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A Short History Behind Instagram: Logo, Symbol, And Meaning

by Alice Jackson Tweet - in Logo Design

Did you know the Instagram logo is among the most recognizable emblems? People trust this logo as a symbol of confidently sharing pictures across the web. But this logo has its own evolutionary history, showing how it started on a humble note. Then, it ultimately became a modern, shining minimalist design driving billions of users to various Instagram pages.  

How Old Is Instagram?

When did Instagram come out? Do you know the exact date? Let us tell you about it. The Instagram app was launched on Oct. 6, 2010. Initially, it was available only for iOS.4. 

American computer programmer and entrepreneur Kevin Systrom was the founder of Instagram along with Mike Krieger. 

The app has steadily grown rock-solid since its 14 years of Instagram history. Today, the app boasts over 3.8 billion downloads! The data game doesn’t end here. 

What Does It have For Marketers And Content Creators?

As a marketer or content creator, you can explore more than 900 Instagram symbols to give your bio a unique look with a minimalist vibe. It helps in engaging the audience and showing off your personality.  

These symbols and your content also help build your tone and voice on this visual platform. To get maximum from this social channel, ensure that your Instagram branding is second to none and has a personality.

You might also be wondering if Instagram Reels or Instagram Stories are the best for marketing. Well, that will depend on your business type and its branding requirements. 

But make sure you know about the Instagram Story trends and templates when creating your stories on this visual medium. That will help tap into the right audience base. .  

Instagram is now the marketers’ favorite visual channel. You can create an effective Instagram marketing strategy to reach millions of potential customers. 

A Short History Behind Instagram: Logo, Symbol, And Meaning.

2010: The Cluttered Polaroid Camera Logo

Instagram created its first logo in 2010. At that time, it had a lot of elements to send a message to the target audience. It had a camera lens, viewfinder, big red and black dots, a flashlight at the top, a colorful long strip, and the brand name ‘Instagram.

2010: The cluttered Polaroid camera logo of Instagram

The ig icon looked more like a picture and frontal shot of a Polaroid camera. In 2010, it was a remarkable logo and looked different and unique from many social media icons. 

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2010 To 2011: The Classic Viewfinder Logo 

Instagram recreated its one-year-old logo to give it a new look. The Polaroid camera logo had too many elements and was a cluttered design. The new ig logo was the work of photographer and designer Cole Rise, who created the shutter logo with a minimalist approach. 

2010 to 2011: The classic viewfinder logo  of Instagram

The rainbow strip of the first logo was shortened and put in the top left corner. The Insta logo was now brown to give it a uniform look. Some text in the form of the shortened brand name ‘Insta’ also appeared in sans serif font. The selfies had become a craze with the people by then. 

So, the new logo had the viewfinder element found in a prominent place at the top right corner. Many people interpreted the viewfinder as the front camera used for taking selfies.

2011 To 2016: Logo With Depth And Glare 

This time, the logo appeared more or less like the previous one. But the new logo had more subtle details. The top section of Instagram’s old logo was given a leathery textured feel. Also, the lens looked more realistic by giving it some glare and depth. Then, there were contrasting gradients as well. 

2011 to 2016: Logo with depth and glare  of Instagram

Another change was regarding the rainbow strip on the top left corner. The strip was broader this time, displaying red, yellow, green, and blue, the four primary colors.  The ‘Insta’ abbreviation appeared in bold serif. 

2016-2022 – Minimalist Gradient Design 

Instagram overhauled its logo completely in 2016 with a flatter version of the logo. While some elements from the old Instagram logo were still there, they appeared in different shapes and forms. The new logo had a rounded square shape, a Polaroid shutter, and rainbow brand colors. But these elements looked unique as part of the new logo. 

2016-2022 - Minimalist gradient design  of Instagram

The front camera of the old logo became a bold white dot at the top corner to represent the shutter. There was a color strip that, in the new logo, turned into a gradient that filled up the whole logo. 

This was a minimalist logo, with every element from the previous logo minimized to an abstract level. The logo also had a flatter form, with its colors having a blue-to-orange-to-pink gradient. The word ‘Insta’ of the old logo was also removed. So, it was a logo with no use of typography.    

A unique feature of the new logo was bold white lines that gave the impression of a camera silhouette. 

2022 To Today: A Brighter Version. 

Instagram made some changes in its logo design by brightening its color palette. There were no changes in its shape, bold white lines, and the big white dot. The blue color at the top left was toned down. But the pink and yellow became brighter than before. This made the logo noticeable. 

2022 to today: A brighter version.  of Instagram

Describing the brightened logo, Cynthia Pratomo, Creative Director of Instagram, said, “We approached the design evolution from a spirit of innovation and exploration by assembling a brain trust of global typographers, artists, and creative technologists who would push the boundaries. Along with it, we kept the best of the brand while infusing it with new energy and powers of expression.”

Instagram icon meaning

The Instagram logo was initially cluttered with many elements packed in a tiny space. Later, it was simplified, just a shape with bright colors today. But the logo is a symbol with a meaning.  

The first Polaroid OneStep instant camera logo in 2010 had a rainbow strip. This design represented the hope for the people recovering from the recession. The second logo featured many elements and represented the beginning of the photo-sharing app era. Today’s logo is just a brightened shape and stands for the essence of the Instagram brand. 

The Instagram icon’s meaning is clear today to viewers due to its vibrant design. It wishes to brighten people’s lives with pictures and colors. It also makes the design vibrant and multidimensional. Such gradient color gives the logo a 3D look. 

‍Take note of the logo shape as well. Its square shape looks different due to the rounded corners, which gives the logo a unique shape and design. It can be called a squircle since it has no hard corners or pointed lines. 

So, the IG logo has evolved from being a cluttered design to a simple and minimalist design today. This journey shows how a logo design changes over the years to convey a new message to a new set of audiences.

If your small business needs a unique logo like the Instagram logo, Designhill is the right platform to explore. The platform offers many DIY tools, such as logo maker that simplifies the logo design process for you. 

Besides, you also get access to its industry-specific tools like an Instagram logo maker, TikTok logo maker, and many others to help you make a logo on your own. You can consider the core messaging you want to convey through your logo, and create the exact one without breaking the bank.

Your small business can still get a unique emblem without burdening your budget. 

Wrapping Up  

The IG logo that we see today has a minimalist design with a 3D look. But it was different a few years back. It started as a cluttered design with multiple elements in a tiny space. But now, it has undergone many logo changes and evolved to become a simple logo that successfully conveys its brand identity and message. Today, the logo is a symbol of excellence.

Alice Jackson is a business consultant, blogger, social media enthusiast, online market analyst, amateur designer and an avid author at Designhill. She has written on several topics including social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, startup strategies and e-commerce. When she’s not writing, she loves spending her time reading romantic novels, Connect with her on Twitter: @jackson_alice1



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