The Instagram rebrand embraces the “squircle” – a perfect union between the circle and square

“The single most important part of the brief for Instagram Sans was to develop a typographic DNA that prioritised accessibility and global scripts from the beginning,” Cynthia Pratomo, Instagram from Meta creative director, tells It’s Nice That. Creating a system that would house multiple global scripts, including Korean, Arabic and Kannada, while staying true to the soft, looping style the team had in mind, was an extensive project in and of itself. Both an in-depth audit into community needs and the collaboration with over 40 typographers and language experts went into the final scripts. “From there,” Instagram’s Daniel Soedderstedt explains, “we imagined it as a contemporary but timeless remix of typographic styles – it’s neither a traditional geometric nor grotesque.”
Instagram Sans is a brilliant example of the brand staying rooted in the history of the Instagram script while pushing it in new directions. Still prioritising legibility, the looping typeface is full of quirks that nod to the human hand, like the design of the ‘Q’ and ‘@’, and references to the Instagram script wordmark. It also embraces the near-spherical traits of the Instagram logo itself. Cynthia explains: “We knew we wanted the typeface to work harmoniously with our logo, but it was one of those aha moments when we unlocked the delightful story of literally referencing its’ form. Those in-between moments of a perfect circle and a square, which we lovingly call the ‘squircle’, show up throughout the typeface.”
Instagram has rebranded with a new identity that draws from the platform’s well-established branding history, while taking significant steps since its last refresh in 2016 – when the brand first moved from its polaroid logo to the well-known pink gradient mark. The new design sees two major changes in the platform’s brand architecture; the first is a vibrant update to the its existing gradient motif via 3D modelling. The second, is the introduction of a new brand typeface, Instagram Sans, which uniquely embodies the softly-rounded corners of the brand’s wordmark and logo. Typography, incidentally, was also the most crucial and challenging element in rebranding a platform utilised by more than a billion worldwide.

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