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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: I HATE THE NEW INSTAGRAM ICON SO MUCH. — Nazifa (@NazifaHasan) May 11, 2016 Me, I like the new look—and one thing about it I find particularly meaningful. As non-obsessives probably don’t remember, the … Continue reading “Here’s the best thing about Instagram’s new icon”

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

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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. 

About the author

Harry McCracken is the technology editor for Fast Company, based in San Francisco. In past lives, he was editor at large for Time magazine, founder and editor of Technologizer, and editor of PC World.

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