Home >mint-lounge >features >Instagram’s new black and white interface is actually brilliant

Popular image sharing social network Instagram has undergone a complete overhaul. The iconic logo, featuring a retro brown camera that was a reminder of the Polaroid cameras, has been completely changed, and what we now see is a new purple, orange and pink icon. In fact, the sister apps—Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse—are also getting completely new icons with similar colour themes. The changes aren’t limited to just the icon though.

Instagram is now rolling out a black-and-white design theme for all users. This was till now available only to a few users, on an experimental basis, but now the entire Instagram user base will get the refreshed look. The Instagram logo at the top of the screen, the direct message inbox icon, the like/comment/share options with each post on your timeline, as well as the five tabs for home, search, camera/upload, favourites and your profile are now dressed in black and white. The tab that you select will get a darker shade of black, with a red coloured dot below it to indicate where exactly you are navigating within the app.

Frankly, the evolution from a colourful interface to one that relies on a black and white theme does sound a bit perplexing at first—it is perhaps the complete opposite of how the television evolved, for example. But, start using the app, and you’ll soon realize that this change is actually a very good thing. Not only do the images get the undisputed limelight, the interface just feels much less cluttered.

Instagram has more than 400 million monthly users at present, and was bought by Facebook for $1 billion four years ago.

Whenever an app is updated, we immediately want to know what the new features are, and aspects such as subtle tweaks to usability tend to be relegated to the background—the latest update is all about the looks, and the rest of the feature set remains the same. But Instagram had for long stuck to the skeuomorphism that was popular with Apple’s iOS 6 and Google’s Android many years ago. But both those smartphone platforms shifted to flatter designs (Google switched to the Material Design), instead of the 3D-ish designs such as icons that would pop out. One of the biggest reasons for the redesign was to make Instagram and the family of apps feel more modern, be it on Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android.

Stripping colours away from an app’s interface actually makes a lot of sense. In our opinion, this update is actually a massive evolution for Instagram. You can download the new version of the Instagram apps now on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.

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