The Evolution of Instagram's Logo

How and why did we get here? It's time for a look back.

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The Evolution of Instagram's Logo
Then and now. Oh, the things we've lost.

Yes, we know, everybody hates the new Instagram logo with a vengeance. "Woe is me" and "Change it back" seems to be the repeated rhetoric resounding in the spheres. Adweek called it a travesty, GQ magazine called it a change no one wanted, while we're just going for the 'well, it's changed guys, let's just see how far we've come' approach. Remember, this wasn't just a design choice on a whim. This took the team nine months to perfect and only five minutes for us to rain all over their parade. So let's keep an open mind eh? 

How far we've come 

Instagram's CEO, Kevin Systrom, was responsible for the earliest design, the Polaroid-wannabe on the far left, before it was redesigned by Cole Rise, an early beta tester of the app. Systrom liked this design Cole had made based on a 1940's Bell & Howell camera and requested that Cole modify that design before sending it to Apple. Six months of refinement later by Systrom and his team and we have the middle icon, the one that would be synonymous with hashtags like #selfie, #like4like, #nofilter, and #beach. 

One Visual Identity 

Image: @iansplater

Based on the visuals above it's painfully obvious that the Instagram ecosystem was a little disjointed. One skeuomorphic successful icon against three flat supporting icons, i.e., Hyperlapse, Layout, and Boomerang. The update brings them together and presents a strong front which might influence users to download these four separate apps together and use them interchangeably like you would Adobe or Microsoft Office's produts. 

A Rationale for This Waking Nightmare

In a post on Medium, Ian, the head of design at Instagram, tries his darndest to explain the reasoning behind this madness and explains that the rainbow, the viewfinder, and the lens were the strongest visual elements from the original icon. The team kept these elements while trying to invent a flexible, scalable glyph, the result of which is what we have now. Oh, and also, everything in the app is now black and white because your pictures are supposed to stand out and what not. Exactly "a-okay"is what we're calling this change. Yes indeedie-yo. 

What Now?

Take that picture of your mug or that mug of coffee and post it on Instagram as usual because where else are you going to get your likes and validation? Go read Who Moved My Cheese and deal with it. Life goes on. Those pictures of you at the beach or on holiday aren't going to make any of your friends jelly sitting in your phone. Go on. Insta that post and hashtag the crap out of it. #likes4likes.

"Good night, sweet prince."

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