Think of Instagram as a storefront for your business. People arrive at your doorstep and see your whole store all at once as a glimpse. Impress them and they will follow you.
So the key question becomes; how to impress? The umbrella term answer - by sticking to an Instagram layout style.
Treat each square of your Instagram as a cog; it’s a part of a bigger whole that helps the entire machine function. Over the next few weeks, we will be getting into how to style an create stunning Instagram feed, and we are starting with this first blog to bring you up to speed with some common terms and definitions. So if you are new to the world of Instagram, read on and learn about the different templates people use to lay out their entire (yes entire) Instagram feed. Trust us. Those well curated and perfectly colour themed feeds you see are not by chance, but very carefully and intentionally planned.
If you are a Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator whiz, laying out these pre-planned posts won’t be an issue at all. But if you are not familiar with these softwares, we highly recommend bringing a graphic designer on board to help you with some basic design strategy and then you can move on to softwares like Canva that will help you create striking Instagram posts. trying. Don't forget to also check out Preview; the app allows you to freely move around posts so you can see what your feed will look like in totality. Both these tools together can help you curate the perfect Instagram feed for your business. But before we get ahead of ourselves, here are the 7 types of layouts you can choose from (and the creatives who use them perfectly):
You can choose to keep it simple and let each square speak for itself. Keeping in mind that colour, style and thematic consistency is still very relevant even to this layout style, this is one of the most classic ways to lay out your posts and feed. Check out A Little Leafy (on the left) and YFL Art (on the right). Both creatives have nailed the use of individual squares to tell their own stories, without taking away from their entire feed. Definitely check out the feeds of these two lovely ladies for some inspiration.
The checkerboard style is a great layout technique that allows businesses to add in that extra personal factor into their Instagram feed. Many businesses like to pair their product with inspirational quotes or photos of their personal life along with their products. This makes them come across as a more personable and approachable brand. Check out Ave Mariabell Designs and her formidable use of this checkerboard concept. She brings her streamlined design sensibilities into her Instagram feed, and builds on her theme of minimalism.
Rows and Columns
Many businesses (like us) like to treat all three posts in a row as a single post, or they like all of them to read in tandem with each other. Each row basically becomes it’s own story and then it’s your choice whether to create a visual story out of it or just split a single image into 3 equal pieces. This method almost forces a curiosity in your viewers, and makes them visit your page to see what’s going on. And hey if they stay long enough, they may even click on your shop link. You could flip this and make an of the columns read like the rows. The middle column most commonly is used as the one made to stand out. But hey, no one is stopping you from experimenting and trying to see what alternating between the left or right hand columns may look like. The only concern with this layout style is that it’s hard to break away from once selected. You are almost forced into making three posts all at once so your entire feed does not look skewed to anyone visiting it. We are going to insert a shameless plug here, but we think we've done a pretty good job using this layout, so take a look at our feed.
The Rainbow Feed
One of the most visually appealing trends out there is the rainbow style layout. It is of course also the most difficult to achieve and requires weeks and weeks of pre-planned posts to be prepared. The idea is to take photos with the same colour scheme (maybe it’s the background, or the product itself, or props you use in the photo), and post multiple rows of the same colour theme. On posting at least 6 and probably no more than 12 of a single colour, switch to the next colour of the rainbow. As your Instagram posts grow in number, so will the rainbow.
By adding a white border around your photo to end up with a smaller square, or a rectangle or circle, you help your visuals pop. Always remember one key idea. Whether it is photographing your products or designing your Instagram posts, a white background will highlight the focus of your photo.Nothing makes a colour or product pop like a white background. Check out how Aurora Design uses the border grid brilliantly.
This is without a doubt some next level layout styling. We have seen it used very very successfully by many (mostly artists) who want to grab eyeballs. The intention of these puzzle layouts is to wow the audience and not necessarily to lead them to a shop, which can work just as well depending on your brand. You’ll definitely need photoshopping skills to be able to achieve the puzzle look, and it is definitely a lot trickier to let each individual square read like a post that makes sense on it’s own. But yes, it may intrigue the interested to click on your profile, or it may just drive people away. It comes with serious cons, but if it works, can do wonders for the visual appeal of your feed. One of our favourite feeds to keep tabs on as far as the puzzle layout goes is Pela of @vaqueladg. His visuals are mesmerising on their own, but when he builds a stunning Instagram feed from it, it gets our creative senses abuzz. His feed is definitely one of the best out there if you want to feel inspired by the puzzle layout.
Mix It Up
Now that you know all the different layouts used out there, the final layout style is mixing it up. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see if you can throw a puzzle style into the mix of a row style. Or maybe don’t be afraid to break the checkerboard grid once in a while for effect and impact. This is why we recommend Preview or other similar apps like Later that let you not only schedule posts but also drag and drop them so you can rearrange the layout of your Instagram feed to your satisfaction. Yolanda Fernandes Ly (Left one in image below) is one artist who isn't afraid of changing up her style every so often and mixes the Square and Row layouts to give the viewers not only a break, but giver her feed an added edgy effect.
So lo and behold - 7 Instagram layout styles that are popularly used across the social media platform. Visual coherence is key to standing out from the crowd on a platform that has many players; and it all begins with how you choose to lay out your entire feed. It may seem unnecessary at first, but as your feed grows, you will see the difference between your well planned feed and other sporadic-posting creatives. Check out some more snapshots of the Studio's Instagram feed for some more inspiration. When we were working on putting together a coffee table book, we also created a sister Instagram feed, so feel free to check our The Book of Toronto feed (first image below).