I woke up, grabbed my phone and keyed in my password like I do every morning. But this time, something was different. A pink blur resided in the coveted 120 X 120 pixel space where my Instagram icon had been. With my gaze fixed on the phone I slid on my eyeglasses and in a moment of sobering clarity I could see clearly that Instagram had destroyed their logo.
The iconic image that had become synonymous with one of the world’s most influential social networks is no more and in its place there is a flat, dumbed-down graphic which lacks creativity. It resembles every other run-of-the-mill app icon and quite frankly, it’s a fix for branding that was never broken. So why did they do it?
“When Instagram was founded over five years ago, it was a place for you to easily edit and share photos. Over those five years, things have changed. Instagram is now a diverse community of interests where people are sharing more photos and videos than ever before, using new tools like Boomerang and Layout, and connecting in new ways through Explore.
Last year, a group of us started digging into how we could support this evolution while staying true to Instagram’s heritage and spirit. We wanted to create a look that would represent the community’s full range of expression – past, present, and future.”
In a nutshell, they did it to stay current with hopes of maintaining respect for the past. Sadly, they’ve failed. I visited Facebook’s MENA office (Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012) where they have a coveted Instagram photo area decked out with props, seating and a Polaroid camera. Nobody comes to that office without seeing this space and most contribute to the feature wall covered in Polaroid photos. I can’t speak for everyone else but I struck a pose and smiled at that nostalgic camera because it was fun and it was on brand.
The old logo was the perfect juxtaposition. It represented a platform birthed by new age technology with a respectful nod to cameras of the past. And, that Polaroid icon was more than a lighthearted throwback. Originally, Instagram confined photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid SX-70 images, as opposed to the 4:3 aspect ratio typically used by cameras on mobile devices. In 2015, when version 7.5 was released, the platform began allowing users to post photos captured in any aspect ratio. Perhaps that was the beginning of the end; a step forward for the platform itself and the start of a symbolic death. Change is good but some things should remain the same. I am a consumer and lover of technology – a proponent for the new and improved – but today, I just want that old thing back.