Instagram – now a physical camera
As the author of a daily gazette on design and branding, I guess I shouldn’t say this, but sometimes I find the industry we work in a tad baffling. Instagram – how come it’s the massive ‘Facebook to buy it for a billion dollars’ success that it is? There were plenty of other Apps with the same functionality that came earlier. Ok, this might be ‘the simplest, the best’ but if there are near identical ones around, is it worth all that dough? And the branding is not breaking any new ground either – it seems to purposefully ape the old Polaroid identity that its converted images resemble.
To add to my bafflement, they are planning to launch a physical camera in 2013. One that looks like and presumably delivers the retro charms of Polaroid in a digital format. So for as long as this particular retro style is fashionable, it will be a hit. But gaining such success on the basis of offering up nothing new? It seems a little curious.
However, like the 7-Eleven’s Farmville packs that were an early harbinger of the digital world becoming tangible (see link), I guess what is new here is how a digital format is influencing the physical world – there are also plans to market a picture frame that fits the format, and I bet a lot of social media design templates are being restructured to accommodate square formats. This leads to another source of personal bafflement – the visual nature of Instagram is currently fashionable. It follows that it will become unfashionable in time. So why saddle a nimble digital business with lumbering physical manifestations that will become redundant as fashion moves on?
That said, what do I or any of us know? It’s all pretty baffling – remember when the .com craze had everybody plotting ideas not yet thought up? Who knew the big hits would be about rehashing what we already have (and indeed have elected to stop buying, in Polaroid’s case).