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The thought process behind the minor changes to the Chrome browser icon

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It was in February when we told you that Google would change the icon for the Chrome browser. The changes proposed at the time include eliminating the shadows between the colors. This had the effect of removing the 3D effect that made the red-colored area look like it was “floating” over the yellow-colored part of the Chrome icon.

The Googlers behind the Chrome icon redesign tell you what they’ve done

Google today printed the results of an interview with user experience interaction designer Elvin Hu and visual designer Thomas Messenger discussing the origins of the Chrome icon and giving more details about what it should originally be (a soccer ball?) and what it represents.

Messenger said the original design would be a rocket ship with a red lightning bolt. This was created to show how quickly Chrome can get users from website to website. However, the rocketship design was scrapped, and Messenger explained that “… our team eventually decided to move away from a literal rocketship and come to a design that looked approachable, clickable and still captured the spirit of Google. “

The recent update was necessary, Hu said, because eight years had passed since the last icon change and the Chrome team wanted to give Chrome “a refreshed and modern look to show how Chrome has evolved as a product. We also noticed that it visual design of modern operating systems became more stylistically diverse, so it was important for the Chrome icon to feel more customizable, native and fresh no matter what device you were using.”
Hu added: “We simplified the main brand icon by removing the shadows, refining the proportions and brightening the colors to align with Google’s current brand design. We also found that placing certain shades of green and red side by side caused an unpleasant “glow” between the two colors, so we introduced a very subtle gradient in the main icon to make the icon easier on the eyes compared to using flat colors.”

Google stress-tested the color changes of the Chrome icon to make sure it wouldn’t disappear among other icons

While the changes made to the Chrome icon by Google might not be noticeable to the average user, Messenger noted that Google was considering a more complex change to the Chrome icon. “In the exploratory phase we tried all kinds of ideas; softening corners, different geometries, whether or not to separate the colors with white. We also tried options that were further away from the general shape we’ve been using for the past 12 years. But we knew how well the four Google colors and circular composition are recognized, so we decided not to deviate too much from that.”

The process was “fun” according to Hu, and he noted that the brainstorming sessions led to multiple opportunities for a new Chrome icon. Google has stress tested many of the colors to make sure any changes wouldn’t cause the Chrome icon to be lost. The change also made it easier to view the icon, even if it was small.

The Chrome browser is the default browser on many Android phones (this writer prefers the Samsung Internet browser on his Pixel 6 Pro and the Opera browser on iOS). It can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Chrome comes with Google Search and Google Translate built in. Being the default browser on Android, many with Android devices never bother to use other options. Therefore, the app has been installed more than 10 billion times according to the data in the Google Play Store.

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