The Easter Eggs Hidden In The Names Of Instagram Filters

Photo: Courtesy Instagram.
We know that people are naming their babies after Instagram filters. But how did all those filters get their monikers in the first place? As someone whose parents jumped on the name “Juno” decades before the app did, I had a particular interest in this — and was surprised to find out that Instagram HQ never offered much in the way of an official explanation. Until now.

According to communications manager Liz Bourgeois, in the early days, cofounders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were mostly focused on just trying to keep Instagram from crashing. Systrom’s wife was the one who suggested tacking a prettifying element onto their photo-sharing-only prototype. So when they did start adding filters, the names weren't given a ton of thought — they were just plucked from their surroundings. Systrom was working on the Valencia filter from a coffee shop on Valencia Street in San Francisco, for example.

Now that the company employs around 250 people, naming is a much more collaborative effort. There are emails and brainstorming sessions to come up with monikers that don’t mean something off-color in another language (the names aren’t translated) and are easy to pronounce. Anyone can throw out an idea (even something kind of terrible, like when content strategist Hazel Jennings gunned for “Egoi,” a minor divinity associated with wind), but it may well get nixed.

Here are 11 that made the cut, and the stories behind them.