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Instagram Logo: History and Evolution of a Social Media Icon

instagram logo

Attractive brand symbols are a requirement for every business that wants to evolve and grow. Social media platforms rely on them quite heavily to attract and engage users. Today, we will discuss the evolution of one of the most popular social media icons – the Instagram logo.

Part of the Facebook family today, the platform bought a unique perspective to existing social media practices. It introduced an image-based social platform that users could use to snap, modify their pictures, and tag other users.

And it was a huge success. Before 2010, no one could’ve ever imagined that a social media platform based on image sharing could be worth millions. But Instagram proved them all wrong. While many companies hire professional logo design services to create an iconic symbol, the Instagram symbol was created in-house by co-founder Kevin Systrom.

Let’s take a look at how the intricate initial design became the iconic logo today.

1- The History of the Social Media Platform Represented by the Instagram Logo

The social media platform is known today as Instagram is another incredible creation out of Silicon Valley. The name is a combination of the words Instant and Telegram, and it represents one of the world’s most well-known and profitable brands.

As of mid-2020, the platform had over a billion active users worldwide, with accounts for women slightly higher in ratio than men. But how did it get its start?

The platform resulted from an idea by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who first created an app called Burbn. This app was a check-in app like foursquare. Still, soon the owners shifted the focus of the product towards photo-sharing to go in a different direction.

In March of 2010, the duo attracted a couple of venture capitalists from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. They saw and appreciated the entrepreneurial streak of Systrom and invested $500000 as a seed fund into the Burbn/Instagram project.

Once the project gained funding, it started to attract various talents to it. Josh Riedel joined in October 2010 as a community manager, Shane Sweeney joined in as a technical engineer in November 2010, and Jessica Zollman as the brand evangelist in August 2011.

Logopoppin

Logopoppin

Logopoppin is a graphic design agency that specializes in logo designing, web development, video production and advanced branding services. We love to innovate businesses with new age technologies, allowing them to improve their visual reputation.

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1.1- The Rise of the Hashtag

To help their users find photos and other users, the Instagram team introduced the concept of the hashtag in January 2011. But the problem arose that generic tags could muddle up the experience.

To counter that, Instagram encouraged its users to use specific hashtags that were relevant to the conversation. These features, as well as the unique USP of the platform, quickly made it famous. In February 2011, an investment company called Benchmark Capital valued the project at $25 million.

This quick rise in popularity and the valuation put forth by the investment firm attracted private investors. They included the likes of Chris Sacca, Adam D’Angelo, and even Twitter’s Jack Dorsey into investing a further $7 million into the Instagram project.

2- The Inception of the Instagram Logo

Instagram logo current

Savvy businesspeople know the value a good logo brings to a brand. It can impact how the viewers perceive your brand and how they interact with the company. That is why businesses need to pay attention to the styles and types of logos that are popular within their niche. That helps to create a memorable symbol that allows the customer to associate them with the right market industry.

The original Instagram logo was quite suited to the brand at the time, especially with the services they were offering. Unfortunately, the design was too complicated and rich in detail to be considered a logo.
Realizing the fact, the team decided to redesign the logo to simplify it yet still portray the same vibe. Over the last decade, the logo has seen a few iterations to update it according to the new design aesthetics.

2.1- Instagram Logo Font

Choosing the suitable logo fonts is an integral part of the logo design process, especially when the wordmark is quite prominent or appears standalone. In the case of Instagram, the wordmark is considered a part of the graphics of the symbol.

The cursive script used by the logo was custom-designed to order by the graphics agency Mackey Saturday. This custom font was used to create the second iteration of the wordmark in 2013 and is characterized by a much smoother design resembling well-lettered calligraphy.

The font style used in the logotype is quite similar to popular typefaces like the Billabong Regular, the Bluestar Regular, and the Avangard Regular. These fonts are known to have rounded letters with smooth edges and soft lines, designed to be elegant.

2.2- Instagram Logo Color Palette

The Instagram logo color palette has changed over the years. After the first design, which featured an elaborate pic of a polaroid camera, the subsequent two iterations used a simplified version of the logo. While still showing the image of a camera with a rainbow stripe, the new design featured muted shades of brown to color the camera’s design.

However, the 2016 redesign changed that completely. The new logo was colored entirely in shades of the rainbow stripe, mixing the reds, the yellows, and the blues.

3- The Evolution of the Primary Instagram Logo Through the Years

Instagram logo history
Source: Logomyway.com

The Instagram symbol is characterized by a custom and distinctive wordmark, as well as a logomark. First, let’s discover the logomark’s evolution and see how it has changed from the original Instagram symbol to the Instagram logo 2021. Over the years, we have seen four different versions of the logo, with the current iteration being the most unique.

The design has always depicted the company’s primary offering – the modification and posting of images to a central platform. While now you can post short videos, the camera imagery is still suited to that task. That is why the platform’s symbols can be considered some of the unique photography logo ideas that could have represented the brand.

3.1- The First Instagram Symbol 2010

first Instagram logo 2010

The first year of the platform saw the inception of two different logo designs. The first one was released at the launch of Instagram. This logo was a detailed image of an instant polaroid camera, which prints the photographs immediately once it captures them.

It was a highly detailed design, which showed the front-facing camera with a viewfinder, lens, and the top-mounted flash as the most prominent features. The shutter button and the depth light also accompanied them, but that wasn’t the end of the detail.

The camera had a well-defined shadow, and the reflection of various elements was depicted in the camera’s body. This highly elaborate design was counterproductive for use as a logo, which is why it was changed shortly afterward.

3.2- The First Redesign of the Instagram Symbol 2010

second Instagram logo 2010

Later that year, in 2010, Kevin Systrom decided that it was time to bring on professional help to recreate the logo. He hired designer and photographer Cole Rise, who created a new logo after getting inspired by the vintage Bell & Howard camera from the mid-1950s.

This redesign came about after realizing that their original logo was too intricate to be an effective logo. Moreover, as users started coming onto the platform, it became apparent that a more modern-looking design was needed. That is why the designer remade the symbol completely.

Now, the focus was on the camera lens, which was enlarged and centered onto the image. The viewfinder remained at the top right. However, there was no flash to be found now. The platform’s name was abbreviated to the left of the lens, with a rainbow-colored stripe emerging up from it.

3.3- Modifying the Instagram Symbol 2011

second redesign Instagram logo 2016

As the new logo was reviewed by the increasingly rising numbers of new users, the feedback resulted in minor changes to the design in 2021. The bright rainbow stripe was now more distinctive, with each color stripe being prominent now.

The camera lens was made more detailed, with lens flare and depth, as well as the addition of the iconic blue hue commonly found in such lenses. Finally, the name abbreviation too was changed. The new word now said Insta, an abbreviation that was far easier to remember and communicate than the previous INST.

3.4- The Completely Redesigned Instagram Symbol 2016

current Instagram logo 2016

In 2016, the company decided to redo its logo for a better design, more in tune with modern design trends. The designers hired for this project decided to do away with the camera’s image and instead opted for an outline depicting one.

The new Instagram logo was quite minimalistic compared to the ones before and gave a futuristic vibe. The outlines portrayed the body of the camera, the lens, and the viewfinder. The lines were done in white, while inside and outside, the design was colored in a bright gradient of shades ranging from light to dark colors of the rainbow.

The shape of the logo was still square, with rounded edges just like the previous symbols.

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4- Instagram Live Logo

Instagram live logo

In late 2016, after Facebook, YouTube and Twitter came up with live-streaming capabilities, Instagram introduced a similar feature called Instagram Live. Alongside direct story messaging, this was one of the two major additions that every social media platform has added to its functions in recent years.

Its logo is the same as the original Instagram logomark, only an added wordmark accompanying it, spelling LIVE.

5- Instagram Logo Icons

As many businesses rely on social media platforms to create their pages to market their brand, the demand for icons representing these platforms is relatively high. As a popular marketing and branding tool, Instagram has also launched various social media icons for business cards and websites.

