Yes, we all have seen it! Instagram has recently launched a new visual identity. They have changed their app’s interface, made it more ‘simplified’ as they describe it, or if you ask me, they made it just much ‘whiter’.
But what created most of the hype about Instagram’s new look and feel, was an entirely different, unexpected, and very poor design for Instagram’s app icon.
But if you do a little research and read users’ comments and reactions under the mentioned posts, you’ll notice a totally different narration than what they officially try to communicate.
Some say that people don’t like changes. They get used to things and tend to stick to the way things are. This might be the case for some of the negative reactions about Instagram’s new look and feel; but there are many design experts who have clear reasons to explain why this was a bad design decision.
Well, the original icon had a skeuomorphic style, which is generally considered to be not good when used in symbols, logos, and icons. It’s true; and these days, it’s a particularly popular design trend as well. You may have heard the general term “flat design” used to describe the relatively recent interfaces which have a very simplistic look and feel with minimal amount of details.
One of the major things that Instagram’s design team has done is converting that old skeuomorphic design of their app icon, to a very simplified and abstract glyph shape, which still can be recognized as a camera. So far so good, and honestly the glyph does have a decent graphical appearance. However, what makes it very disappointing is their choice of using that gradient fill with so many variations of colors, which are not necessarily that appealing together.
Practically, gradients are very hard to handle and reproduce, especially in printing, and in grayscale or black & white versions of logos and signs. Therefore, gradients are almost always avoided by professional logo designers. But the color combination and these practical issues are not the main problems with their choice of gradient; as Instagram lives majorly on colorful high-end screens, rather than papers and packages. Nevertheless, the main problems is that they have simply taken away the entire visual identity of the well known and recognizable brand.
It seems that their design team have been aware of the fact because this is what Instagram mentions briefly about their change in the App Store: