• Live Oak Management

Key Takeaways From Instagram's Rebrand

By Sara Murphy, Creative Content Producer

When Instagram unveiled a new logo in the spring of 2016, the entire Instagram world was in chaos. Although Instagram’s new minimalistic look may have not been loved initially, its focus on relating the design to the updated app, heightening user experience, and streamlining direct communication helped create a successful rebrand.



Instagram is no longer a simple photo-sharing app, so the old logo needed to go. A Polaroid camera represents one thing: photos, but Instagram isn’t just photos anymore. It has new features such as stories, IGTV, sharing Spotify songs, and video chat in direct messages. The new look needed to match the rapidly evolving app, so they changed their color palette and placed the focus on the users. Ian Spalter, Instagram’s Head of Design, made the decision to have everything inside the app be black and white because “we believe the color should come directly from the community’s photos and videos.” With more focus on the users’ photos, a feeling of importance develops.


And who doesn’t like feeling important?


The decision to focus on user experience instead of just rebranding an outdated logo was a smart move that many companies should take into account. People want things that are easy and fast, so updating the app to be geared towards users’ needs was a must. The app became easier to use so its suite of sub-brands, which were not on my radar prior to the rebrand, could stand out.


Another successful component was the transparency that Instagram had with its users. Spalter posted an entire article explaining the design process and the reasoning behind it, which allowed users to start to understand the rebrand. Instagram was able to keep some of the chaos under control by addressing its users directly and answering pressing questions.


Although “any press is good press” is controversial, I think it fits Instagram’s rebrand perfectly. Everyone was shocked by the new logo, but it created a thread of discussion that overpowered a great deal of lives. Everyone was talking about Instagram’s rebrand regardless of whether they were positive or negative comments. The controversy ultimately led to its success and, as a bonus, was free word-of-mouth marketing.

By focusing on the things its users craved, Instagram turned a shocking rebrand into a major success. Its logo didn’t represent Instagram as a whole anymore, so they built one that did. User experience is key to the success of a brand, so focusing on it while rebranding can make a major difference. And if you’re communicating the reason for your changes, you’re on the road to success.

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© 2019 by Sasha Kagan

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