The Instagram logo is a fantastic example of what a relevant brand icon can do for a business. A simple logo that communicates the key personalities of a brand goes a long way in establishing brand awareness, and the Instagram icon is just that!
The design elements of the Instagram logo are well-balanced and aligned with the purpose of the social media platform. We will explore everything that makes the Instagram icon unique in this article. Furthermore, we will reveal how the social media platform can positively impact your business in the bonus section of this article. But first, let us look at some facts and figures.
Good read: How to make your logo leave an everlasting impact on the client.
According to Bloggingwizard, Instagram has nearly 1.4 billion users. The social networking site is only behind three other platforms, namely Facebook (2.8 billion users), YouTube (2.3 billion users), and WhatsApp (2 billion users).
A whopping 170 million Instagram users are from the US, just behind India with 180 million users. The US saw a dramatic rise in the number of users during the first and second Covid-19 waves between 2019 and 2021. 54 million new users joined the bandwagon during the period.
Several factors have played a significant role in making Instagram one of the most popular social media platforms, some of which are as follows:
- Easy to use
- Photo sharing made easy
- Popular with millennials, Gen Z, and the older generation
- A social business channel
In addition to these, Instagram’s strong brand positioning and brand image have played a vital role in its success.
A brief history of Instagram
Founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social media platform.
Back in 2010, Kevin and Mike created a mobile check-in app called Burbn, which was very similar to foursquare. It took no time for the app creators to realize the similarity between the two apps; however, they were encouraged to carry on because the users liked their photo-sharing feature. The founders renamed the app Instagram.
Two venture capitalists, Andreessen Horowitz and Baseline Ventures, offered $500,000 in seed funding to Instagram. The funding allowed the company to attract more brains for the company. Thus began the exciting journey of the social networking platform.
Here is a great video on Instagram’s amazing journey
The Instagram logo
The Instagram logo communicates what the social networking site is all about—a photo and video-sharing platform. Let’s explore what the logo means and how it has evolved over the years.
Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, designed the original Instagram icon. The Instagram logo design was inspired by the Polaroid-type camera of the 1970s and 80s. The Instagram icon stands for childhood, family, and a whole lot of nostalgia. While it is true that the company has changed its logo a few times in its brief history, it has always retained the centerpiece of the icon—the camera.
It can be tempting to change your company logo from time to time, but once you have a logo that is aligned with the company’s mission and values, you should try to retain it. A logo that communicates the key traits of your brand is worth millions.
Instagram has changed its visual identity four times since its inception. Let us take a closer look at each one.
The original Instagram logo featured a Polaroid camera with a rainbow stripe. Polaroid cameras or instant photo cameras were widely used during the 1980s to take quick photos. The Polaroid camera was a perfect fit for the photo-sharing platform. The logo designed by the co-founder was unique and stood out from the crowd.
2010 – 2011
While the logo appeared perfect for the social networking platform, Kevin decided to use a professional to redesign the Instagram icon. Cole Rise, a photographer-cum-designer, was hired to redesign the logo. Cole was inspired by the Bell & Howell camera and used it in the Instagram logo. The new logo was both simple and attractive.
2011 – 2016
The 2011 logo was an updated version of the 2010 emblem. The lens became glossier, and the edges became a lot lighter. The text “Insta” was added and placed right under the vertical rainbow. The 2011 version was a lot cleaner and aesthetically pleasing.
2016 – Present
The current version of the Instagram icon is nothing like the previous ones. The new icon is flat and looks like it has been created with minimalism trends in mind. Minimalism in logo design is something iconic brands have been adopting for the past few years. It allows the brands to express more using fewer design elements. While the new Instagram logo has been completely overhauled, it has retained the element that makes the logo timeless—the camera.
Now that we have explored all the logos adopted by the social networking site over the years, it is time to look at all the logotypes Instagram has used.
The original wordmark featured a handwritten cursive typeface. The letters were well-balanced and had a fun vibe.
The social networking site changed the typeface and the color palette in 2013. The Curves in the “I” and “G” were gone, making the wordmark look more professional.
The 2015 version of the wordmark was not much different from its 2011 counterpart. The lettering was left untouched, and the only visible change was the color palette. Instagram switched from sea-blue to a deeper shade of the same color.
2016 – Present
The present version of the wordmark is similar to its previous counterpart, except the online platform switched back to its original color, black. The color compliments the badge and gives it a more professional look.
Instagram uses rainbow colors to depict new beginnings, promises, hope, equality, fun, and joy. The rainbow gradient in the Instagram icon attracts the audience immediately. The rainbow has always been an integral part of the Instagram logo; however, the present badge takes the seven colors to the next level.
Good read: 14 ways to use the 7 colors of the rainbow in graphic design.
Instagram has executed its wordmark using tailor-made cursive lettering; however, the font appears very close to the Blue Vinyl Regular typeface. The typeface appears well-balanced and in sync with the brand personality.
Fun facts about Instagram
Before we get into the next section and explore what makes the Instagram logo stand out from its competitors, let us look at some fun facts about the social networking site.
- Instagram was called “Codename” before its launch.
- More than 50 billion photos have been uploaded and shared on Instagram.