5.1- Instagram Logo White

Instagram icons white
Some of the icons through the years have been colored white with simple black outlines. These icons were mainly used on either monochromatic medium or dark backgrounds. As you can see in the image above, one of the variants features the old design, while the other features the new logo design.

5.2- Instagram Logo Black

Instagram icons black

Like the Instagram logo in white, the Instagram symbol in black were icons designed to be portrayed onto light or monochromatic backgrounds. They were more commonly used for business cards, especially those who used a one or two-shade color palette. The sample above features the icon with three different logo styles from the years past.

5.3- The Multicolor Instagram Logo Vector

Instagram icons color

The current Instagram icon is quite simple, just a smaller version of the main symbol. As a modern and straightforward design, the logo translates quite well to various sizes. At the same time, the color palette makes it quite distinctive. These icons are mainly used on modern web pages to depict that brand’s various social media handles.

6- Instagram Logo Wordmark and its Evolution through the Decade

Instagram logo wordmark history
Alongside the main logomark, the wordmark for Instagram has also evolved in the past decade. Let’s look at how the platform’s secondary logo has changed over the years.

6.1- The First Instagram Logo Black And White 2010

first wordmark Instagram

The first wordmark was introduced, along with the introduction of the platform itself. The first iteration was quite simply made to mimic a handwritten word. The style of the letter m with different heights to its edges, the haphazard shape of the letter s, and the unorthodox form of the initial I was designed to resemble a handwritten word.

6.2- The Second Instagram Wordmark 2013

second version Instagram
The second logo iteration was released two years later, designed by graphics agency Mackey Saturday. This made-to-order logo was created to smooth out the inconsistencies of the previous wordmark. The result was a far more aesthetically pleasing wordmark logo that still resembled an excellent calligraphic work without the issues of handwritten fonts.

6.3- The Third Iteration of the Instagram Wordmark 2015

The third iteration just tweaked the shade of the color blue for the font. The style and the design were the same as the previous logo. However, the shadow of the color blue used in it was now a few steps lighter and, thus, brighter. The reasoning behind it was to color it using a more enhanced blue shade for a more eye-pleasing contrast.
third iteration Instagram

6.4- The Current Instagram Logo Wordmark 2016

current Instagram wordmark
In 2016, the only change was the shifting of the color palette from blue to black. The rest of the design was the same, including the font and the style of writing. The move was made to create a complementary wordmark to the now quite colorful primary Instagram symbol. The new color scheme was a far better contrast than the previous one for this iteration of the primary logo.

7- Why is the Instagram Logo 2021 so Popular?

The Instagram symbol hasn’t always been famous. In 2016, when the design was last modified into its current form, the company faced a lot of backlash from its fans and the media. The design change was so drastic and unneeded that the fans felt that the platform did them a disservice.

However, five years later, in 2021, Instagram is still going strong. And the critics of the new design have long gone silent. Moreover, since its sale to Facebook, the platform has seen an even more massive surge in its user base.

So much was the original idea, and its creators revered that when Systrom and Krieger decided to [art ways with the company in 2018, the world was shocked and quite sad. And while it was a highly emotional time both for the company and its founders, the announcement and the resultant media frenzy only bought more attention to the app.

In a decade’s worth of service, the platform has seen quite an unprecedented user base, especially considering it was a unique concept at that time. Moreover, it has helped established hundreds of thousands of brands and aided them in promoting their business, especially in the past few years.

7.1- Instagram Logo for Business Cards and Websites

An increasing number of businesses and entrepreneurs are using social media platforms for their branding today. Many of them are looking to add new and multiple communication channels to their existing websites or business cards. That allows these professionals to cover a variety of ways to reach and connect with their consumers.

You can easily download the Instagram logo png to add to your visiting cards or even as a favicon on your website. That would allow anyone looking for you to choose the most convenient option to contact you, increasing the chances of becoming a lead.