Instagram new icon

Out with the old – The Instagram Redesign

When it comes to rebrands the response tends to be, by and large, negative. This is especially true for the digital products we use – we feel so personally invested in them because they’re a conduit for sharing our parts of our lives with family, friends and the world at large.

Instagram’s rebrand was no exception to the now familiar hysteria which typically surrounds a rebrand.

There’s a good Medium piece from the design team on the motivations and thoughts behind the re-design of the Instagram icon that’s worth a read:

“the Instagram icon and design was beginning to feel, well… not reflective of the community, and we thought we could make it better.”

Knee jerkisms

Remember the knee jerk reaOnction about Google’s new logo or Facebook’s? No? That’s because through repeated viewing we can see that they work – they refreshed the brand by making the old one seem jaded but initial responses are often based around a preference for familiarity.

Chances are the redesign is part of a wider design system being developed as part of Instagram’s wider product strategy. A logo or an icon can’t be viewed in isolation but should instead be seen in the wider context of its use even when those use cases aren’t immediately apparent to us as users

The Met in New York triggered a similar brand of ire on their recent redesign. This aversion to rebrands is discussed on the excellent “The Observatory” podcast. In it, Michael Bierut argues that even though the designers work on a rebrand for months, considering in great detail the context of where and how it will be seen and used, when it’s posted on a Twitter minus that context the response is by and large negative.

Instagram’s UI changes are also significant – the colour has been bleached from the UI elements placing the photos front and centre an letting the UI retreat into the background  – nobody uses Instagram to marvel at the interface.

Chances are that in 6 months we’ll look back at the skeuomorphic icon and intrusive UI and wonder what the fuss is about. In the case of the icon a lot of us have have been wondering what took them so long.

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