Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Instagram’s New Icon

Now there are three words I didn’t expect to be writing before we’re all using holographic interfaces or something.

Armin Vit:

The ensuing shitstorm on the internet today will be epic. About 75% of the negative reaction will be simply to the fact that it has changed and the other 25% will be to the not-quite-fact that there is a generic aesthetic to the new icon where it could be a “camera” icon for the upcoming smart microwave from Apple or whatever other user interface you would imagine. This is not to say it’s a bad-looking icon, no… as far as camera icons go, this is quite lovely and has the minimal amount of elements necessary to be recognized as a camera BUT not the minimal amount of elements necessary to be recognized as Instagram.

I think Vit nailed it with that last sentence. While I like the icon with its insane gradient orgy,1 I’m not seeing it as Instagram — yet. It lacks any sort of tie or bond to the old icon in shape, colour, or — blessedly — style. And this is something they solved while they were working on this refresh; I grabbed this still of one of the rejected icons from Instagram’s announcement video. It feels less like an update to bring it in alignment with the rest of the icons on my home screen and more like an entire rebrand. To my eye, though, the “Instagram” script running across the top of the app remains untouched.

The app itself received a black-and-white refresh, too, and I’m a fan. After seeing that bright blue bar every day for the past five-and-a-half years, I didn’t notice how much it distracted from the photo feed until it was removed. The adjustment tool icons are particularly well-drawn.

Update: Do yourself a favour and check your push notification preferences. I found a bunch of things that I previously had switched off were back on again.

Update: If you’re wondering what the icon sounds like, I got the Yams to make me a playlist.


  1. The gradient’s palette might be a bit much. ↩︎