May 13, 2016

How rebranding can go terribly wrong.

This week Instagram announced their new-look that consists of a new logo and UI design in an attempt to modernize the previous iconic retro logo and the responses were mixed. There is a point where a redesign can go too far, and this new redesign shows exactly how that is done. Instagram’s new logo may go down as one of biggest design fails of 2016.

So here is the big reveal:

CiLsSfcWMAUraIFLet’s take a look at the previous logo, the one your all familiar with. The famous skeuomorphic icon, a visual representation of a physical camera which was loved universally, was unique and retro. The faux leather-clad camera app differentiated itself against all of the now super trendy flat app icons are phones are crammed with. As a designer, I understand the time, thought and effort that was applied to make such a detailed and unique image, the new logo… well, this Gif that’s currently circling twitter explains my thoughts on the new logos minimal effort and simplistic design.


Instagram has ditched its retro logo in favour of a bright, multi-coloured design which was announced with a super cute 54-second video of its apparent design process, check it out here.

Instagram states “The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more – a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day.” Sure, it has been almost six years since Instagram was launched, but this enormous jump between retro and modern has lost the connection to history and soul of Instagram. The only similarity between these logos is the camera lens shape and the rainbow, which doesn’t even carry though the same colors, where did the green go?

Instagram also states that the bright design is reflective of the Instagram community that brings life and color to the app. Well if that wasn’t the case before the redesign, it most definitely is now thanks to the removal of color in the new UI design. Although the icons are now sleeker and stylish, the new layout consists of grey, black, white and now a dulled down red notifications tab, where is the fun colorful brightness in that?

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Its unfortunate that this new design has evolved too quickly, jumping from two very different styles and now being lost in the sea of thousands of similar designs of tech apps. It has lost its sense of uniqueness and history as the camera image has been transformed into an abstract rainbow glyph. Some love it, but for most this new modern and flat design was too much too soon.

On a positive note, Instagram has followed through with their branding by applying it to all of its apps, Boomerang, Layout, and Hyperlapse, keeping consistency. The new minimalistic UI allows focus to be your feed without changing the way you navigate through the app, keeping its functionality and familiarity of is UX design. The bright flat design may not be familiar, but now super trendy, following the popular design trend of 2015. Designer Cole Rise was incredibly excited to release the new branding and states “Change can be hard,” he said. “But I think people will love the new stuff once they get used to it on their home screens.”

Although this new design isn’t what we all expected, Instagram executed its rebranding quite well. This is how:

  1. They factored in their audience,
  2. They updated everything,
  3. They did it for you customers and only for their customers,
  4. Keep it fresh,
  5. Stayed in touch with their core details,
  6. Didn’t dither on the details,
  7. Adapted to their growing market,
  8. Launched with enthusiasm.

Our senior designer, Stacey Morrison, previously shed light upon the biggest rebrands of 2015, take a look at the responses that sparked by these changes here.

If this new design is bringing a tear (or blinding) your eye then have a look at the booming social media posts, I’m sure they will give you a giggle.


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