Want to create aesthetically pleasing visuals on Instagram?… Wondering how to develop a recognizable Instagram style without needing a design background?
To explore my options on how to improve your design on Instagram, I interviewed Kat Coroy. She is a designer who teaches small business owners to look amazing on Instagram by thier using instagram branding strategy. She creates mini-masterclasses on IGTV. Her course is called Instagram Marketing Makeover.
Ready to improve your branding game? Here, you are going to learn how to discover your unique brand style and translate it to an Instagram profile that reflects or accurately market your brand identity. You’ll also find some dominant tips to improve your Instagram marketing strategies and discover how to take selfies with confidence.
For years, Kat worked as a brander and designer at one of the best agencies in London. She’s worked with clients that run the gamut from dog food to traders to architects, including notable brands such as Nike and Coke. Often, she was called in to do the concept work for brands as well.
After 20 years in that role, she set up her own design agency in Australia. She worked with smaller brands such as organic coffee producers.
Around that time, friends who were aware of Kat’s background in branding and design were asking if she could curate their Instagram feeds for them using her Instagram branding designs. Kat’s approach goes beyond creating a pleasant and attractive aesthetic. She brings her experience with big brands to the table and works to get at the soul of the person or business so others can feel the impact of that soul.
She’s now been teaching about Instagram personal branding for 3 years and has 11K students. Today, she helps entrepreneurs and small businesses discover how to express the essence of their brands visually by teaching them design rules they can follow on their own.
Why Marketers Need to be cautious about Design on Instagram
Design is a dominant factor than many people realize. You only get 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention on Instagram before they scroll to the next thing. Your content needs to be what Kat describes as deep pretty—content that expresses the soul and energy of your business and brand.
High quality designed content makes that expression possible and stops the scroll. And because humans are wired to seek out more of the things that we think are attractive, that scroll-stop often depicts the click-through to your profile.
On your Instagram profile, the elements of your profile picture, your bio, and the first nine images at the top of your feed combine to create a presentation of what your brand is all about. The fonts, words, colors, and images all work together to express an overall brand tone that can deeply impact someone in those precious 3 seconds. If your profile is properly designed and executed, your content will resonate with and magnetically attract the target audience to your account.
It’s similar to the same way people walking through a mall enter a store and look around to decide whether they’ll stay and shop. People choose whether to follow you on Instagram based on the design of your profile and content. They might then go on to message you, share your posts, watch your IGTV videos, and buy your products and services.
Where to Start: Revealing Your Brand’s Purpose
When someone views your profile for the first time, can they understand in 3 seconds what your business is about? What does your brand stand for?
Or do you have a mix of 20 different things that confuse people and leave them wondering why they should pay attention to you at all? For example, are you mixing personal and business posts on the same profile? While that can work for some businesses, Kat suggests qualifying the addition of personal posts by asking yourself if the post fits with and represents the company and the brand message.
You’ll present a clear message when the elements (text, bio, colors, fonts, images, etc.) of your profile quickly denote what your business does and what it believes. Again, this is what Kat calls instagram brand’s purpose and she believes every business has one.
People don’t start businesses for no reason. Most entrepreneurs are passionate about something so they started a business to help a specific group of community to do a specific thing. There’s a deep message behind what they’re doing
If you’re having trouble discovering your brand’s purpose, pretend you’re having a cup of tea with a dear friend. You tell that friend why you started your business—why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Once you’ve defined your brand’s purpose statement, the absolute passion and energy behind what you’re doing, you can put that knowledge into action in everything you do.
One of Kat’s clients who sold mugs on which she placed designs didn’t think she had a brand purpose.. “I’m just selling mugs.” After talking with her for a while, the deeper why surfaced: She wants to take people out of their routine and give them a special, happy moment in the day via the positive designs on her mugs.
Based on that revelation of her brand’s purpose, she made several decisions for her Instagram presence. She chose modern scripts and fonts. She decided to use a lot of white in her photography, knew what kind of photography to use, and which filters would best communicate the feeling she was trying to create.
Kat notes that this exercise works whether you sell physical products or services. In fact, revealing your instagram brand purpose is easier for people who have a service-based business because they want to assist somebody and are typically aware of who that Instagram audience is.
Determining your Brands Color
When choosing the colors for your brand for instagram, take into account the psychology of color. For example, if you’re an empowerment coach for women and use primary colors such as those commonly seen in children’s books, you’re likely creating an unintentional disconnect.
