Instagram redesign reactions from Gavin Lucas, Kirsty Carter and the internet

12 May 2016

Instagram: family of icons

Yesterday Instagram launched its new icon and the internet went crazy. It’s Nice That had the UK exclusive interview with Instagram’s head of design, Ian Spalter, where he said the new simplified icon better conveyed the diverse mixture of content now on the platform, and explained how the gradient “looks like the sunset picture that everyone’s trying to take.”

Being such a universal outlet, the app’s redesign was bound to divide opinion. Here’s a cross-section of yesterday’s reaction to the news:

Design writer and author Gavin Lucas told It’s Nice That: “I like the simplicity and reductive approach of the new logo/s — how the main one still reminds you of the old one just enough for it to make sense — but there is a part of me that thinks it’s a bit boring and lacks the charm of the original logo. I like that the original logo looks like an analogue camera – because that is, of course, part of the joy of Instagram – adding filter effects and frames to make digital photography more approachable, more analogue, more like real celluloid photography somehow and less… er, digital. And the old logo communicated all of that very effectively.

“My feeling is that the new logo/s could almost be for anything – new suite of accounting software packages, the buttons on a wireless speaker system, the icons representing different cook functions of an oven… They remind me a little of the universal symbols you find on garment labels that let you know if tumble drying is the right or wrong thing to do. They’re almost so reduced that there’s little left to actually be proprietary.

“The truth is, as long as Instagram remains in the same spot on my iPhone’s home screen my finger won’t have any difficulty continuing to find it, no matter what the logo looks like.”

Kirsty Carter, founder of A Practice for Everyday Life, also gave us her take on the redesign: "It is more modern, up to date and a real improvement than before (though a pretty easy brief, it was so bad). My only criticism, is it’s hard to understand the new icon is a camera, they are relying on everyone remembering the icon before to understand what this pared-back icon is.”

Chris Myers, creative director at LOVE, responded: “Instagram were definitely ready for a visual identity refresh. The previous pseudo-Polaroid icon worked when they were primarily known as a retro filter app. The new icon is more representative of a contemporary brand/app at the centre of so many of our lives. I find the design quite generic but it does stand out on my iPhone home screen.”

Tobias van Schneider, former design lead at Spotify, tweeted a video reaction, in which he says: “People only like change in theory. Instagram could’ve changed it to anything and people would hate it. I personally really love all the refinements on the UI. I like the glyph, the execution is cute, friendly, the geometric shapes are balanced. The only critique is that it’s lost the grungy, tangible feeling of the old logo, and it doesn’t really go with the Instagram script.”

Editorial designer James Kelleher used a tweet sentiment analysis tool by North Carolina State University to create this visualisation of people’s reactions to the icon.


James Kelleher

Finally, here are some reactions from Twitter:

Share Article

Further Info

About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.