Instagram has a new logo.

…And I don’t like it.

I am not alone either, since the change went live last Wednesday there has been a very strong reaction to the new logo. From the considered rejection — “Instagram overthought and properly oversimplified its logo. All character lost” [Vlad Savov], to the outright overwhelmed, “Instagram changed their logo!!!! THIS MATTERS!!! IT MATTERS A LOT AND IT’S HORRIBLE!!!” [Philip DeFranco]

Don’t get me wrong, I am not hugely offended by the update. I doubt that the colourful digital little square will have any effect on my usage of the app. However I believe that if Instagram was launching now, with this logo, it would have a problem standing out from the crowd.

The quirky, ironic camera icon set Instagram apart from the over-considered modern and minimalist designs currently saturating the marketplace. The old icon simply conveyed what Instagram was and what it did: it took pictures and had filters to make the pictures look old fashioned. It played on the users sense of nostalgia, and was ultimately one of the simplest and most recognisable logos on the market.

Ironically Instagram said they aimed for simplicity in the update. In a blog post, the company said:

“Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form.”

This is true; they have kept elements of the old logo and weaved it into the update. It is also true that the update helps Instagram to ‘fit the community’ of apps, as Instagram wanted to demonstrate. However I can’t help but feel the update falls flat. The nostalgic look and feel made the old logo individual and by pulling it apart Instagram have stripped the magic of it. The result: it is completely generic.

Of course, there is always going to be a reaction from loyal consumers when a brand changes their image. People naturally resist change and particularly when using the brand every day, it is normal to grow emotionally attached to it. I think there is a learning to be found in the Instagram change: brands should NOT feel it is necessary to adapt themselves to suit popular trends. Simplicity can make you stand out from the crowd and strengthen consumer brand loyalty.

Natalie Aylward

18.05.16