The colors you choose should not only express your Instagram brand identity but also about what you think your customers will like and resonate with. You can incorporate color into your Instagram content without turning your feed into a monochromatic display.
If you are someone who shares quote images, you can incorporate color into your quote images.
Yes, you can also use clothing or props to include those colors in your visuals. One of Kat’s students loves the color yellow. Photos of her are taken against a white background but she’s always wearing something yellow or holding a yellow prop such as a plate.
One of the key considerations when choosing fonts for Instagram target audience is readability.
For example, if you’ve got a lengthy quote image, too much script can be hard to read at once. In which case, Kat suggests pairing the script with a block font and applying the script font to only a few select words. This approach will help you create quote images that appear open and clean.
Kat recommends using only one or two fonts for everything you do for Instagram marketing. She says that the in-app Instagram Type tool can help you enhance your text with loads of cool effects.
Instagram Stories ideas has many inbuilt creative modes that let you select a colored background and add text that makes it really easy to create text graphics (quote graphics). However, that functionality doesn’t extend to creating posts for the Instagram feed.
For creating such types of images for the feed Canva can be a boon for beginners. Not only does Canva offer ready-to-use and customizable templates, it offers lots of font options to design unique, branded quote graphics. Then people will know the images are yours before they even read them; people will recognize the color, font, and design style as your Instagram Brand Identity.
Establishing an Image Style
According to Kat it’s possible to create quality images by adding text overlays to photos, she prefers to keep things simple and pure. Post photos as photos and words as quote graphics. Using these two types of creative separately makes your feed look upright and is a treat to your viewer’s eye.
If you want to use an image of yourself with a text overlay, be sure to stand next to a very plain background. To make sure the image is readable, you may also need to add a semi-transparent layer between the photo and the text overlay. Just make sure everything you create is readable.
Kat also suggests when it comes to using filters, filter every photo just a little bit (just enough to pull the dullness out of the picture) but be very cautious against using filters that will make your image look unrealistic. Instagram content strategy does best when it’s about authenticity, trust and connections.
Tips to Upgrade your Instagram Selfie Game
Most people are self-conscious when photographing themselves. They freeze up and don’t feel confident. The answer is to get a tripod for your phone and use the timer for delayed selfie capture.
You’re on your own so it won’t matter if you look like an idiot doing whatever you’re doing. Laugh and play around, and take as many as you want—take 100 photos if you like—you only need one good one.
The more photos you take, the more relaxed you’ll be, and the easier it will be to get the kind of photos that work for you. Some people look good when they’re in serious, moody shots and others look better in fun, candid shots. Some need to look directly at the lens and others should look slightly off-camera. Experiment and see what works for you.
You’ll also want to find a really good background. Think about your brand essence and think about your colors. Choose a wall in your house or—even better—look around your neighborhood for a doorway or an old wall that has character. Whatever background you choose, you want it to be quite simple and free of clutter.
Should your photos be vertical or horizontal? It depends. Kat typically shoots in horizontal for her feed images and in vertical for her Stories images.
If you plan to use your photo with text overlay or if you simply want to post some photos that feature space to give your feed a feeling of breathing room, remember to make use of the rule of thirds. For example, if you’re by a wall, stand in the first third of the frame.
As you snap your photos, remember to put your hand on your hip or move one leg slightly forward. If that makes you nervous or you don’t know what to do with your hand, search “poses” on Pinterest. Look at all of the models and note their posture and how they’re positioning their limbs.
Finally, remember to have fun. Maybe take a friend with you—someone who makes it easy for you to smile and laugh. That genuine emotion will come across in your photos.
Consistency of high-quality Instagram content strategy
If you’re just starting out or you’re trying to level up your Instagram presence, you need to get 9-15 feed posts up so they fill up the grid for mobile or desktop viewers. Then you can move into a regular posting schedule that works for you.
While there are some business types that can post to Instagram every day in your Instagram marketing checklist, in general, it’s recommended posting three times a week—possibly adding a video once a week.
You don’t want to just push out low-quality content simply for the sake of publishing. Your followers will feel that. It’s much better to post less often and ensure you post something high-quality.
Key Takeaways From This Episode
- Find your brand’s purpose
- Determining your brand’s color
- Choosing Fonts
- Curating and maintaining an image style
- Upgrade your Instagram Selfie Game
- Consistency of high-quality content
Learn more about Instagram Marketing