Instagram’s big redesign goes live with a colorful new icon, black-and-white app and more – TechCrunch
Instagramâs new icon is pink. Well, itâs pink and purple and yellow and orange. Itâs definitely different. And thatâs not all the company has changed today. Instagram this morning is rolling out a radical redesign of its mobile application, which not only includes thisÂ new, brightly colored app icon but also a revamped user interface that does away with color in favor of a black-and-white look and feel.
As it turns out, it was.
Instagramâs interest in updatingÂ the icon was to better reflect how its community has changed over time.
âWhen Instagram was founded over five years ago, it was a place for you to easily edit and share photos. Over those five years, things have changed,â saysÂ Ian Spalter, InstagramâsÂ Head of Design. âInstagram is now a diverse community of interests where people are sharing more photos and videos than ever before, using new tools like Boomerang and Layout, and connecting in new ways through Explore.â
The new icon, however, still references Instagramâs history with its now simplified and softer camera that appears in the much more colorful design.
In addition, theÂ colors that blend and blurÂ from purple to pink to orangeÂ and yellowÂ areÂ also supposed to reference Instagramâs iconic rainbow in its older design. (This isnât entirely obvious, but we can see how the designer would want to make that connection.)
Meanwhile, where Instagramâs icon is now filled with color, the app itself has had the color removed. Instead of using blue and white in the appâs chrome, the new black-and-white design allows the color in the app to come from the community and whatâs being shared. The user interface is no longer competing for attention.
Though this design change will impact users the most, given itâs the app thatâs actually interacted with on a regular basis, it somehow feels less jarring â at least, initially â than the change to the app icon.
Perhaps thatâs because nothing has been fundamentally changed with regard to the appâs workflow. The buttons remain in the same positions, and pops of color are still shown to highlight things like notifications, for example. And there are some slight under-the-hood changes. For instance, Instagram now usesÂ standard iOS and Android components, fonts and patterns. But the app itself is simply a cleaner, more modern version of the Instagram we know and love.
Thatâs not to say it doesnât take some getting used to. Seeing the editing tools laid out in black-and-white simplicity will prompt a double take the first few times you use them. But the process of using the tools has not been changed.
However, the iconâs update feels as dramatic as iOS 7 once did when Appleâs Jony Ive unveiled the operating systemâs newer, flatter look-and-feel and its brighter color gradients. This initially prompted some user backlash among Apple fans who had trouble adjusting. (Remember the Jony Ive Redesigns Things Tumblr, anyone?)
Whatâs funny is that the iOS revamp years ago eventually prompted Instagramâs user base to callÂ for the companyÂ to update its look as well. The older app icon began to feel out of place on theÂ iPhone home screen, as other app icons were updated to better fitÂ Appleâs new design language.
Then, when Google rolled out its own take on flat design with Material Design, Instagramâs icon began to feel a little out of place there, too.
Besides the icon change and black-and-white revamp, Instagramâs larger suite of apps, including Layout, HyperlapseÂ and Boomerang, have also received new icons. These new icons now better reflect what their app does in some cases. For example, the collage maker Layout has gone from a square to a grid. They also now match the new Instagram iconâs color scheme.
While the makeover is dramatic, itâs not tied to the other forthcoming changes, like the rollout of Business Profiles due in a few months.
Instagram has been working on this redesign since last summer and ended up testing more than 300 icons before arriving on a lead candidate in late November. The company then worked on the user interface update, which had been tested internally since the beginning of the year.
Those tests finally made it out into the wild in the past couple of weeks, which is when users spotted them and the news of the redesign was leaked. The company doesnât share details on its internal tests or how the changes impacted key metrics like user engagement.
However, with 400 million users worldwide who shareÂ more than 80 million photos and videos daily, itâs not likely that the company would roll out an update of this magnitude if it were worried the changes could negatively impact any of itsÂ numbers.