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That new Google Chrome icon is more interesting than I thought

When Google revealed a 'new' Chrome logo last month, the internet responded with a collective shrug. Like pretty much every new logo released in the last few years, it's simply a flatter version of the previous design. But now that it's finally rolled out, it's a little more interesting than it first seemed. 

Chrome hit the big '100' this week, with the hundredth update for the browser available for download. It's an iterative update, offering a few security and bug fixes. But with it comes the new icon – or should we say icons. (Looking for inspiration? Check out our guide on how to design a logo.) 

Google Chrome logo

The 'new' design was revealed last month (Image credit: Google)

That's right, it turns out there are multiple versions of the new Chrome icon, depending on what browser you're using. While every version has done away with the shadows inside the circular design, there are clear differences between the Windows and macOS designs. The former is entirely flat, whereas the other is in keeping with the rest of macOS's vaguely skeuomorphic aesthetic, with a slightly raised, 3D look.

Chrome icon

The design is completely flat on Windows (Image credit: Google)

Chrome icon

On Mac, it's slightly 3D (Image credit: Google)

While hardly earth-shattering, the inclusion of OS-specific designs does make the design refresh feel a little more creative. In a world of strict brand guidelines and consistency, there's almost something a little playful about the various subtly different designs. (Almost.)

As well as changing the shadowing, Google altered the colours of the new icons. At first glance, you wouldn't notice, but designer Elvin Hu recently explained (opens in new tab) that instead of flat, block colours, the new version incorporates a subtle gradient. This is because the team "found that placing certain shades of green and red next to each other created an unpleasant colour vibration."

Google Chrome logo

Spot the gradient (Image credit: Google)

Last month, the internet found much mirth in its similarity to the previous design. "It took 8 years to make those changes that will go unnoticed to the human eye," one Twitter user commented, while another added (opens in new tab), without a hint of sarcasm, "OMG Google has single handily undisputedly without a shrivel of doubt BROKEN THE INTERNET in its groundbreaking next-generation design – this will be studied for centuries to come as never in HUMAN HISTORY has such a masterful design been created by humankind in its 200,000 years." Fair enough.

But hey, multiple very-slightly-new designs are better than one very-slightly-new design, right? And at least none of them are a total disaster – who can forget Amazon's disastrous new app icon from last year?

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Daniel Piper
Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).