The new Instagram logo — not more visually attracting

 In attention, eye-tracking, neuroaesthetics, neuromarketing, NeuroVision

The famous photo sharing, Kodak-killing, smartphone app service Instagram recently changed their logo from the well-known camera-based icon to a more generic, abstract logo. Now, one may say lots about the actual change in design, and whether it was a good or a bad idea. Some immediate thoughts are that the new logo fails to bring the same sense of “familiarity” as the old logo did. The old logo in many ways has almost a nostalgic feel to it, and the new logo does not at all try to do this.

The Instagram logos; the new (left) and the old (right) show very different design properties

The Instagram logos; the new (left) and the old (right) show very different design properties


A second problem could be that the new logo seems like a logo much less unique compared to the vast logo space that is out there. If the aim is to bring Instagram together with other services, having a family of logos definitely makes sense. If this is not the case, then the new logo may fail to resonate with users for being sufficiently recognisable and unique.

This said, still escapes the issue of whether the new logo will attract attention to itself. Indeed, how likely is it that users, viewers, and visitors will be more likely to spot the new logo automatically? Here, many could use eye-tracking to answer the question, and legitimately so. But why not at least start with an analysis of the visual saliency of the logos? 

Here, we have analysed the two logos — in a “mano a mano” battle — on which will attract the most automatic visual attention. Here, we are using NeuroVision, our internally developed and thoroughly validated online app solution for running analyses of images and videos. The app analyses an image based on what we know about the brain’s visual processing, and what attracts attention automatically (brightness, contrast, density, movement, angles, and more).

The results of the analysis is displayed as either a “heat map” or a “fog map” that displays the most salient features of that image. This allows us to analyse both a one-on-one winner of a competition for attention, or even what items on a single object that attracts automatic attention. The tool has been widely used in advertising, retail, web design, media, gaming, and many other industries with great success.

By running the analysis we made an interesting observation: the new logo simply does not attract any automatic attention! Instead, the older logo runs with all the focus. Particular features of the old logo ensure this attention, such as the colourful features on the top left, and the top right section with the flash being present.

instagram logo a bad idea

A NeuroVision analysis of the two Instagram logos shows a clear winner: the old logo gets almost all the attention. Specific features produce this effect. The NeuroVision heat map shows warmer colours to demonstrate features that are more visually salient and thereby more likely to attract automatic attention from consumers.

By simply running this easy, DIY analysis in only a few seconds, Instagram could have saved themselves from a horrible mistake! If attention is not ensured in the first place, what is the likelihood that it can generate emotional response, recognition, and sustained interest?

If you want to know more, please go to the NeuroVision web page and try it out. Stay tuned for a large announcement and a registration campaign!

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