilla’s Firefox browser. Ultimately, Google played it safe with a subtle redesign that kept the four recognizable colors of the Chrome logo in place. “We knew how well the four Google colors and circular composition are recognized, so we decided not to deviate too much from that,” says Messenger.
Google did test out a variety of color, gradient, and proportion changes in different contexts and eventually created OS-specific customizations. On Windows 10 and Windows 11, the Chrome icon has more of a gradient, while brighter colors are visible on the icon in Chrome OS without gradients. Google even went for a more 3D look in macOS to match the rest of Apple’s operating system.
If you’re wondering whether the Chrome icon from 2014 might make a comeback, Google doesn’t rule it out. “Never say never,” says Elvin Hu, a user experience interaction designer at Google. “We’ve investigated custom app icons, and found that each platform has different levels of support for it. Maybe one day we will bring it back as an option on platforms that support it.”