We were founded with the desire to cultivate a place that nurtures collaboration, experimentation and dialogue. Yesterday, Instagram introduced an update to its interface and app icons, so naturally everyone in the studio weighed in. Nostalgia, simple design, plain, ease of use, simplified architecture, strategic thinking, change, flat, and fun. We certainly have our opinions.

Executive Creative Director

While I love the nostalgic nod to Polaroid cameras, the refresh is good evolution of the branding away from skeuomorphism. The unified icon system works well across Instagram and sister apps.

Senior Designer

The new Icon lacks any visual cues from the original branding. What made the old icon successful is that it evoked a feeling of nostalgia which is missing in the new corporate, flat looking icon. Although I’m a huge fan of minimalist design, this icon still leaves a lot to be desired.

Senior Copywriter

I hate change, but I do like the new icon. It’s a huge evolutionary design jump. Love the simplicity and bare feeling it evokes. I never knew Instagram’s sister apps were owned by Instagram. Ah, the power of branding. I find the new interface to be very plain, but much like a museum, it helps me focus more on the art and individual posts.


It was definitely time for a refresh, but my initial reaction is that this look is lackluster. While I appreciate the evolution and simplicity, the new approach falls flat on individuality. The sister app icons are disappointing. Visually, they don’t have enough weight to be standalone apps. Which really makes me wish they were functions of Instagram rather than separate apps that can be integrated. I like black & white interface. Less is more. Now it’s time to strip out the Instagram wordmark.

Director, Operations

It’s my belief that people were always more open to having their picture taken with Polaroid because they got immediate photo approval. The end of that and the start of Instagram are seamless in my memory because of that instant gratification, even if it was a year between the two events. I loved the old icon because it had colors and more importantly, texture and depth, which I don’t see (or recall ever seeing) on any app. The rainbow was certainly nostalgic of the 70’s and 80’s and pre-digital, as well. I do appreciate that the new icon continues to embrace color as my phone is a sea of monotone, flat apps where I hastily select the wrong one based on the color scheme daily.

Unnamed Eclectic Industry Maven

For me the Instagram icon was special because it was different and unique compared to the flat, slick icons proliferating the Internet. Yes, it was nostalgic, but it never read ‘dated’ to me. The logo referenced the evolution and process of photography as an art form. It had gravitas. This rebrand-sister logos included-in my view is change for the sake of change; different just to be different with no grounding. I think a logo refresh would have been more impacting if the original colors were incorporated into the new icon architecture in essence, bridging the past to the future.


You all are harsh!

Art Director

Love the new logo and I never really cared for the old one at all. And I also agree with Trenton that the unified icon system for the sister apps works well.


I did not like the old logo. The colors were outdated, and I think that the new design is much more fluid. There is a sense of sophisticated simplicity, and I think it allows the pictures to stick out better. Ironically, the new design makes the app more colorful. Waouw (said in French), so beautiful, my life has drastically changed.

Content Strategist

Some critics claim that the new logo closely resembles many of the other photo apps out there, and that it will get lost on user’s phone interface. While the similarities aspect may be true, a new logo design isn’t going to change user-ship of Instagram. The user interface has a nice new clean look. I don’t mind them getting rid of the dated blue banner and icons. The color on instagram now lies with it’s user’s content.


I think the new icon steers away from what Instagram started out to be. It seems that ever since Facebook acquired them, things have become more corporate; from the introduction of unwanted advertisements to the way your feed is altered, and now, the new branding. I appreciate reduction and refinement, but in doing so they lost the character and it blends in with all the other photo apps out there. It’s become generic- maybe that’s why they used the vibrant gradient to make it pop.

Director of Strategy

When I downloaded the update I admit I did not like the icon and felt it got lost in the sea of my other app, that was yesterday. In the last 18 hours I have probably tapped the icon a dozen times. In fact, this morning I had to remind myself what the old icon looked like. Guess I like it. Everyone always thinks they can be a designer, strategist, creative director, decision maker and CEO when a rebrand happens, so I appreciate the medium post that Ian, Head of Design, published. It did a great job of smartly explaining the process as well as why the Instagram team believes in the change.

Chief Executive, via telegram

Found the old icon boring; think the new one is better. But they still have a way to go, so expect more reworking of it sooner than later. Don’t use the sister apps. Prefer the current interface to its predecessor.


I just read all the comments. Mark sums up my take on the brand refresh best.


The debate rages on and though there is no consensus in the studio, there are certainly strong opinions. As a team of curious, hard-working, artists, designers, writers, and thinkers we know the world is changing everyday. We celebrate the pioneers of progress and are inspired by passionate brand stewards. Love it or hate it, we certainly appreciate the new perspective. Thank you Instagram for continuing to spark creativity.
Happy Posting! Follow us on Instagram @thoughtmatter.

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