The Story and Why It Works (2022)

You are welcome Behind the logo, a series that reveals the history and design solutions of some of the world’s most famous logos. Once you learn something, use Shopify free logo maker to create something unique.

Instagram*, a program originally created to share strictly filtered photos with your inner circle, today is a real technological giant that allows you to post photos and videos, find out what your favorite celebrities are up to, and even buy products from millions of brands.

Instagram’s mission has changed since its inception in 2010, along with its user interface and iconic logo. Let’s take a look at the history of the Instagram logo, its meaning and the changes it has undergone to stay relevant over the years.

The history of the Instagram logo

Instagram was founded in 2010 in San Francisco by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who came up with the name as a combination of the words “instant” and “telegram”. Their idea was simple: a platform that would allow iOS users to share 640-pixel square photos—the width of an iPhone’s display at the time—and to like and comment on other users’ content.

The first iteration of the Instagram logo was simply an image of a Polaroid OneStep camera. It worked as a concept, but Systrom realized that as the brand grew, it needed a new, more creative and distinctive logo that wasn’t dependent on the Polaroid design. So a few weeks later, the Instagram team tasked Cole Rise—a professional photographer and designer, as well as a friend of the founders and an early Instagram beta tester—to simplify their idea. Less than an hour after the call, Rise unveiled what became the first widely recognized Instagram logo.

Instagram logo since late 2010 Vidaris is a more simplified square and less identifiable as a Polaroid OneStep camera

Instagram gained popularity after being featured on the home page of the Apple App Store. Over the next six months, Rise worked alongside a small team at the startup to perfect the logo he quickly sketched out. He sharpened textures and shadows, added more detail to both lenses, erased the red button, and changed the lettering to “Insta.”

Instagram logo from 2011. The logo is almost identical to the previous one, but with sharper textures and shadows.

In April 2012, Facebook (now known as Meta) acquired Instagram for what was then considered a staggering amount of about 1 billion dollars. At the time, Instagram had just 13 employees, 30 million users, and still no revenue. It was released on Android only a week before the acquisition.

What was undeniable was the potential of Instagram. While Facebook dominated desktop social media, it lagged behind when it came to mobile. Smartphones became more and more sophisticated, their Internet connections improved, and their built-in lenses began to compete with digital camera lenses. People no longer used social media primarily on their computers. More and more, they used apps like Instagram from the comfort of their phones.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg had big ambitions for Instagram, but at first he sat back and let the app grow organically. Over the next four years, Instagram remained more or less the same, with the primary purpose of sharing photos, and the now famous brown camera logo with a rainbow stripe remained intact.

This brand made sense for Instagram at the time. However, it wasn’t long before the grainy, dreamy filters that Instagram popularized, along with the retro logo, became outdated. By 2016, the rise of Vine and Snapchat showed massive interest in video and ephemeral content. It’s time for Instagram to start rolling out new features like Instagram Stories. The design team decided that the branding should also be significantly changed.

“Brands, logos and products create deep connections and associations with people,” Ian Spalter, Head of Design, Instagram wrote on Medium in 2016,” so you don’t just want to change them for the sake of novelty. But Instagram’s icon and design started to feel, well… not reflective of the community, and we thought we could do better.”

Along with Erik Gaud, Joy-Vincent Niemantvrit, and Robert Padbury—the team behind Instagram’s logo redesign—Spalter reviewed the icon that has represented the app for so long. “The logo was very round, with these candy lines in the lens, the color is almost brown like a teddy bear, and there was a rainbow on top of the teddy bear,” Spalter said in the Netflix docu-series. Abstract: The art of design. “How do you go beyond that? What is important about it? What is really important?”

Instagram logo from 2016. The logo is a much more minimalist image of the camera, with just a square, circle and dot outlined in white. The background is a gradient of yellow, purple and fuchsia.

The answers to these questions can be seen in the modern Instagram logo design. The redesign team came up with the idea of ​​a camera using only three shapes to represent it: a rounded square, a large circle in the center, and a smaller circle in the upper left corner. Knowing that the rainbow was an important part of the original logo, they used a gradient background with orange, purple and pink.

