If a picture's worth a thousand words, then Instagram packs more value than you can afford to pass up on. In this post, we're going to show you how to create the best Instagram layout for your brand, drawing inspiration from a few Instagram profile layouts we absolutely love.
While the actual images and captions on Instagram are important, the way you arrange those images in your Instagram grid matters just as much. Once you understand how to develop an Instagram layout template, you'll be playing the game at a new level.
This is a secret all of the top Instagram celebrities, models, athletes and brands already know, yet it's eluded many individuals and brands that have great content, but aren't getting the Instagram followers and engagement they know should be theirs.
First, we'll take a look at how three brands are killing the Instagram layout game, then, later in this post, we'll look at the five secrets every brand and individual should know for developing the best Instagram layout possible...
3 of the Best Instagram Layouts We've Seen This Year
Prepare to get inspired by three Instagram layout ideas. While these accounts have beautiful content, it's the layout skill that really make these Instagram profiles pop.
Who: Elise Mesner (lellopepper) is a visual artist who collaborates with a wide range of brands known for a bright, colorful aesthetic.
What We Love: Though the lellopepper aesthetic is full of bright blues, pinks, and yellows, there are quite a few neutral-toned posts - note the bread and building exteriors. These help accentuate the bright posts that attract so many of her followers.
Lesson: Mix things up. For bright colors to play well, you may need some neutrals to emphasize the contrast.
Who: A maker of things, and man of many flora talents, Hilton Carter frequently shares images from his moody, plant-filled home.
What We Love: While many Instagram accounts play with color, interspersing white backgrounds for balance and relief, Hilton goes the other direction, interjecting moody shots featuring dark tones like copper, black, slate gray, and forest green.
Lesson: Buck the trend. Embrace a moody aesthetic that uses darker shades - instead of white - for relief.
Matt & Nat
Who: A vegan line of "leather" goods, Matt & Nat possess a knack for incorporating traditional earthy tones with vibrant colors.
What We Love: In the screenshot below, you'll see how they incorporate blues and pinks from buildings, walls, clothing and their own products. However, if you check out their Instagram today, you might see a new color scheme - the brand runs mini-campaigns on Instagram, shifting their color palette (while retaining their core aesthetic) every few weeks.
Lesson: You aren't locked into one color set for life. This is Instagram - it's not like you're assembling a hardbound book that has to stand for your brand forever. You can be inspired by a wide range of Instagram layout ideas, applying different themes in different seasons.
5 Essentials for an Awesome Instagram Profile Layout
1. Stick to a theme or style
If you're already using a brand style guide, then treat the style guide as your Instagram bible. If you don't have a style guide, developing your Instagram layout template is a good time to consider creating one.
Don't have an eye for design? Adobe Color CC (a free browser-based tool) is a great way to come up with color palettes. Take time to establish the colors that will dominate your look: minimalist? dark and moody? bright pastels?
Also, if you're in need of free-use stock images, search Google Images with the tab 'Labeled for reuse with modification' selected; you can even search by certain colors, helping you stick with a theme and style. Check out our example below of a search for pink beach photos available for reuse with modification.
2. Plan your Instagram grid
Serious Instagrammers play the long game. You won't get more Instagram followers by posting every picture you take in chronological order - it doesn't even matter if they're really good pictures. On Instagram, it's all about the layout.
How do the pictures look, not just on their own, but in relation to one another? Nailing down a magazine-like layout requires a photo editor's vision and execution. Use a free photo app like VSCO to arrange your unpublished posts in an Instagram-like grid (link for this app and other editors below.)
This process could save you from having today's waist-up photo sitting directly on a photo from three days earlier of your legs at the beach... a combo which might not produce the desired effect.
3. Always think ahead
Speaking of planning, how does your latest image relate to the previous post, and the one before that - and three images before that?
One word of advice you might hear a lot: your last nine Instagram photos should tell a story. When thinking about your feed, it's natural to focus on visuals, however, don't forget that every visual should also contain a story, and that story is part of a larger one woven throughout your feed.
4. Draw inspiration from your favorite Instagrammers
"Good artists borrow, great artists steal," right? Well, this is Instagram, not grad school, so if you see something you like, take it. Make it yours.
Integrate the creative ideas and techniques you see in other Instagram accounts into your own. Get creative with how you use 'Rewind' in Instagram Stories, step up your emoji game, get weird with some hashtags.
There are no definitive rules, just creativity.
5. Edit your photos before uploading to Instagram
Yes, Instagram has its own editing software, but we would bet that 95% of the really serious Instagrammers are using third-party tools.
Here are some great, free options:
As you can see, layout matters, and planning your Instagram account is key to maximizing your potential on the platform.