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  • 05.11.16

Here’s the best thing about Instagram’s new icon

Earlier today, my colleague Cliff Kuang wrote about Instagram’s new, more stylized icon, which is getting mixed reviews from Instagram users:

Me, I like the new look—and one thing about it I find particularly meaningful. As non-obsessives probably don’t remember, the original Instagram icon (which was designed by cofounder Kevin Systrom) was a very literal rendition of a Polaroid OneStep camera, complete with a rainbow sticker, which the company kept as an element even when it redesigned the icon to evoke Polaroid less explicitly.

Here are a real OneStep and the icon it inspired:

Polaroid’s rainbow, which was created by a wonderful designer named Paul Giambarba, was once a signature part of its identity. For Instagram to hold onto it forever would have been cheesy. But what the company decided to do—turn the rainbow into a background effect which looks nothing like Giambarba’s stripes—strikes me as an original, elegant, and respectful way to retain a dash of Polaroid-inspired heritage. HM