Here we go again.
Another popular app updates its logo and fans almost unanimously reject it. Or as the genteel and somewhat pretentious The New York Times described it, they “freaked out.”
Instagram, which until last week had one of the most recognizable and unique icons on millions of mobile phones around the world launched a brand new logo along with a redesign of the application itself.
And all those cute camera icons disappeared almost overnight as users updated their apps.
No more cute stylized polaroid camera…
Now we get…
Which sort of has the camera “essence” but very little of the personality.
What’s that background? A sun flare? A sun set? An accident at the Skittles factory?
Let’s get this clear right now. The new Instagram logo isn’t stinky.
That doesn’t mean it’s excellent design. It’s not.
Instagram has traded personality in its logo for simplicity. And now it feels a lot like all those other apps out there. It no longer stands out. Yet another example of the almost-past-its-use-by-date “flat” trend among app logos.
This logo change is a terrific demonstration of the ownership that a brand’s fans feel for its products. Companies can change things anytime they like. But the fans don’t have to like it. Or even go along with it.
The company is right when they say the new logo is far easier to use in different applications. We can think of lots of design nightmares using the old logo that the new one solves.
But a small part of us still hates it simply because it’s not the old logo.
We liked that logo.
Which doesn’t exactly make it a bad logo.
It just makes it a different logo.
Here’s the reality. Logos don’t actually matter that much.
What matters is the application itself. Will people still use it to edit and post photos? Is it still easy to use? How habit forming is it? How often will users open it?
And our sense is that Instagram cracked that code a long time ago.
Which means exactly none of the people who hate the logo today will stop using the app.
A few years from now users won’t even recognize the old logo.
So, no, this logo doesn’t stink. It just doesn’t make us care.