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 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.