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The A-to-Z Guide to Instagram Posts Design

Today Instagram is a cup of coffee most people prefer to start their day with.

It’s a great place to discover new areas, products, and experiences, read the news. This social media platform beats Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and shows even greater engagement.

Here you’ll learn how to make Instagram your smart ally and use it in the best ways possible. Whether you promote your own brand or just want to tell about your life via Instagram, the helpful tips below will perfectly assist you.

This post is not about “post at the right time” or “use popular hashtags”, but about the art of designing your Instagram account and creating its unique look.

Why Instagram?

According to Shopify, average order value on Instagram is $65, whereas Pinterest – $58.95, Facebook – $55, and Twitter – $46.29.

People engage with brands on Instagram 10x more than Facebook, 54x more than Pinterest, and 84x more than Twitter. The average person uses Instagram several times a day.

It means that shifting your marketing efforts to Instagram would be a smart move.

Who you are?

Instagram is filled with personal and company accounts.

The latter successfully use it for their advertising and marketing purposes. It’s the right choice to connect with users who prefer this platform.

Brands makes use of 2 types of content: the organic one that they simply post in the account, or the paid one aimed at your target audience.

Well-done Instagram feed adds to brand awareness, creates lasting relationships, and as a result gives a long-term organic growth.

This scheme is also used by personal accounts.

Getting started on Instagram

As soon as you sign up, add your picture and give some information about yourself you face with a question what photos you want to upload.

Of course, you want this stuff to be classy and interesting to the viewers. Whether you are a personal page owner or a brand promoter, you want an original page which stands out among others. Let’s find out actionable tips on how to design your account, so it will be recognized immediately.

Before you start with designing your post, the first point to think about is your strategy. It’s extremely important for brands. You should clearly define the message, positioning, objectives, goals of your brand and what makes it unique on the competitive market.

It will be helpful to conduct consumer research to find out what inspires and motivates your potential clients.

Finally, you should ask yourself a question:

Why would people want to follow my page?

Before you start making any manipulation with your account you need to make a research, and browse the feeds of most popular brands, there’s a 90% possibility you will find an account which feeds looks nothing but amazing.

By the way, the image below is from the GoPro account.

Credit: GoPro

This understanding will help to find out how to differentiate your page and present it to the world.

Design Tips

Principles of designing and marketing posts on Instagram are simple, you just need to know them. Here is a list of accessible visual techniques that can help you gain traction on this social network.

Look & Feel

Think about how to express your page ideas visually.

It will be the look and feel of your account which helps to create an emotional connection with the viewers. Post visuals that are consistent in style and quality. Choose the type of content you’ll post (photos, illustrations, designs, crafts, etc) and think about styles (studio, lifestyle, etc.) This will resonate with the audience, and build a strong connection with them. The main rule is to follow the taken visual aesthetics.

Let’s take few tech brands as examples, since I already mentioned GoPro, their account feed mostly consists of stills where people use the cameras, and the photos / videos made using the same pieces of tech.

Speaking about emotional connections, stills like one above, make my palms so sweaty that my mouse literally skips out of my hand.

Let’s have a look at some other company which definitely nailed it in terms of emotions…that’s BMW.

When I was a kid, guys of my age were drooling over Turbo bubble gum insets.

Credit: Gum Inserts

Almost thirty years later guys of my age are drooling over this.

Credit: BMW

Time goes by, toys get bigger. It’s an average looking BMW feed…


Branding means not only placing the name or logo on images. When it goes on Instagram, it implies a certain visual identity that makes it noticeable among others. Your page should have a strong aesthetic vibe that aligns its originality.

Let’s have a look at two notable accounts owned by Ales Nesetril and Alex Acea.

But guys have style, I’ve been following them for about a year, and both of them attracted my attention by their stills of awesome setups.

Credit: Ales Nesetril
Credit: Alex Acea

Instagram branding is all about setting a tone of your account, choosing color palettes and composition of your page. Don’t forget about the general view of the page. Think about how all photos look when they are placed in a usual Instagram grid.

Color choice is extremely important. Besides, it reflects the corporate palette of the brand, and colors have a great impact on the viewers. They create a certain mood, and style, and communicate messages. By the way, the presence of a key color on the page makes it feel and look extremely stylish. Pick the desired color scheme and stick to it whenever possible.

