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The real reason Snap changed its logo

Not all Snapchat users are happy about the bold, new version of the ghost, but there’s a good reason for the change—and it hints at the future of tech branding.

The real reason Snap changed its logo
[Image: Snap Inc]

When I opened up my phone this week, Snapchat’s new icon nearly hit me in the face. Suddenly, Snapchat’s cute ghost logo was surrounded by a decisively bold line that feels too thick for comfort, at least at first glance.

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[Images: Snap Inc]

I wasn’t alone. Many users aren’t happy about the change, which rolled out earlier this week, and took to Twitter to express their feelings—as is typical when corporations make changes to their logos:

There is a practical reason for the change. Snap says the bold line makes the app’s logo more visible and eye-catching. And it certainly worked on me: Now, any time I open up my phone, my eyes are drawn to that thick bold outline like flies to light, in part because it’s so different from the thin lines we’re accustomed to in modern-day branding.

Still, some users are threatening to delete the app over it, or at least hide it away in a folder so they don’t have to look at it. Tellingly, one user described how it didn’t “match” the other apps on their phone. Indeed, thinness has become a design standard—largely thanks to Apple and its obsession with clean, thin minimalism. Across the internet, lighter line weights have become associated with the tech companies, as well as clean, clear, user-centered design—chunky lines look like Comic Sans compared to this sleek aesthetic. If you scroll through your phone and look at app icons, you’d be hard-pressed to find many apps that embrace the kind of thick line that Snap has with its new logo.

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But that’s also exactly what helps Snap—and the few other companies daring to move beyond the minimalist logo paradigm—stand out. The subtle shift makes sense within the context of the company’s latest release, Spectacles 3, which isn’t about pleasing the masses but is marketed instead to the creative, fashion-forward, early adopters of the world. Amid the clean lines and minimalism, Snap is bold and not afraid to show it.

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is the deputy editor of Fast Company's technology section. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and follow her on Twitter @kschwabable

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