Google's New Chrome Icon: Less Simon-Like, More Hurricane-Like; Easier To Draw

For a few weeks now, anyone using Chromium (the open source browser on which Google Chrome is built) will have noticed something: a completely new icon. It’s simpler and cleaner, and overall looks a little bit less like a Simon. And more recently, users of the developer builds of Chrome will have likely noticed the new icon as well. And soon everyone will see it, Google explains in a post today.

A fresh take on an icon” outlines why Google felt they had to change the Chrome icon. From a philosophical perspective, a “simpler icon embodies the Chrome spirit — to make the web quicker, lighter, and easier for all.” But the real reason for the new icon is something simpler still: they wanted to make it easier for people to recreate.

The key blurb:

Even before this effort, the new version of the Chrome logo was already being conjured up by Googlers and Chrome fans. Numerous creative reinterpretations have organically moved the icon towards simplicity and abstraction, so it felt right to make the icon structure cleaner and easier to recreate.

As is the norm at Google, they also say the process for designing the new icon was a “group effort”. “Collectively, we explored many variations, tried the icon in several different contexts, and refined the details as we moved along. It was important to maintain consistency across all media, so we kept print, web, and other possible formats in mind.” Obviously, this collective design process is pretty much the opposite of rival Apple’s approach. But sometimes that means putting out icons like this.

I will say that I like the new Chrome icon a bit better than the old one. Because it’s less 3D, it does look less clickable and as such, less like the aforementioned Simon game. It also looks more like a spinning wheel, giving the illusion of speed. At the same time, it looks a bit like a hurricane symbol — and they also removed the shine that seemed to give it a chrome finish.

Google says to look for the new icon on the beta and stable builds of Chrome in the coming weeks.