If you’re anything like me, you looked down at your iPhone or Android phone last week and noticed a strange new app on your screen.
You think to yourself, “wait a minute, I didn’t download a new app.” You tap the box, curious to find out what it is. You quickly realize it’s not a new app at all…it’s Instagram! The social media platform prides itself in creating what they call a minimalistic, more refined and sleek design. Their rainbow gradient coloured flat design app is certainly a big change from the classic logo.
Twitter and Facebook have been blowing up with commentaries on the logo since the update, with trending hashtags #instagramicon and #instagramupdate. The response has been positive from some, but a majority of angry users have taken to Twitter to voice their concern.
Here are just a few tweets about the redesign:
Behind the scenes on the new Instagram logo pic.twitter.com/WPld3t0rJF
— Cody Sanfilippo (@codysanfilippo) May 11, 2016
I never understand why apps change their entire layout for no apparent reason. If it ain't broke don't fix it! #instagramupdate
— Michael Woods (@MichaelWoods) May 11, 2016
— Charitarth Unagar (@charitunagar) May 12, 2016
Instagram posted on their blog on May 11, that the app redesign was made more simple to put “more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app.”
The almost six-year-old app reached 400 million users this past September and is showing no signs of slowing down. Instagram also released a minute-long promotional video for their re-brand:
Instagram introduced minute-long videos as a new feature for all their users this year on March 29.
Social psychologist, Heidi Halvorson wrote in her blog titled, “Explained: Why We Don’t Like Change,” that people have a bias for things that are around longer, and we believe that longevity means that something is good. In Instagram’s case, we have a natural tendency to think the old logo is better.
When it comes to branding, people notice.
And sometimes companies don’t get the response they were hoping for. If there’s any positive news for Instagram, any press is good press. And right now it seems like everyone is talking about this redesign. Perhaps people don’t like it today, but tomorrow everything could change.
Armin Vit at “Under Consideration” design firm suggests that once 200 million users tap on the icon multiple times a day, they won’t be fuming like they are right now.
“When it comes to ‘brand impressions’ and ‘brand touchpoints’, Instagram (and Facebook and Twitter and, yes, even Uber) have no shortage of opportunities so it will only be a matter of time — three months, probably — before this is known, recognized, and considered as the Instagram app icon. Simply by repetition and usage,” said Vit.
However, some three months ago, Uber also did a redesign. Artistic directors believed the new interface would create a new buzz around Uber’s capabilities and new features.
Three months later, no one really remembers what the old Uber icon looks like (even though yes, it was difficult to locate the first few weeks). Even so, it didn’t quite turn heads like the Instagram redesign is doing.
This may be because of the user repetition for each icon. While Uber users might click the app several times a week, Instagram users are clicking the button five or six, maybe even 10 or more times a day. Vit says that eventually Instagrammers won’t even remember that there was another icon.
Instagram has intentionally created this new look in efforts to keep up with other platforms like Apple, who are making flat design a trend in the graphic design world. Flat design is a philosophy that aims to simplify designs on user interfaces to make it more functional. This may include removing things like shadows, reflections and dimensionality.
Many other companies have followed suit with this strategy.
Though Instagram’s icon seems to be “breaking ground” in the ad world…it’s nothing new. Take Netflix for example:
They got rid of shadows and removed dimensions from their logo. Then there’s Google Chrome:
They took away their 3-D icon, glossy texturing and shadows. Airbnb went through a massive rebrand from their original icon:
They created a simple logo design, removed colour gradient and opted for no border around the text.
While Instagrammers are angry right now, the redesign just may become undetectable in the weeks and months to come. Slowly, the classic icon will become a thing of the past.