“When Instagram was founded over five years ago, it was a place for you to easily edit and share photos. Over those five years, things have changed,” says Ian Spalter, Instagram’s Head of Design. “Instagram is now a diverse community of interests where people are sharing more photos and videos than ever before, using new tools like Boomerang and Layout, and connecting in new ways through Explore.”
Instagram’s icon is now filled with color and more og an outline then anything else, the app itself has had the colour removed. Instead of using the classic blue and white in the app’s chrome, the new black and white design allows the color in the app to come from the community and what’s being shared.
The buttons remain in the same positions, and pops of color are still shown to highlight things like notifications. There are some slight back end changes - Instagram now uses standard iOS and Android components, fonts and patterns. But the app itself is simply a cleaner, more modern version of the Instagram we know and love.
Instagram’s larger suite of apps, including Layout, Hyperlapse and Boomerang, have also received new icons. These new icons now better reflect what their app does in some cases. For example, the collage maker Layout has gone from a square to a grid. They also now match the new Instagram icon’s color scheme.
The icon’s update feels as dramatic as iOS 7 once did when Apple’s Jony Ive unveiled the operating system’s newer, flatter look-and-feel and its brighter color gradients. This initially prompted some user backlash among Apple fans who had trouble adjusting.
While the makeover is dramatic, it’s not tied to the other forthcoming changes, like the rollout of Business Profiles due in a few months which will have a "Contact" feature button.
Instagram has been working on this redesign since last year and ended up testing more than 300 icons before arriving on a lead candidate in late November 2015. The company then worked on the user interface update, which had been tested internally since the beginning of the year.
Those tests finally made it out into the wild in the past couple of weeks, which is when users spotted them and the news of the redesign was leaked. The company doesn’t share details on its internal tests or how the changes impacted key metrics like user engagement.
With 400 million users worldwide who share more than 80 million photos and videos daily, it’s not likely that the company would roll out an update of this kind if it were worried the changes could negatively impact any of its numbers.