Charli Marie

We have to talk about the Instagram rebrand [Issue #60]

published4 months ago
4 min read

Did you hear, Reader? Instagram did a brand refresh.

Their gradient is brighter now.

Okay okay, there’s more to it than that. They’ve also got a new custom font, and honestly a change like this for such a huge brand is really interesting to look at more closely. So in today’s issue we’re going to do just that, but first I want to make sure you’ve seen this epic new project we launched at ConvertKit not long ago.

The State of the Creator Economy in 2022

I am SO freaking proud of this report. We wanted to shine a light on the creators who make up the creator economy, so we conducted the research, did the analysis and have produced this epic 70+ page report with tons of visuals and data points that you can learn from. If you visit the report site you’ll see a roundup of our ten favorite insights, and be able to download the full PDF for more.

David on the Brand team designed this gorgeous site, and our wonderful graphic design contractor Hollie did the PDF layout. And you may have seen me working on charts in a livestream or two!

I promise it’s worth checking out even just to marvel at the design, but if you’re a creator then it’s a must-read. It’d mean a lot to me if you’d share it too!

Instagram's brand refresh

Small tweaks are a big deal when you’re a massive global brand used by a billion people. Not only is that a lot of users you’ll get unsolicited feedback from, but assets created by third-parties to promote your brand instantly become out of date.

We’re going through a brand refresh at ConvertKit right now; refining our use of colours and illustration styles, as well as maybe our brand font. Even at our much smaller scale, these still feel like huge decisions; ones that as Creative Director I personally feel a lot of pressure for getting ‘right’. So I know that making these changes wasn’t something Instagram did lightly!

Creative Director Cynthia Pratomo said in an interview with It’s Nice That:

“The world is so familiar with the Instagram brand that making any type of change is challenging. We want our system to be true to the spirit of Instagram – not simply change for the sake of change.”

Let’s take a closer look at these changes then!

An illuminated gradient

Funny how this new gradient makes the old one look incredibly dull, isn’t it?

Instagram said they wanted the new icon to feel “lit from within”, which I think we can agree they’ve accomplished. Instead of being a static blend of colours, the gradient is created from a 3D modelling process and the blend and mix of colors will change based on different applications.

There’s a fun little tool on that shows you different mixes of the gradient.

The official rationale for this is that the gradient is: “Responding to its context, it invites interaction.” Okay yeah, I guess it does look engaging. But if I were an Instagram brand designer I know I’d just be hella stoked at the extra freedom in not having to make the gradient the exact same all the time.

When seen as separate color swatches, they’re honestly so bright that they hurt my eyes a little.

But I have to give it to Instagram for the elegant way in which they’ve used these colors. It’s easy for colors that bright to look childish, but the way they’ve applied them looks creative and cool. Just enough color to bring vibrancy, but not so much that it overwhelms.

Instagram Sans

Designed in partnership with Colophon Foundry (and other global type foundries), Instagram Sans is a completely custom typeface that’s not only used for Instagram’s new wordmark and in their brand assets, but also available for users in the app itself to add text to Stories and Reels.

The type is pretty geometric, and ties in nicely with the ‘squircle’ logo given this shape is applied to the geometry of the letters too.

The Headline font in particular is interesting to me. It’s a sans serif with elements of a script, which is apparently paying homage to the previous wordmarks.

Given Instagram’s global popularity, it makes sense for them to have prioritised non-Latin scripts too. Having designed a font myself (plug plug, check out Grayscale here!) and been busy enough with all of the characters needed outside of the 26 letters in the English alphabet I can’t imagine what the working font file for Instagram Sans looks like!

While I’m not super convinced of the legibility of the headline font, what I like about it is that it’s unique and interesting! Companies like Instagram haven’t gotten to where they are by being safe and boring after all.

Check out this post on the Design at Meta blog for more details and I’d love to know what you think. Are you double-tapping to give this rebrand a ‘like’? Or is it a miss for you?

Reply and let me know!

New series: Documenting our design system process

I’m kicking off a new series where I’m taking full advantage of ConvertKit’s ‘Work in public’ company value by sharing the details and process for our new marketing design system!

You’ll get to see how we tackle this mammoth project as a small team of 3 (who also have other responsibilities…) as well as get the inside scoop on the brand refresh changes I mentioned above. I plan on making updates every few months as we work on getting it in place, and you can go watch the first episode now to see where we’ve started and what our goals for the system are.

Enjoy this issue? Click the heart to let me know!


See you next week,

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