Instagram logo from 2022. The logo is almost identical to the 2016 iteration, only more saturated, with the gradient adjusted to include less purple.

In May 2022, Instagram released a visual update to its logo. “Today, we’re bringing new energy and focus to our colors, typeface, logo and other brand elements,” the company reported on its website. “The gradient is reinterpreted with bright colors to make it illuminated and alive, and to signal moments of discovery.” The updated gradient appears throughout the app, providing visual unity as well as subtle variance; it uses digital light to create a different gradient effect depending on where it appears. “The concept is that the gradient makes it feel like it’s made of light,” said 3D digital artist and motion designer Rose Pilkington, who worked with Instagram to create the new look. “And there’s a sense of depth to it.”

Exploring the meaning of the Instagram logo

The original Instagram logo was quite different from today’s logo, but the updated version nevertheless stayed true to the original concept and brand elements. When Instagram was founded in 2010, the world was recovering from a severe recession, and the founders of Instagram felt that people were longing for simpler times. So the original Instagram logo, designed by Systrom himself, was an image of a beige Polaroid OneStep instant camera with a rainbow stripe down the middle.

The second logo, designed by Cole Rise, was inspired by the Bell & Howell camera and based on a logo that Rise had previously made for his own app. The beige-brown design featured the lens, viewfinder, red button and iridescent stripe from the original Systrom logo, as well as the letters “INST” on the left side. At the time, it was a perfect reflection of what Instagram was: a photo-sharing app with built-in filters that gave images the analog look of decades past. It was an overt nostalgia, and it was the reason for its initial success.

In 2016, nostalgic Instagram filters fell out of fashion in the Instagram community, and the logo needed an update. The next redesign solved this problem by updating the logo to an elegant, minimalist representation of the camera with an attractive color scheme. The drastic departure from the warm brown colors and aesthetics of the original logo, however, kept the essence of the Instagram brand, bringing it into a new era.

Why the Instagram logo works

A technology company is always looking to the future, and its brand should reflect that spirit and evolve with the times. After Instagram grew beyond nostalgic filters and simple photo sharing, its visual identity needed to reflect the diverse and dynamic digital community it had become. The updated eye-catching logo achieves just that, while still retaining the core elements of the original logo.

Cole Rise, the designer of Instagram’s first widely known logo, agrees. “I’m really excited about the new one” he told Mashable in 2016. “I love minimalism. Regardless of the colors behind it, the white shape — the actual bones of the new symbol itself — is beautiful, and I think it can stand the test of time.” The current Instagram logo still resembles a camera and therefore reflects the essence of the brand, while its simplicity makes it visually striking and memorable.

Create your own logo

Strong branding is crucial in the early stages of a business like Instagram – it determines how people perceive your company and product. With that in mind, check it out our free logo maker for tech companies, and don’t be afraid to make bold changes to your logo as your brand expands and evolves. A good logo is unique and instantly recognizable, and has a central idea that can serve as a cornerstone for future logo updates.

*NOTE: The logo is an independent educational publication produced by Shopify Inc. on the world’s most famous logos. The post is not sponsored by or otherwise associated with the owners of the featured logos, and the featured logos were not developed in association with Shopify.

The Instagram logo shown here is owned by Meta Platforms, Inc. and/or its affiliates. For more information, please visit www.instagram.com

Instagram logo history FAQ

What was the first Instagram logo?

The first Instagram logo was inspired by a Polaroid camera. The original Instagram logo was an illustration of a Polaroid OneStep camera.

Who designed the first Instagram logo?

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, designed the original logo in 2010. To represent what Instagram meant at the time—sharing photos—he chose a Polaroid OneStep camera that has a bold rainbow stripe.

Who made the new Instagram logo?

Robert Padbury is the designer of the new Instagram logo. The social media platform has made four significant changes to its logo design.

https://www.shopify.com/blog/instagram-logo The Story and Why It Works (2022)

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