The new Google Material icons could use some work

Google’s Material Icon set is somewhere I point people all the time. They’re clean, clear and consistent. Their recent update however, gives me pause.

I make icons on the side. I’ve gone (and continue to go) through the growing pains of learning to keep sets consistent, and I’ve become much better at it. Hell, I’m going back and re-doing some of my first icons because I can’t stand to have them in there as they are. As such, I feel like I can give a pretty valid critique of the new additions.

It’s an important thing for Google to get these right. People use them in their designs, these icons spread into Material interfaces. They should be of the highest quality — and for the most part they are great.

Here are a few of my gripes:

Inconsistent Arrows

Backup and Unarchive should be using the same style of arrow.

Update looks cramped, because that arrow head is too big. Pity they haven’t established a smaller down-right arrow head somewhere in the first version…

Crop Rotate..Why introduce a new style of arrowhead to such a clean set? This arrowhead is only used for this single icon. Not worth it.


On the left, an icon from the previous version of the set. Look at that chunky spacing between device+broadcast lines. Clean and clear.

Middle/Right — too close to the other elements of the icon. When scaled down smaller than this, these outlines are going to look terrible.

Different styles of similar elements

Not only does Network Check have poor outlines, but it’s using a different marker style to Slow Motion Video. One is rounded, one is sharp.

Do I even need to point out that Slow Motion Video’s marker is off center? Same goes for Copyright too.


I’m getting a migrane.

Can we get some consistency please? These could all be from unrelated sets.

Unclear icons

Stop Screen Share isn’t very clear unless you’re toggling it. Which I imagine you would be, but this could be much cleaner.

Re-use of elements across unrelated icons

Nothing to do with eachother, yet they look almost identical. (Not to mention, without the text, I’d have no idea what they mean). Which is probably more forgivable than these, which are likely to be used in the same interface & cause confusion:

(oh, and this is another stroke weight)

Step up your game, Google.

Material is incredible, you set the bar high. These don’t clear it.