Instagram, as you may have noticed, changed its logo the other day, causing no end of freak outs, hot takes and pleas for it to be reverted back to the old one. The reaction is typical and in-line with what happens whenever a popular company changes their logo, as seen through countless previous examples.
I’m always tempted when so many people have an opinion on this kind of move to say something along the lines of “If you’re not a graphic designer with experience in crafting a brand identity, I really don’t want to hear your opinion on this. After all, while the internet is great, the level playing field is once promised to people with expertise to opine on issues important to their industry has largely devolved into a mob of unruly users who rail against every change by the services they use for free.
That’s not quite true, though, and it’s unfair to what has become the marketplace of opinions. These days there are no lack of options for people in terms of what apps or social networks they might use and the competition for them is fierce. It can, in fact, come down to something as seemingly silly as what the icon looks like and how memorable it is or isn’t as it appears on people’s device screens. So it’s natural that they have opinions since if it no longer pops, it might fall out of usage, which has implications for their connections with friends and family.
We can debate the design merits of the new icon – I don’t mind it, get what they were going for in moving past the “old Kodak-like sheen to your pictures” brand identity and appreciate that it’s part of an overall movement to leave skeumorphic design tendencies in the past – but we shouldn’t (and I’m talking to myself here to a great extent) immediately discount the opinions of those who haven’t been in the trenches making decisions like this. All opinions on design components like this, as long as they’re offered constructively with the goal of wanting to help make or keep something better, should be welcome just like they are in other areas. It’s uncomfortable but that’s the only way we keep things interesting.