Instagram Logo Re-Design: #Win, #Fail, or #Draw?

new instagram logo 5wpr ceo

In case you were unaware, Instagram recently re-designed their logo and app aesthetics. And boy, oh boy, did it make waves.

According to Ian Spalter, Instagram’s Head of Design, “…the Instagram icon and design was beginning to feel…not reflective of the community, and we thought we could make it better.” For better or worse, Instagram went for it.

The new design features a colorful new icon, black and white app layout and more.

The feedback has been, well, negative.

“My eyes cannot un-see the atrocity that is the new Instagram logo” (@AnKuAlGa)

“The new Instagram logo makes me want to stab my eyes out” (@gracey)

“New Instagram logo by Lisa Frank” (@alvarogarciafc)

All jokes aside, the blatant backlash of the new Instagram design demonstrated some key lessons to be learned. Here’s what we can take away from the re-design):

Simplicity Isn’t Always Ideal

Instagram’s new design clearly strived for the appeal of minimalism in today’s society. We have micro-houses, tiny Apple watches, slim TV screens, etc. But, the idea that less is more is not applicable to social media giants.

The reactions of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook users demonstrate the idea of minimalism is just straight up “boring” and “unmemorable.” Oof.

Stick to Your Brand Roots

In order to successfully re-brand, it is important not to stray too far from your roots. With Instagram, their first logo depicted a notoriously vintage, old-timey camera. If Instagram had held onto this idea of turning a past-time (i.e., picture taking) into a new logo, the response may have veered more positively. Trying to replace a vintage camera with a modern, colorful design simply was not a fluid action and the new concept fell short.

In addition to Instagram creating a newer, colorful logo – they de-colorized the look inside the app. This seemed a lack of vision on their end, and honestly felt confusing for consumers.

Don’t Change for the Sake of Changing

Mr. Spalter said it best himself: “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.”

Well said, Spalter, well said.

Although he didn’t follow his own advice, Spalter recognized a great point. In a world where novelty and change are around every corner, the truth is certain brands changing their logo would be suicidal. Imagine if Target decided to change its bulls eye? If Olive Garden decided to…? Oh, wait.

Reinventing your image is a tricky move. It is essential that you change things up at the right time and for the right reasons. Changing for the sake of change is not one of them.

You Can’t Please Everyone

The internet thrives on scrutiny. One bad review of something can go viral in a matter of minutes. This enhances the fact that re-designing a brand or logo is never (I repeat, never) going to impress everyone.

This is okay, though. Your Great Aunt Patsy isn’t exactly going to be offended by the new tie-dye look of an app icon. Take this to heart, and try your best to play toward demographics that align with your company best. Design your look accordingly.

Know When to Listen

So maybe Instagram’s design wasn’t a screaming success. But they did still have some positivity arise from the colorful ashes.

“I am super impressed with all the time & hard work that went into redesigning the new Instagram logo” (@chilltweets)

The truth of the matter is, maybe the new development of their brand didn’t play nicely with everyone. But, Instagram has bigger fish to fry. Every single person who has criticized their new design is undoubtedly still using it. Instagram knows this. The best thing to do is to listen to critique that matters, and move forward with your ideas.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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