- 8 percent of the accounts on Instagram are fake!
- Pizza is the most Instagrammed food.
- Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is the most followed celebrity on Instagram
- There are more than 1 million advertisers on Instagram.
- The most followed brands on the social networking site include Nike, Victoria’s Secret, National Geographic, and 9GAG.
- Instagram has more female users than males.
- There are 8 million business profiles on Instagram.
What makes the Instagram logo different?
Take a look at some of the most iconic logos; you will find that they have a few things in common that set them apart from their peers. The present Instagram logo also has similar traits that make it different from its competitors. Let us take a quick look at the elements that make the Instagram icon truly unique.
One of the most important traits all iconic logos share is their relevance. No matter how good a logo you have, it is doomed to fail if it is not relevant to the market your brand targets. A relevant logo informs the audience about what they can expect from the brand it represents.
The Instagram logo is relevant as it clearly communicates the brand personality. The online platform has used the rainbow gradient and a friendly-looking wordmark to inform the audience about its amiable personality. The camera-shaped icon also informs the audience about its key function—photo and video sharing.
The next vital trait all iconic logos share is its simplicity. Be it the famous Nike swoosh or the popular Coca-cola wordmark: simplicity is a force that makes logos iconic.
The world today is driven by pace: what that means is people have less time to focus. The shorter attention span has led brands to create simple yet powerful logos that would stay in the minds of the audience.
The Instagram logo is one such logo. The current Instagram icon has a flat design and highlights only the key aspects of the brand personality. The simple symbol and the wordmark never fail to attract the audience.
Studies have shown that the brain simplifies the most complex information to retain it. Uncomplicated logos free of excessive design elements are tailor-made for the brain to remember it. When the customers effortlessly remember your logo, it becomes easier for them to associate it with your brand.
The Instagram logo is uncomplicated and clutter-free and communicates the key aspects of the brand, which is why it is easy for the audience to recall and associate the icon with the photo and video-sharing platform.
Another vital aspect of a memorable logo is that they are unique. The Instagram logo is truly unique—the reason people remember it so easily.
Logos that have remained relevant over the years have gone on to become timeless. While it is tempting to use the latest design trends while creating a logo, it is not always the best thing to do. If the logo requires incorporating the latest fads, then that is another thing. However, using the trends to appear fashionable might prove to be a wrong decision.
The Instagram logo uses multiple color schemes without following the latest design trends. Many design gurus had also felt that the logo would fail to become popular. An article on the Guardian mentions the following:
“The previous one, a retro-looking camera, and one of the most recognizable tech logos out there, has been replaced by a background swirl of sunset colors and a white outline of a camera. As if the cameras was murdered, and chalk was drawn around its body. Murdered at sundown.”
While design gurus and critics may have varied opinions, we at DesignBro feel that the current Instagram logo has what it takes to become timeless.
Bonus: How Instagram can impact your presence online
Gone are the days when social networking sites were merely used for sharing personal updates and interesting photos. Social networking sites provide entrepreneurs and marketers a platform to talk about their brands and grow their businesses.
According to Instagram for Business, 90 percent of the social networking site’s users follow a business. What does that mean for your startup or small business? It simply means that you don’t have to spend a great deal on partnering with influencers to grow your presence on Instagram. With proper marketing strategies and great content, you can organically grow your business on Instagram.
Interesting read: Top US cities to start your business.
Let us look at three ways Instagram can help you grow your business.
- Flaunt your creative side
Instagram is all about photos and videos. From sharing appealing images of your products and services to creating fun reels about how your brand works, you can attract customers and potential buyers by hooking them through your content. You can think of Instagram as an online shopping mall where your customers can virtually window shop.
Here is a great video on making Instagram reels.
How to Make Instagram Reels Like a PRO!
- Create demand
According to Instagram, 50 percent of the users are more interested in a brand when they see their ads. Furthermore, Instagram has 1.9 billion daily active users. These are valuable insights for a marketer or a business owner. While it is true not everyone will see your ads, photos, or videos, Instagram can give you unimaginable visibility. The numbers are encouraging enough for you to create a demand for your products or services.
The following two ways can help you create demand and expand your reach:
- Hashtags are a must
You should never downplay the importance of Hashtags, especially when you share posts about your business. Using relevant Hashtags ensures people with similar interests get to see your photos or videos. #hoodies is a great example of a hashtag if you want to promote your new hoodies section. However, using too many hashtags can backfire and make you appear spammy.
- Geotags can make all the difference
Geotags allow you to share the coordinates of your location through the photos or the videos you share. This feature is especially useful for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. Allowing Instagram to publish the coordinates of your location allows customers and potential buyers to locate where you operate.
Instagram can be a great place to start if you have an event or a product launch. The platform can help you create awareness and build anticipation. You can create teaser videos or images along with sharing various branded merchandise. Promotional giveaways of your new products can help raise brand awareness.
You can grow your presence online organically without the support of influencers if you follow the above tactics.
The bottom line
The Instagram logo’s uniqueness lies in its simplicity. The neatly imagined camera with the rainbow gradient makes the Instagram icon attractive and powerful. The platform’s friendly personality and its willingness to help businesses grow are visible in its logo.
Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.