Both of these guys have not only their favorite compositions but also color schemes, as far as I can see they use black, white and grey as major colors, and complement these with some bright accent colors.

Specific fonts are another part of branding. It’s crucial, ‘cause it forms an association with your brand/page. When you promote your page on a paid basis, and your posts appear as a commercial, users will define it thanks to branding.

By the way, you can find various cool Instagram bundles for promoting your company, which you can easily edit and give your corporate look. As usual, they contain a pack of ready-made banners that you can use for various purposes.

Outside the Square: Working Beyond Instagram

Until recently Instagram offered to post only square photos. But the square was not always enough to tell a captivating story. Today you’re free to choose from square, landscape (horizontal), and portrait (vertical) post options. Though you can upload any type, it’s better to choose the one and stick to it for all of your posts.

Don’t forget about photo collages. Various photo-editing apps offer to create them with ease. The most known are Insta-frame allowing to create awesome collages for free and Squaready – handy Instagram layout which helps to feature the entire photo without cropping it.

Photo Editing

Working with Instagram on a daily basis you should know how to create a perfect photo. Even an ordinary one can look great when you’re making light retouches. Just choosing the right filter can transform a shot into a creative one.

You can easily liven a photo by playing with its perspective, picking up its brightness and contrast, adding warmth or saturation, manipulating the colors, etc. There’s a thing that can significantly ease your photo editing process, and that’s a Photoshop or Lightroom action.

Basically, action is a scenario of predefined modifications that will be applied to your photo after you click play.

Feel free to experiment, and you’ll succeed.


Within Instagram you have a set of default filters.

Some you would be already using quite often, while the others will remain untouched. It’s wise to reorder this list of filters in the editing window, so the most used will be on hand, and hide the ones you never touch. This hack will save you time.

Photo editing apps like VSCOcam, Filmborn, Snapseed, and others of this kind will help you find the desired filters and make the most out of your content.

Candid Shots

Polished images are awesome, but don’t forget that people always want to see more.

They want to find out what behind the scene is. Backstage processes and inner workings of your company can be of the same interest to the viewers. When you feature something from behind of your page, or even some faces from behind your brand, you will make your business more transparent and thus trustworthy for your followers. By the way, you should know that such kinds of photos often get good engagement.

If something like this happens behind the scenes, you definitely should keep silent :)

Credit: Tesla Motor

Instagram Stories

One thing you have to know is that over 250 million people use Instagram Stories every day. It means that you can’t miss a chance to promote your page using the stories option.

Whether your story features a bunch of photos or just a tiny video, it looks interesting for the viewers. You can spice up these temporary videos (users can swipe them through only for 24 hours) with snaps, cute signs or even GIFs. GIF option is now available on the story camera.

If you’re a verified business user, you have one more cool opportunity to share links on your stories. Just add it by tapping on the link button after recording the story.

Instagram video is really a great tool to engage with fans.


You need to entertain people. They like to be amazed. Inspire them, and thus win their loyalty. Post content they enjoy. Give they a dose of daily inspiration, and they will come back for more.

Have Fun!

All the mentioned above tips are actionable ones, but you have to remember that not all posts on Instagram should be marketing driven. This is a golden rule that will help you create really live and engaging content. Sometimes it’s wise to focus not on sending your brand message wherever it is possible, but on the essence of the network you’re working with. This visually-rich social media platform is made to be human-centric and playful. Follow this idea, and make the most out of it.

Here it is. Feel free to use these design Instagram hacks, plus don’t forget about a well-known list of tips for managing this social network. Here are the major of them: choose the right time to post, schedule them, pick the hashtags carefully, use statistics, drive traffic to the external website, and share your Instagram content on other social networks.

Wrapping Up…

As you see, the principles of designing Instagram posts are quite simple and can be easily implemented by both personal and business accounts. Hope that this cheat sheet will help you create the desired stellar content, promote yourself or reach more potential customers for your company.

Instagram is really a creative playful space where you can celebrate yourself or your company and connect with awesome people. So, feel free to experiment and make the best of it in your business.

Photo of author

Article by Lana Miro

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