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Written by
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in Graphic Design, Internet Marketing, Web Design

Paint and brush on the Pine wooden background with copy space

If you’re one of the over 400 million Instagram users, you probably noticed that your app icon changed this week. Instagram gave their entire app and brand a facelift in the name of rebranding and the internet is restless about it. Some users are upset that their app icon isn’t the adorable Polaroid inspired camera they’ve come to know and love, and many are unsure of how they feel about the new look. Seeing the reactions to this update as well as reviewing Instagram’s strategy, I got to thinking about the importance of rebranding and keeping your companies appearance fresh.

Instagram old logo vs. the new May 2016 logo

Why Brands Change

Brands change because design changes. As society evolves and develops new ideas, design industries change and adapt to fit the new “standard”. Branding is focused around making your company appealing to the majority of potential clients  and customers. To put it into a simple example: if you’re a clothing retailer and the majority of your customers like plaid, then you’re going to stock more plaid clothing. If people start to like striped clothing more, you’re going to replace a lot of your plaid items with striped ones.

The same general principle applies to graphic design. As more brands pop up with modern logos and the majority of society reacts positively to them,  design standards and customer expectations begin to shift. This is where rebranding becomes important. Many brands who started years ago have logos and marketing designs that were very popular when they began. They were considered modern and up-to-date at that time. As design trends change, however, those brands begin to look outdated and old. They become overshadowed by brands that are using the latest and greatest design styles that the population is looking for more often.

Often times this isn’t an issue for highly successful businesses. They’ve already established a loyal customer base who is more devoted to their product than their brand. This is awesome, but those customers won’t always be customers. As new generations are growing up and entering the consumer market, a company’s customer base may change and they need to be able to draw in these new customers.

Good Rebranding vs. Bad Rebranding

Good rebranding strategies involve staying true to your company’s original brand identity, and not trying to become something completely different. Take, for example, WalMart’s brand facelift from a few years ago. They changed their font and icon, but stuck with the concept of a star and the overall blue color with yellow accents. They stayed true to their brand’s original elements, while still adapting to a more modern design style.

This is how Instagram handled their rebrand as well, using the idea of the rainbow in the form of a bright gradient background, and the same idea of a camera as their icon.

Instagram new app icons and logo

Instagram’s new app icon, along with the new icons for their sister apps: Hyperlapse, Boomerang, and Layout.

“The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.”

says Instagram. This is a great outlook on the need to rebrand. The designers over at IG are showing that they are aware of the diversity and variety of users they have gained over the past few years. They are recognizing their developing audience and the need to update with modern design standards.

Rebranding shouldn’t be a complete overhaul of your brand identity into something entirely new. This will result in confusion for your existing customers, and can sometimes lead to losing some once-loyal customers’ business. You want to show that you are aware of your current customer base and respect their view of your brand while still adapting to the desires of newer generations of potential customers.

Why We Should Embrace Change

Many people are frustrated with Instagram’s new look saying that it’s too different from the classic look and feel that the iconic app was built around. While it is quite different, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Letting a brand go stale for too long could result in a loss of users/customers, so we have to give kudos to the guys and gals over and Instagram for staying on top of things. Design styles are going to change no matter what we do, so learning to accept and embrace rebranding will help businesses and brands to grow.

We often view rebranding events like this as an uncomfortable change, however they could be seen as a proactive step on the company’s part in trying to stay up-to-date with their users – whom they love!

When companies rebrand, they help to advance the design industry by spreading trends and styles to more people. This allows design to evolve and change over time into new and innovative styles. Change in the design world is good for expanding and exercising creativity, and should be embraced as a good thing!

What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts on the new Instagram icon and rebranding as a whole? Do you love the new look or hate it? Let us know why and join the conversation in the comments!