As much as we are attracted to the new, we simultaneously cling to the familiar. This tension means that some redesigns — particularly in the realm of graphic design — can inspire surprisingly visceral public backlash. Earlier this year, for instance, Instagram updated its logo and app icon, simplifying the design and making it more colorful. The chorus of online moaning and mockery that followed grew so loud that it was actually reported on by The Times, which called it a “freak out.” Instagram didn’t budge, but a similar backlash in 2010 caused the Gap to retract plans for a new logo it had floated online. The University of California pulled back key elements of a redesign that met with a similarly furious response.
Probably the most notorious and consequential example involved Tropicana. In 2009, the brand rolled out a new look that included a full redesign of its familiar packaging and visual identity, dropping its orange-with-a-straw-in it logo — corny, perhaps, but very familiar