The New Instagram Update in Logo – Brand Lessons

The New Instagram Update in Logo – Brand Lessons

My phone a few weeks back automatically updated the Instagram app and to my amazement I saw a new app icon on my apps window. Instagram update? I really didn’t bother as such, but still noticed further changes in the outlook within the app. A few days after, I was hinted by an associate who was in a branding class where the rationale for this change was exposed.

That informs the purpose of this post. Whether the icon is ‘meh-ish’ or not, love it or hate it, that we won’t debate here. The Instagram update was applied to its other related apps such as Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse.   See below the transitions in all the Instagram related apps if you’ve not updated yours.

new update on the instagram logo

Instagram apps, their former logos and the new. Photo Credit:

Here is also the new and simpler layout which the app has on the inside:

Instagram update

The new Instagram layout. Credit: Instagram

Question now is Why and How did Instagram come about this new logo?

According to Ian Spalter, Head of Design at Instagram in a post on Medium says a lot of remarkable things,

Brands, logos and products develop deep connections and associations with people, so you don’t just want to change them for the sake of novelty.

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

  • Know what is trending in design

“The original icon’s skeuomorphic style had the benefit of making it feel tangible despite being pixels, and our initial explorations involved trying to modernize it as it was. We started with the basics, removed ornamentation, and flattened the icon. And we arrived at a brighter, flatter option — but was it better? Would we feel the need to do this again in a year?”

If you’ve observed around the web in recent times, flat images have taken over. The age of the shades and depths in design has been overtaken by rather simpler elements.

  • What sticks with your customers or the general public about your brand?

“We turned our focus to figuring out exactly what people loved about the classic icon and how we could carry that over. Anecdotally, we knew that people loved the rainbow and the camera lens was a key visual element. As a part of our process, we also asked people at the company to draw the Instagram icon from memory in 5 seconds. Almost all of them drew the rainbow, lens, and viewfinder.”

Instagram Update

Range of Icons that people sketched in 5 Seconds. Credit:

There is really no point creating a brand image which people cannot easily remember or even sketch. When designing your logo, avoid complexity. Carefully choose your font, colours, icons and shapes.
“With this insight, we decided to translate these elements into a more modern app icon that strikes a balance between recognition and versatility.”

Sticky brands leave strong memory in people. Ensure all your forms of expression on the web has a tone that can be remembered. In branding it is called Archetype. One of the biggest lessons from this Instagram update is ‘Listen to your community!’


Feature photo credit: