Instagram’s new logo: great branding or clever disguise?

Published on
May 25, 2016

_blog post instagram MOD AV

If you are looking to set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons, I dare you to start a discussion about a change in brand identity … in a creative design studio. Go on, give it a crack if you’re feeling brave. You can handle the fallout, right? In these parts, a logo change is code for “Release the hounds!”. Of course, the hounds are ergonomically designed, perfectly balanced and display precision kerning but they are nonetheless ruthless, unforgiving and slightly peckish.

Enter Instagram’s new ‘community inspired’ look and feel. Jettisoned into the ether late last week, this minimalist take on the previous vintage-feel logo has been described as everything from a “travesty” to “one of the biggest design fails of the year” by Adweek. Like it or loathe it, Instagram’s new look is here to stay and is, it would seem, the face of a series of rolling changes including adjustments to the manner in which posts are viewed. Sounds inoffensive enough, right? Well it might, unless your marketing strategy is firmly grounded in your ‘Insty’ community.

The move, announced by Instagram on March 15, is a shift from a chronological feed to an algorithmic display. Basically, this means that the order in which users see posts will be based on those pages they have the most interaction with. It would also seem that this rollout, to some extent, coincided with the rebrand. Could this switch of icon be simply just that, or was it a well-devised diversionary tactic? Either way, brands which have focused significant resources into building their Instagram community will now have to come up with new strategies to maintain audience reach. High-level engagement is now paramount to maintain and grow value on the platform.

Aesthetic and design arguments aside, remaining relevant in the ever-changing parameters of social media is increasingly an exercise in strategically telling your brand’s story in a way that pushes you to the top of your audience’s feed. Kudos to you if you do it — just ensure that your new branding is as strategically considered … those designer hounds are waiting.