Welp, yesterday Instagram rolled out version 2.0 of its popular (and growing) photo sharing app for the iPhone. Live filters, new filters, higher-resolution photos, etc. You can read more about that stuff here, but I want to focus on a relatively small but important update: the app icon. As a designer I’m often enamored by beautiful app icons, especially on the iPhone’s retina display. They are an important part of a product’s identity and although you have already been “sold” on the app since you’ve downloaded it, the icon is a detail not to be overlooked. It captures the essence of your product in all its square, little, rounded-corner glory. I think the Instagram 2.0 icon is a wonderful update. Just like the app, I liked the icon just fine before. Isn’t that the best kind of update though? Something you already like gets even better. Apple is great at this. The Instagram icon update is subtle and at first glance I couldn’t articulate what was different about it (more shadowing, more contrast, INST to Insta below the color stripes) but I knew it was different somehow. It feels better. Sometimes things don’t need an explanation, it’s just ok that they “feel” better. They certainly did not need to update the icon but I’m glad they did. This very high attention to the minor details is a characteristic of a “great” brand/product and something often overlooked by a “good” one.
(The layout of the Instagram icons above is a nod to one of our favorite and most visited blogs, Brand New.)