Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from endlessly scrolling through your feed – and instead endlessly scrolling through someone else’s individual Instagram page.
Welcome to The Grid.
In neat rows of three, every Instagram post is suddenly part of a larger picture. A look into a user’s soul … or at least their content strategy.
And Instagram power users know exactly how to use this point of view to their advantage, with artfully planned posts that together form a beautiful Instagram grid layout.
If you haven’t thought about what your own rows of squares will make, it’s time. Here’s everything you need to know about building an attention-grabbing Instagram grid to grow your fan base and engagement.
Bonus: Get 5 Free, Customizable Instagram carousel templates and start creating beautifully designed content for your feed now.
Why your Instagram grid layout matters
The first time someone follows you or navigates to your profile to review your content, your grid is a great way to showcase your sentiment or brand.
The grid gives you a bird’s eye view of a user’s posting history. This is your first impression of your work: an at-a-glance introduction to your personal or professional brand at a glance.
For individual users, creating a nice grid might not matter – color-coding your posts could be a fun personal challenge. However, if you just want to get in touch with friends without amassing an audience, branding probably isn’t too important.
For brands, creatives, or influencers, however, consistency and style are crucial. This is especially true if your account is focused on aesthetics or lifestyle.
After all, your grid is a quick and easy way to get your message across. Plus, everyone who views your profile will think about following you. This is your chance to showcase exactly what you are offering.
Are you avant-garde or trendy? Will your content calm or bring the drama down? Is your brand consistent or messy? One look at a grid and you will get the picture (sorry not sorry).
7th creative ways to design an Instagram grid layout
Great grids start with a vision. That’s why we scoured the depths of Instagram to find some of the chicest styles to inspire your own look.
Define a color combination
This is probably the most common grid style – not that I call anyone lazy (not mine!), But it really doesn’t get that much easier.
Pick a color palette (pink and gray?) Or a specific tone (high contrast neons?) For each photo. Viewed together, your gallery looks like a set to match, even if the content of your images varies. Influencing factor for home and lifestyle
@ the.orange.home only offers photos with light, white backgrounds and earth-colored accents. It’s a mood.
In case your home or office is not decorated like an Insta-enabled backdrop, there is an easy way to ensure that all of your photos speak the same imagery by using the same filter on each photo to achieve a consistent color tone.
A variation on this theme? Use a standard filter or palette, but also work in an accent color or filter every few posts. Maybe your lining is mostly a dreamy, sepia-colored boho fantasy, but every few rows we see a vivid pop of forest green. Woo! You are playing with fire!
Create a checkerboard effect
By changing the style of photo you post, it’s easy to create a checkerboard look in your grid. Try alternating text quotes with photography, or mixing close-ups with landscape photos. Going back and forth with two different colors can also work.
Some delightful inspirations for you: Here the parent resource @solidstarts switches between photos of nibbling babies and graphics with instructions.
Hot Tip: If you’re using text-based posts, keep the background color or fonts consistent to really make the pattern clear. Check and pair.
(Need a little help with graphic design? There are tons of great tools and templates you can use to create pop-up images.)
Design line by line
Think outside the box … and within the range. Merging the images on each line by theme or color can make a powerful impact.
The PR company @ninepointagency, for example, has a different background color for each palette in their grid.
The trick for this, of course, is that you have to post three images at a time, otherwise the alignment will be disabled.
If you’re brave enough to experiment with panoramic images for one of your lines – a trio of photos that make a long, horizontal image, daring you – many users post the same caption for each image to make it clear you’re three parts of a whole, as the photographer @gregorygiepel did with his architectural photos.
Create a vertical column
Dividing the grid with squares that create a vertical, central image is a great way to mix together graphic branding elements and photography in your profile.
In Vancouver’s @communitybreathwork, both a vertical and a horizontally connected image are used in this part of the grid – but the images can technically all stand on their own. (Or … lie down alone?)
Turn your grid into the rainbow
You need both patience and a good sense of color to make this look stand out. The goal is to regularly post in a saturated color … and then slowly move to the next shadow in the rainbow with your next row of posts.
To really get the full effect of Drag Queen @ ilonaverley’s rainbow gram grid, you’ll need to scroll yourself. However, here is a screenshot of her transition from green to yellow.
Embrace the limit
Creating a uniform look can be as easy as applying a frame to all of your images.
Stylist @ her.styling uses white square borders for all of their pictures. However, you can create a signature look using any color palette. The free Whitagram app is an option to quickly apply this editing. It contains borders and backgrounds in different colors.
Turn your posts into a puzzle
This layout is difficult to implement on a daily basis, but for a big announcement or campaign, or to open a new account, a puzzle grid is sure to be a hit.
A puzzle grid creates a large, interconnected picture from all the squares. Individually, these posts likely look like nonsense. But taken together, it’s a work of art.
Give the commercial photographer @nelsonmouellic a round of applause for this visual achievement, right?
5 Tips for planning a gorgeous Instagram grid layout
Of course, none of these slender grids happen by accident. You have to grind for this grid! Here are a few things to consider when planning the bigger picture.
1. Preview first
Before you publish it: map it.
You can mimick it in photo editing software or use Hootsuite’s app integration which lets you preview your layout before it goes live. At the moment it’s only for personal accounts, but the functionality for business accounts will be available soon.
Create an Instagram grid layout with up to nine images, then schedule them to appear in exactly the right order through the Hootsuite dashboard.
2. Keep it consistent
When creating a great Instagram grid, there is a plan you need to stick to. An unusual photo in the wrong color, filter, or order can throw your entire look off balance.
Imagine luxury goods company @shopcadine tossing a picture of a #kitchenfail into their muted, earth-toned, carefully curated photo collection. Immediate chaos!
3. Make sure it fits your brand
Ultimately, the goal of a grid isn’t just to impress your friends with your dedication to using a particular Lightroom preference filter. It’s about creating a consistent look for your brand.
So, if you’re a high-level executive recruiting firm like @mrinetwork, a playful rainbow grid may not quite match the professional and reputable tone you are aiming for. A monochromatic, text-based series of posts on the other hand …
4. Use the image editing tools
In case you haven’t figured it out, Instagram is a visual medium … and it’s hard to put together a great grid unless the individual images are great too.
Fortunately, there are tons of great photo editing tools as well as knowledgeable advice around every corner. For example, our guides on how to take great Instagram photos and stay up to date on the hottest Instagram trends.
5. Schedule your posts in advance
Keep your beautiful grid active and updated with the help of a planning tool that allows you to drop just the right filtered image (or three) at the right time. For example, the Hootsuite dashboard makes it easy to create your best photos however you want. Get the grid going!
Of course, creating a great grid is just one way of drawing attention to the gram. For more marketing tips and tricks to take your account to the next level, check out our ultimate guide to Instagram marketing here.
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