Yesterday, Instagram went the way of Uber and rebranded. It replaced its understated, old-school Polaroid camera symbol with a neon and abstract version of something similar.

It seems that both Instagram and Uber updated their logos to reflect their updated identities. Instagram said it was because the platform now supports "photos and videos." For Uber, it was because the company now does more than just connect drivers with riders.

But did the old logos actually need to go? Was there something fundamentally inappropriate about a cool, modern U representing Uber, and a camera representing what is still primarily a photo app?

Just as was the case with Uber, as soon as Instagram rolled out the new emblem, the internet reacted strongly. Tweet highlights:

  • "My eyes cannot un-see the atrocity that is the new Instagram logo."
  • "I usually embrace change but the @instagram update reminds me of Windows 95 and the icon looks like 3rd place in a middle school competition."
  • "The new Instagram logo looks like a rejected Starburst flavor."

Adweek's article on the subject was, "Instagram's New Logo Is a Travesty. Can We Change It Back? Please?" And The New York Times ran, "The Great Instagram Logo Freakout of 2016."

The fact is, as humans, we form emotional bonds. With people, with brands, and, yes, with logos. And the brands and logos with which we form the strongest bonds are likely apps--those on devices that we spend more time with than we do most loved ones.

If there was coherent logic behind the rebrand--if, for example, the direction of the company had actually fundamentally shifted--it would be easier to make the transition. It would be easier to let go of something that brightened your day a little bit, like a cute and classic camera icon. But there isn't.

The outrage also points to a larger trend and expectation of modern consumers: Most want to feel included in, not dictated to. When companies that have such an impact on our daily lives change something as fundamental as their logo without so much as a warning, as ridiculous as it may seem, it's easy to feel left out. And disappointed.

I was partial to the old Uber logo. I adored the old Instagram one. I will genuinely miss them, and I'm kind of annoyed that I'll have to.

The point is this: When tech companies like Uber and Instagram reflect their "new" identities by switching logos, they're missing something important in the process--users don't like it.

Branding is a delicate thing. It should stay consistent unless there's a truly compelling reason to change. 

Or, as one Twitter user put it:

"Instagram getting a new 'look' is like 22-year-olds getting 'preventative Botox.' Completely unnecessary."

Published on: May 12, 2016