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New Instagram Logo: A Designer’s Thoughts

Instagram released a new logo this week.

Guess what, I don’t hate it.

Earlier this week Instagram launched its updated logo which is probably the biggest rebrand we’ve seen in 2016.

While all the arm-chair quarterbacks unleash their knee-jerk reactions on social media, I’ve always been a bit slow to jump to conclusions. I need more information before making my decision. It’s easy to judge a logo design without considering the hours of research, thought and planning that designers invest into the project. Sometimes I respect the design process more than the execution. I like to the understand the designer’s thoughts and future aspirations of the company before saying yay, or nah.

When rebranding, most companies play it safe by making subtle changes that go relatively unnoticed by the public. But, Instagram did not play it safe. Instagram basically threw away everything we’re used to and left us with a minimalist camera icon knocked out of a flamboyant gradient rainbow. My first reaction was eh, but upon further thought and inspection, I kind of like the new logo – at least he thought process behind it.

But, it’s not a flat design

Flat design is shit hot now, but if Instagram took this route they’d look like every icon you’d find in a quick google image search. I applaud Instagram for having the balls to buck the trend. I have a feeling that a year or two from now everyone will be following suite trying to emulate what Instagram has just done. It’s better being first than to being “me too.” What’s hot right now will not always be the case. If Instagram plans on remaining the social media powerhouse that it is, then they need to plan their future accordingly, even if their logo is different. I’m excited to see what else Instagram has planned for the future.

That rainbow gradient doe

You know, this is a tough one. I avoid using gradients in my designs if I can. But, as designers we run into the issue of diversity and inclusion every day in our work. It’s great that our collective cultural sensitivity continues to move in a positive direction, but sometimes pounding the diversity subject only highlights the fact there’s a problem. There’s only so many ways to portray diversity before a design starts to look like a shitty poster hanging in your company’s human resources department. You know the one, it features an Asian woman, a white guy, a culturally ambiguous person pushing a black dude in a wheelchair, meanwhile everyone who works in the office is white.

So, how do you represent 400 million monthly users into a single icon that displays no bigger than the nail on your pinky? Well, you can’t. Instead, I feel that the melding of colors used in the new Instagram logo represents the larger tapestry of images, videos and stories created by Instagram’s users every day. When I think of the designer’s decisions in this way the gradient makes sense.

After listening to Kevin Systrom, in a post on time.com, where he explains how Instagram displays lives being lived around the world in realtime, the new logo clicked with me. I think the colors that represent sunrise and sunset portrays what Instagram is all about – the living breathing connection of all of us in the form of 1080 x 1080 images.

The user interface

The part I enjoy most of all it the redesigned user interface. I love the clean, white background. I feel that this allows the focal point f the entire app to truly shine – the user’s images. This is no different from the way an art museum places works on a white wall.

Instagram new look

I especially love the perfect cleanliness of this little nugget. Simplicity at its finest. Something about the clean, black lines on the pure white background makes me happy. Probably because I’m a very big fan of minimalist design.

I love the way the redesigned Instagram, Layout, Hyperlapse and Boomerang logos work together as a family unit. I think their visual continuity is far better than the previous version, and makes the entire redesign a success.

 

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A logo isn’t a brand

I run into so many situations where people get so wrapped up in the design of a logo design that they lose sight of the company and its brand. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: A logo doesn’t mean jack shit. A logo is not a brand. Branding is a company’s actions, what it does, and its culture. A brand is the feeling  of value, real or perceived, that a company, product, or service leaves its customers after every interaction. Your logo could be a pile of shit, but if you’re doing great things your brand will be great, and at the same time a perfect logo can’t save a business that sucks.

At the end of the day Instagram is more than the logo that appears on the screen of your iPhone. Instagram is one of the most popular social platforms at the moment. How the developers and designers are able keep their spot as one of the top apps is the trick. I don’t know about you, but I’m a heavy Instagram user – I check that thing like, two dozen times a day. I’m sure if you aren’t already used to the new logo by now, you will be in a few days.

What do you think of the new Instagram logo?

 

Talk soon!

 

 

//steve

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