Instagram's New Icon

11 May 2016

Instagram Updated Their Icon, App Theme, and Corporate Branding Today

Great! It was well overdue.

Catch is? Most people don’t like it. But, unlike Uber’s drastic redesign just the other day, the change here is only aesthetic. The icon is still a glyph of a camera. Excluding the discrepancy in corner radius between the edge of the icon and the line of the camera, this update is heading in the right direction. Though, don’t be confused by it being called a “flatter” icon design, the colours of the gradient don’t match the old rainbow; this is a total rebranding.

The great thing here is Instagram has room to change and grow now. The old skeuomorphic design was limited in every direction, it needed a massive overhaul before they could commence incremental changes. Sure I have concerns with the direction, namely how attention-grabbing it is compared to the old icon. That’s not necessarily great app icon design, it is very loud. Good app icon design is also being a good home screen citizen. Further, the “Add Photo” button in the app doesn’t appear different from the other tabs. Thus, it doesn’t look like it would behave differently. That is a regression in overall usability, but a small change here can fix this.

Overall, it’s a polarising direction Instagram has gone. I have some issues with the design, but that is eclipsed by relief that the team is progressing. For the last three years the Instagram product has been stale. This might not quite be the right direction, but at least it’s better than no direction at all.

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