Your Instagram aesthetic is the first thing people will notice when they discover your feed. It may have even been the reason they chose to click onto your profile in the first place. The profile picture, bio, story highlights and your first 6 squares (depending on what device you are on) are what makes people stop their scroll.
Your Instagram profile is your resume, with the goal to engage, communicate and inspire via eye-capturing images. But to get those friends to follow you, and for you to stand out from the million other ‘follower hungry’ pages. How do you catch their attention? Answer, strong branding emulated onto a thoroughly curated Instagram aesthetic. This is soo important for growth, so you need to get it right from the get-go.
Here’s a snapshot of my Instagram feed! As you can see we stick to a colour palette, high quality content, fonts, etc.
What do you mean by ‘Instagram Aesthetic?’
Instagram aesthetic is the underlying creative principle that guides all your digital branding. Basically, the look and feel of a feed. The colours, fonts, logos, layouts, tones, filters and images you use all contribute to this Instagram aesthetic and are part of your visual identity – aka how you display your business to customers. A strong visual identity can help strengthen your brand’s message, conveys your brand’s personality, makes you look more professional, helps your followers instantly recognise your content when it appears on the feed and converts visitors to your profile into lifelong followers.
*Sidebar: creating a strong visual identity is an important first step across all marketing, not just for Instagram.
I’m not talking just about a logo and a couple of colours. It also includes shades, tones, story designs, feed layouts, fonts, the colours you use in your gifs and emojis and even your captions… EVERYTHING!
If your feed is dull, non-cohesive or displays poor quality imagery, do you think people want to stay on it? The harsh reality is NO. You need to be able to tell your story and sell it through your feed. You just need to land on the right strategy for creating consistently beautiful photos that matches the personality of your brand and design a well-curated feed. A feed that is consistent but unique……..right Teneal, that doesn’t sound too complicated at all!
Well yes, the perfect Instagram aesthetic can be challenging, but a successful visual identity is your key to differentiation and will help connect you with your future fans. Here are my tips to building that captivating Instagram aesthetic:
✨ Define your brand.
Before you start planning your posts, you need to define your overarching goal to understand why you’re posting in the first place. Is your goal conversions, is it engagement, is it visual communication? Once you’ve established this, then ask yourself, how you describe your brand, what are your unique brand values and what feelings do you want to evoke through your Instagram feed. This is an imperative step as your answers set the foundation for all the creative happenings that are to follow! Once you understand your business inside and out, it’s time to get creative.
✨ Choose a colour palette
Good colour palette choices are a real ‘mood’… Literally, it creates the mood of your Instagram profile. You need to make sure it matches your brand’s identity (which you have defined above) as the colour palette visually communicates the essence of your brand. You also need to ensure that you LOVE it, as you will be seeing the colours A LOT and for a LONG time. A good place to start is to create an imagery mood board for some inspiration (my go to is Pinterest!).
I’d recommend beginning by choosing two colours. Your primary colour will be used across all of your imagery, while your secondary colour is used for accent colours or highlights. You can then choose 1 – 2 more that work harmoniously, that you can incorporate across aesthetics. Not only will you create graphics based of these colours, but you can also incorporate these colours into your filters, stickers and stories (we will get to that!). The colours you choose create a personality and sticking to your palette is a huge reason people remember your brand (aka creating a strong brand recall).
✨ Choosing your Font
Much like your colour palette, the fonts you use on Instagram tell an instant story and help build your alluring Instagram aesthetic, so it’s worthwhile taking the time to find the right one for your brand. I’d recommend having one font that you use for headings and one that you use for the body copy. Instagram stories having limited fronts, but if you’re creating in the app, choose 1-2 fronts and use them religiously.
✨ The Logo
Once you have fonts and colours; you can start putting together the most recognisable bit of your brand. The goal of your logo is to paint an instant picture of your brand’s values, tone, and style and to bring cohesion across all your marketing facets (not just IG!). No pressure or anything! My recommendation is to get a professional to do this, trust me it’s worth it in the long run.
✨ Pick a Theme (and stick to it)
Call it a vibe, mood, your soul in the social media sphere. An Instagram theme is how your Instagram feed looks like overall. It is how your visual personality comes together! From the type of imagery, you choose to the filters and editing techniques you apply, every tiny detail builds a stronger story for your audience to follow.
The first step is to decide on a grid layout for your gram. An Instagram grid layout helps you visualise the overall look of your feed based on how the individual squares of photos put together. This also helps to organise a cohesive look and feel, serving asa guide when you need to decide on which photo to post next. Next, similar to your colours, the filters you choose to use on your photos should reflect your overall brand style and essence. You can add blue tones, hues or increase the saturation to make them brighter! Just make sure it’s always the same. Or opt for the ‘el natural look, just as long as it’s the same. When it comes to showcasing your brand and encouraging brand familiarity, the best place to do this is through Instagram Stories and Reels. I’d recommend sticking to between 2 to 3 templates and throwing in a logo once in a while. You don’t want to forget about your branding when it comes to your highlights! Using branded highlights keeps the look and feel of your Instagram profile and help complement the overall look of your Instagram aesthetic.
✨ Use HIGH QUALITY Content
It sounds silly to include this tip, but it will make a difference to the engagement you get. A blurry photo can be seen from miles away. A high-quality photo looks sharp and inviting. It makes us want to DOUBLE TAP and look at the rest of your Instagram feed.
✨ Be Unique (and have fun)
Having a strong visual brand identity can give an instant impression of your brand’spersonality and values, without saying a single word. But it’s important to be unique!You have built such an amazing product, with strong values that you need to show tothe rest of the Instagram universe. Don’t just then go mimic what someone else isdoing. Be unapologetically yourself and your audience will really take a shine (aslong as everything matches your theme of course!)
✨ Create your Brand Kit! AKA Your holy brand bible.
This is a visual representation of your brand identity and Is the template to everything you would include in all marketing and advertising. It’ always handy to have and refer back to, or if you start growing and need to outsource, your brand kitis your marketing ‘bible’ when it comes to content creation so people know how you like it done! If you have Canva Pro you can create this in there and have easy access to it at all times.
Ok sorry, that is a lot of words! Didn’t mean to get so carried away. But all of it is important and will be definitive to your growth success on the gram! To sum up, here are the steps.
Tips to creating your brand
– Define your brand’s essence
– Choose your core colour palette
– Choose your fonts
– Pick a theme and use it across all of your Instagram
– Choose and stick to one or no image filter
– Use quality content
– Be unique and authentic
With your Instagram feed, stories, reels and highlights all branded cohesively on your profile, you’ll soon start to see your follower and engagement count rise as people start to recognise your brand. And that’s it, you’re now ready to take your visual branding to the next level.