What Happened to the Snapchat Logo?!
Every few months most smartphone or smart-device users will get a notification telling them that one or more of their apps needs updating. Some users, myself included, even have their apps set to update automatically. Most of the time these updates are minor changes meant to fix bugs or to add new features, and they generally go unnoticed. When the update involves making a change to an app’s icon, however, any slight change seems to make a huge difference to consumers.
The Snapchat app, for example, just recently underwent an update that changed the app’s icon. Those who updated the app, and especially those whose apps update automatically, have noticed a minute change to the app’s icon: a slightly bolder outline around the Snapchat ghost. A change to the icon would probably go unnoticed for any other app, but to the social media platform’s 190 million daily active users, this change made a huge difference. Even I will admit that, upon waking up and turning my phone on, I instantly realized that something was off. It was not until I took to Twitter that I found I was not the only one feeling uneasy about this change.
But what is it about this update that has users feeling so uncomfortable? That was surely the question Snapchat employees were asking each other after receiving backlash for the update, but this user sums up the problem pretty well. If you take a look at the apps you have on your phone right now, you may notice that it is rare for an app to have such a bold outline. And while this seems like a petty complaint, it is hard to argue that the Snapchat app now stands out from the apps surrounding it—which may have been Snapchat’s goal all along.
This is not the first time that users have protested against an app changing its icon. In 2016, Instagram changed its icon from the beloved brown polaroid with a rainbow stripe to the minimalistic purple, white and orange design that it is today, and the internet went ballistic. This was much more than adding a bolder outline to a logo—this was changing it outright. The New York Times even called the response “The Great Instagram Logo Freakout of 2016.” It took a year or two for users to come to terms with this change, and now many Instagram users actually prefer the new design to the old one. I’m sure we will all come to terms with the new Snapchat logo even sooner, but users will continue their grumbling for the time being. So, whether or not you like or dislike the app’s new icon, my eye continues to be drawn to it, and that may just prove the update’s genius.