How Instagram Stories Could Bridge A Creative Chasm .

I’m that guy who only posts typography on his Instagram. I’ve traded filtered Eggs Benedict for a poor mans website (insert tiny violin), but then there are loads of us, so I don’t care.

What I do care about is design, typography and illustration. More than that, I am fascinated by the relationship between product and process. How creators learn from the doing, and from the done - the masterpiece and the balls of paper in the bin.

I also happen to work in social media, so I have a front row seat to all platform updates, insights and opinions. This has always helped me be relevant in my personal work, but today more so than ever. Why? Because of these little beauties…

On Tuesday, Instagram prepped their lawyers and released Instagram Stories, and the internet went…

No doubt you’ve heard all about it. The confusion, the accusations and the predictions. You’re all smart people so to sum it up, it’s Snapchat stories… on Instagram (sue me).

There are many reasons why they’ve done this. Our Senior Strategist (and all round beauty) Callum kicked us off with a few, including an increase in ‘real’ content sharing, a push towards interaction, and even a fundamental shift in how social platforms will deliver content (RIP the newsfeed). In a nutshell, Instagram has been pigeonholed as the place for minimal upload but maximum results, whereas Snapchat have seen the benefit of being a place with little judgement but a lot of fun. Hence this ‘bridging the gap’ strategy from Instagram.

“Sounds great Paddy, but what has this got to do with your horribly overworked, wannabe Seb Lester Instagram account?”

Great question, thanks for asking.

In my eyes this update has the potential to do great things for the creative ‘community’. We now have a two stage approach to sharing creative content, with the process and the product all housed in one place, with one engaged audience.

Yes, Instagram videos have meant that you can get behind the eyes of the creator for a while, but once released they sit forever in your profile, accompanied with vanity metrics (❤️), both of which make it uncomfortable to commit to.

Compare that to logging in this morning to see perhaps a dozen behind the scenes workshops from people I respect and processes that inspire me.

Mark van Leeuwen is a great example!

Mark is a seriously talented type designer with an impressive amount of followers (well done Mark). He kicked off the day with a short and sharp process story, looking at what goes into his work. It was banging, and that’s why I’m excited.

Crudely made but fantastically informative. This couldn’t have been multiple posts as they would have been lost in a feed, and the wrong side of labour intensive as a video. But as a Instagram story… perfect temperature porridge.

What we know from Snapchat is that it’s not how ‘good’ it looks but the concept and relevance of the content (idea over execution). This is where stories will shine. Super accessible editing and immediate feedback aren’t new, but all of that with an audience you know is educated and engaged… that’s the money shot.

Stories = process. Profile = product.

While I’m drawing parallels I feel comfortable with (typography), this is a benefit for creators of anything, and their fans. Symmetry Breakfast have started their journey into documenting the process with behind the scenes style stories that show us the plates, cupboards and people behind the product focussed account. I don’t care who you are, a cupboard full of bespoke plates is cool.

By becoming a platform for the doing and the done, Instagram feels like it could become a more genuine place for selfless development of others, rather than the vain, #doubletap temptress it has become. Perhaps, dare I say it… a community. A community that consciously contributes to each other, sharing lessons, insights and feedback. We know that algorithms mean we’re going to see less content, so it looks like this could be a genius move from Instagram. A big update to make a big shift. To create a community that rely on Instagram as a platform to learn and grow, rather than a place to get their fix of filtered Eggs Benedict.

(Here’s a more blatant link to my Instagram, just incase you didn’t see the first one >>>>>> https://www.instagram.com/paddy_smith_/)