Instagram Put A Lot Of Thought Into Their New App Icon

When you open an app on your mobile phone or tablet, you do so by looking for and gently tapping on its icon. If you use a given app frequently, it can be disorienting to have its icon change. Today Instagram, the super-popular app that you use to browse photos of your friends’ brunches, their cats, and their cats’ brunches, changed their logo and app icon. They took a lot of care to make sure that the design is fresh, but familiar enough that it’s instantly recognizable.

This process took the company’s design team nine months, indicating that they put a lot more thought into it than slapping a word on a blue square and calling it a day, unlike Gap’s 2010 MS Paint job of a logo. Instagram, now owned by Facebook, has been using pretty much the same logo and app icon since 2010, and it had a few problems: other apps’ icons have evolved to be simpler and flatter. More importantly, cameras look different now.

Instagram only runs on phones, yet the old icon evoked a vintage Polaroid camera. The connection between Polaroids — the first time people were able to take pictures and share them instantly — and Instagram is tenuous if you don’t remember what life was like before digital cameras, or, for the youngest users of the app, what life was like before everyone carried around phones with cameras in them.

In this video, posted (where else?) on Instagram’s Instagram, they show the design process.

Today we’re introducing a new look. You’ll see an updated icon and app design for Instagram. Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form. You’ll also see updated icons for our other creative apps: Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse. We’ve made improvements to how the Instagram app looks on the inside as well. The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app. 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. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become. Thank you for giving this community its life and color. You make Instagram a place to discover the wonder in the world. Every photo and video — from the littlest things to the most epic — opens a window for people to broaden their experiences and connect in new ways.

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The white dot on the upper right could be a viewfinder, if you’re old, or it could be the LED flash of a camera phone. The new icon represents all cameras.

Well, if nothing else, the parody Twitter account for the 2010 Gap logo approves, and that’s what really matters for major design changes.

An Exclusive Look At Instagram’s New App Icon [Fast Company Design]