So This Is How The Instagram Filters Got Their Names

We all have our favourite Instagram filters, right?

Perhaps you’re a big fan of Juno, or you like to highlight your features with Crema. Then there’s Ludwig, X-Pro II, Hefe…

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But have you ever wondered how these filters got their names?

Luckily for you, the clever people at Refinery 29 have got in touch with Instagram HQ to find out how they came up with the catchy monikers.

According to communications manager Liz Bourgeois, it was actually the wife of co-founder Kevin Systrom who first suggested they add filters to their photo-sharing app.

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However, it took a while for things to become as sophisticated as they are now.

When Instagram launched in 2010, neither Kevin nor colleague Mike Krieger gave much thought to the names. But now 250 members of staff get together to come up with new ideas.

Who would’ve thought there would be so much meaning behind your images…


Krieger’s assistant was testing out this filter by snapping pictures of her young son, who often slept through the portrait sessions.


This minimalist filter is named after German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who popularised the phrase ‘less is more’.

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Systrom was working on the Valencia filter from a coffee shop on Valencia Street in San Francisco.


Cape Perpetua – a forested headland in Oregon that juts into the Pacific Ocean – has a lush feel with green undertones.


Krieger’s Bernese Mountain dog is named Juno.

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X-Pro II

X-Pro is short for a technique called ‘cross-processing’, which is when you process photos in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film.

This high-contrast filter (like a lot of the early ones) was intended to correct the not-fantastic camera phones that were around when Instagram began.


This filter makes your snaps light and creamy, like a layer of foam on a coffee drink.


Apparently Instagram staffers love their hefeweizen (wheat beer). Without the ‘weizen’ you get Hefe, which has a vibrant yet cosy vibe similar to beer goggles.

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Lord Kelvin was a scientist who studied – among other things – temperature, which explains why this filter’s so warm.


Product manager John Barnett was working on this filter at Point Reyes, a peninsula in Marin County, California which boasts a ‘dusty, warm’ feeling.


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Instagram’s most popular filter gets its name from Clarendon Heights, a wealthy San Francisco neighbourhood known for its gorgeous views.

If you want your photos to look VIP, this is the one to go for.