The new Instagram logo has been brutally assaulted at sundown and an outline has been drawn with chalk around its arena.
This disaster has resulted in the evolution of a vague persona. This is how industry expert, Hannah Jane Parkinson, from The Guardian, describes the launch of the new Instagram logo:
The internet is all about innovations and its acceptability to the audience. Facebook emerged as a popular social networking site as people embraced it, loved the UI and its features. The Instagram is facebook’s photo sharing app, characterised by a retro-looking camera logo which always held a distinct identity due to its prominent style.
However, recently the company decided to change the look and after nine months of labour and expertise came up with this ‘cutely annoying’ looking logo which can easily pass off like any other backdrop icon, failing to make its presence felt.
Ian Spatter, the current head of design at Instagram had this to say:
It is a lot closer to the cameras that people use these days,
Though the new logo design is just an adaptation of the old version, with a more techno-digital look to comply with the ever-changing times, the change has not been met warmly with the ardent fans of Instagram.
What could be the reason for this frustration?
One of the basic concepts of a UI design is to keep the interface simple. Bearing that in mind, the idea of remodelling the Instagram logo was doing the rounds for more than a year as the original logo seemed that of the vintage era. However, as soon as the new logo launched, there was a significant backlash and the internet did not take this change positively.
In the words of Ian Splatter, “The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more – a global community of interests sharing more than 80m pictures and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.” Perhaps, they were prepared for the backlash. Perhaps….
One of the primary reasons for this “freak-out” by the people and the critics are owing to many factors:
• Users are unable to identify with the new design. They have been comfortable and always associated Instagram with the camera look-alike logo and their preference still lies with the original design.
• The timing of the change was incongruent. Changes are usually made after an adverse effect. With everything sailing smoothly, users did not feel the need of the change and started wondering whether the company is on a downhill ride.
• It is a highly generic icon. The original design was a standout with distinct design features of a real camera and hence, the logo could be easily identified and used.
• The new logo merges with the backdrop of the interface and it resembles the generic design of an iOS based app logo.
• The new design could not reiterate itself. The ‘yesteryears’ looking logo was simply iconic. A brand new design should have created an as powerful or a stronger impact, which this particular logo sadly failed to produce.
• The logo seems too loud in colour combinations and a product of amateur design.
• The change of the logo design came a little too late. People got comfortable using this logo ever since the Instagram came into existence about five years ago, and its design should have been remodelled earlier.
• To the majority of people, the new look resembles more of an iOS app based logo. The Android users have always had a feeling of second in line treatment to the iOS users. So when they occupy 80% of the market share, as opposed to 20% share of the iOS users, this sure could seem like a sign of betrayal by Instagram. It was a step-motherly feel and they would be reluctant in embracing the makeover.
There are lessons learnt and even the best in their fields can stumble at times. One needs to keep trying to make the UX design readily accessible to the user:
This is the key to the ever-changing technology scenario. UX designers often keep updating designs, experimenting with different interfaces to stay ahead of the others in the race. The end user is, therefore, the king. As a large layout is spread in front of him and he can choose whatever he deems fit. In the case of the Instagram logo, the design had to be re-iterated much before. In 5 years the users had ‘old age camera’ look became synonymous with Instagram and the innovation to take the logo from the analogue age to the digital age, did not work. UX designers constantly work to bring about changes, but if it does not work, do not enforce it, it should die a silent death.
There’s nothing like putting your assumptions to test in front of the users. Not only do you get to see your work in the wild, but you’ll also frequently get to see fantastic ideas from users as they use the system every day.
Patrick Neeman @USABILITY ACCOUNTS
The preference of the consumers is critical. Interact with the users to know their likes and dislikes. For example – Had a poll been conducted across the internet to choose from the shortlisted logos, it would have been easy to approve the final design. The exact preference of the logo design would have emerged easily saving time and resources. The whole idea here is to enhance the UX design, and that could have been achieved by communicating, interacting, and improving the end user experience. Moreover, by finding of the users preferences, they think they are an intrinsic part of the interface and paradoxically tend to like the decision.
Many desperate acts of design (including gradients, drop shadows, and the gratuitous use of transparency) are perpetuated in the absence of a strong concept. A good idea provides a framework for design decisions, guiding the work.
Steven Heller is a top design expert, and he too is not convinced of the new logo. He went on record saying:
Like anything that has been familiar, it’s hard to get used to a new mark. However, this seems to be as minimal as you can get, and to most eyes the refinement is insignificant – It’s not a big deal.
As we see, the new design has faced harsh criticism from a top veteran designer. Crowdsourcing among the other designers in the same field is vital. Graphic designers, communication experts, interface designers should all contribute their feedback. Interacting with humans in the same arenas help in a better exchange of ideas and suggestions. They are the experts and would suggest the latest upcoming trends in their fields and their invaluable suggestions might prove pivotal in shaping the new interface. Plus if we seek their advice they will have simply no choice but to like us.
At times, it is better to adapt than to innovate. The market might not be right for experiments, so let your competitors do the task of making the bigger decisions of innovating and developing designs and ideas and follow suit if the experiment is a success. The new Instagram logo was a new minimalistic version of the old one. However, people had started identifying the instagram with the traditional camera design and hence, did not like the change.
Identify the target audience
As far as the review of the instagram logo goes, it has majorly earned adverse reactions, since 11th May, the day the new design launched. For example – We can’t offer wine to a group of women wanting to have tea; it would be a sheer disappointment. So the resources have to be put in the right direction to attain justice. Know your end user, research thoroughly and then go ahead and make design plans keeping them in mind.
We cannot just introduce a change to the customer. It has to be done with their consent. Alternatively, let’s say, make them feel they have complied with it. One has to throw open a brilliant idea before proposing a design and work towards user acceptability of the idea. Memories cannot be washed away at once so users should be given time to register and embrace innovations graciously. And then there is the comfort factor!
The new Instagram logo means the brand is done promoting nostalgia for analogue and is instead embracing ‘the digital’ aka 2012 net art aesthetic.
Alexis Anais Avedisian, a researcher.
So this new logo, with all the rebuke and negativity it has received, is there to stay. Though some experts differ in their opinion, saying that the bright and vibrant colours of the logo reflect positivity and happiness, it will take some time before the new design makes a place in the people’s heart. And who knows this new Instagram logo might eventually get the love, its older version was heartily bestowed upon!