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June 3rd, 2016

Should your brand strip it down for the internet?

By Brokaw Designer/Production Specialist Kelsey Ferron

I know, taking it all off can be a bit daunting…but all the cool kids are doing it?

Instagram is the latest brand to jump head-first into the sea of simplicity and come out wearing nothing but their birthday suit. The photo-sharing app released its new logo a few weeks ago along with this blog post, announcing: “Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become…Thank you for giving this community its life and color.”

Brands, especially tech brands, have been simplifying, modernizing, and flattening their logos and icons for years (think Windows, Apple, and Spotify.) Instagram’s new logo is more unified with current tech and internet aesthetics. A simplified, flat, white icon that resembles parts of the old camera is shown on top of a bright rainbow gradient background. The modernized look integrates alongside more change inside of the app: “The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app,” says the brand.

Even if you haven’t seen their new logo, you may have stumbled upon an angry tweet or two. It’s hard to miss “The Great Instagram Logo Freakout of 2016,” as titled by The New York Times. And it’s not only angry social media users in a frenzy, Tim Nudd of ADWEEK called the new logo a travesty, and sent out a plea to change it back. Hannah Jane Parkinson, in her article for The Guardian, described the new white camera icon “As if the camera was murdered, and chalk was drawn around its body. Murdered at sundown.”


Though some online trolls seem to be taking out their #badday on Instagram’s new look, others found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…gradient. Fruzsina Eordogh from Forbes said, “Instagram was long overdue for a logo change; Instagram’s icon stopped looking like it belonged on the Internet years ago.” Christina Bonnington from Refinery29 agreed saying, “with so many apps on our home screen, all that detail is overkill. And something simple, like Twitter’s bird icon and Facebook’s “f” logo, may catch your eye more quickly, anyway.” Artists are even showing their support with #myinstagramlogo posts.

Whether you’re loving the look or rejecting the redo, the insta-drama is already starting to blow over. So, how can your brand strip it down without losing sanity? Think about these three things we learned from Instagram’s transformation:

  • Continuity is key. Integrating certain aspects of your old brand into your new design will help consumers transition. This includes elements from your old logo, a key typeface or something as simple as a recognizable color. Instagram chose to keep the simplified camera icon and continue their rainbow color scheme in gradient form.
  • Don’t just look at the logo. Instagram’s evolution didn’t only show in their logo. Users see the cohesive change throughout their entire interaction with the app and are able to connect all aspects of the new Instagram experience to the new look. A disconnect between your logo and other brand elements could mean a disconnect between you and your consumers.
  • Think about your audience. Create a look that will keep your core customers while appealing to new ones. Instagram felt they needed to evolve with their community. Your new look should create a connection that shows your audience you understand what they’re looking for.

So now, watch this evolution video to decide for yourself whether Instagram’s new look is picture-perfect.