Your Instagram App Just Got a Big Makeover
Instagram looks different today. The first thing you’ll notice is the new icon, a simple illustration set against a gradient of sunset hues replacing the cutesy retro camera. Now open the app. The interface is flatter and less colorful. Stark white and grey replace chrome and blue. The notification color is now watermelon pink, not orange, with simplified toolbar icons so light they resemble shadows.
Why the thorough makeover? Because it was time. On a purely aesthetic level, Instagram’s icon and interface weren’t bad, but they weren’t good, either. And functionally, the interface needed a change. Since its founding in 2010, Instagram has become one of the world’s leading visual platforms. More than 400 million people post photos each month; all those people post 80 million photos each day, and those photos generate some 3.5 billion daily likes.
Those numbers boggle the imagination, and underscore how essential content is to Instagram’s continued growth. The redesign suggest the company felt its interface was getting in the way of that content. Instagram figures that a flatter, whiter, and less cluttered interface will only serve to enhance your (and advertiser’s) photos and videos.
In a blog post, design director Ian Spalter says the company started toying with the idea of a redesign some time ago. By contemporary standards, the old icon felt dated and uninspired. Instagram waited far longer than most tech companies before embracing “flat” design, the graphic style that values minimalism over dimensionality. The retro icon, which Instagram hadn’t changed in any meaningful way in more than four years, resembled the front of an actual camera. Its lens and viewfinder conveyed a sense of physicality. By contrast, the new icon, anchored by a very on-trend gradient, seems ripped from the sunset photos so often found on the platform. The camera glyph, too, nods toward modernity with its stripped down form showing only the outline of a camera.
Compared to the impending algorithmic photo feed, these changes feel relatively insignificant. They’re the sort of superficial tweaks that cause a stir until people settle into them and forget what the old interface and icon even looked like. Nothing about your experience will change, aside from clicking on a prettier icon. And if you ask us, that’s a good thing.
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