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Why Instagram updated its logo


If you've used the Smart Phone app "Instagram" for a long time, you know that it was originally designed to let people take a photo and make it look like an old-fashioned Polaroid, or Instamatic camera photo. That is, off-color, blurry, and maybe having sat in a drawer for decades. The original logo (at the top of this post) is a simplified image of an Instamatic camera.

It was a fun idea - using filters to give visual interest to ordinary photos. And the technique of doing "old-timey" photo effects has always been popular, going back to making photos look like they were taken during the "Wild West" at a portrait studio.

And people loved it. So much so that Instagram became incredibly popular. And it became popular, not with serious photographers, but with ordinary people taking ordinary photos that they just wanted to make look a little bit more interesting.

And then the Marketing people discovered Instagram. And now it's not just a goofy little app on your Smart Phone, it's a major Marketing tool. Yes, a lot of people still use it to give an old-timey look to their photos, but more and more it's being used for photos of anything, especially products to be sold.

So Instagram changed its logo. It's now just a simple graphic, with no reference to its humble origins. Of course, the name has to remain the same. But people quickly forgive names that are goofy, or nonsensical, like Motorola (a very 1950s naming technique - adding "ola" to something, like a motor), or the iPhone (which means Internet Phone. Yep, but who cares?).

The origins of Instagram, and its original logo, will quickly become trivia, the way that you can tell people that KFC originally meant Kentucky Fried Chicken, or that NBC meant the National Broadcasting Company.

So even if a company has a goofy name, it can usually find a way to wiggle out of it, and make people forget its goofiness. Instamatic Camera filters are the way that Instagram started, but that's not what it's about anymore.

Current Instagram logo.