How to Use Instagram to Develop Your Brand’s Visual Tone

Rachel Wayne
Jun 6, 2020 · 4 min read
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Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

A lot of people confuse branding with your business’s visual assets (your logo, fonts, etc.). That’s understandable. While branding is more than your imagery, it’s still important to offer a compelling experience for your audience. Because we’re highly visual creatures, a strong, consistent visual tone is essential to connecting with your customers — and Instagram is a way to do that.

Unlike your website, which (ideally) has the same template for each page, your Instagram feed can and should have different content in each post. Having variety means that when someone visits your profile, they’re not greeted by a wall of repetitive content. At the same time, you want to ensure that your followers can instantly recognize your post in their feed. By using consistent visual elements, you can teach your audience to gain recognition of our brand. So, it’s crucial to strike a balance between variety and sameness. Here are some ways to do that.

Rotate through templates

Ever seen a brand’s feed that is so wildly different from post to post that it seems like they’re just throwing out content to see what sticks? That’s exactly the impression you don’t want to give.

I call this the Canva effect: the popular graphic design app offers its users pre-filled templates, and many lazy marketers simply plug and play their content. Make no mistake: you must customize your posts with your own colors and fonts. Moreover, you should use similar spacing, layouts, and compositions.

This isn’t to say you need to use the exact same layout in every post. Rather, you should use a variety of templates to give your posts a consistent look and feel.

Take a look at Bami Brands’ page. Their posts have a consistent look and feel, but there are at least three different templates here, plus a photo that matches the color scheme.

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The consistent fonts and colors not only speak to the brand’s image and style but also make Bami Brands’ posts easy to recognize in the feed. Have your graphic designer make you custom templates, then rotate through them for your Insta posts.

Implement a cohesive color palette

Instagram is first and foremost a photo-publishing platform. While many brands post graphics such, you can strengthen your visual tone by sharing photos. The key is to make the photos match any graphics you choose.

Use the same filter for every photo you post so that your feed has a consistent look. If you’re dissatisfied with Instagram’s built-in filters, you can use Adobe Photoshop to apply a custom filter. Notice how Mallory Rinker (@malloryksocial) complements her graphics with beautiful photos. The photos all have the same filter, and many of the subjects reflect her graphic design palette.

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Notice also that many of her photos are taken on the same wooden table and that she uses asymmetrical placements and pastel-colored objects. These objects are similar in color to the backgrounds of her designed posts. Rinker effectively blends two different image formats in a consistent social feed. This makes her posts instantly recognizable and her profile page visually appealing.

Choose consistent images

Whether you’re including photos, illustrations, or vectors in your posts, aim for a similar visual style and color palette. If you look at any artist’s page, you’ll see a visual consistency among their work. When you’re branding your business, put that best practice into action. That means choosing the same type of image style, especially if you’re using different image types (photos, vectors, illustrations).

Let’s look at David & Chris Branding (@letsbazooka). They use strong, dramatic imagery with powerful typography in their posts. Some are black and white, some are colored, but all use striking imagery to express the brand.

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When choosing imagery, look for similarities in composition, color, and emotion. For example, if you start out by posting photos with a lot of white space, don’t throw cluttered compositions into the mix. If you’ve been using ornate, decorative graphics, your posts shouldn’t suddenly start including whimsical clip art. Having the same color palette is not enough to overcome these differences.

As a rule of thumb, ask yourself if the image matches the feeling you want audiences to have about your brand. Then, ask yourself if you would recognize it in your own feed. If the answer to both questions is no, choose another image.

Having a strong visual tone has a powerful psychological effect on your audience: it makes them feel like you can trust you. If you’re erratic and unpredictable, you’ll make your audience nervous — and that’s not good for business. The beauty of Instagram is that it makes it so easy to post consistent, compelling content to establish your visual tone. Don’t pass up that chance.

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Big Top Business

How-tos and insights into entrepreneurship, marketing, and…

Rachel Wayne

Written by

Writer by day, circus artist by night. I write about art, media, culture, health, science, and where they all meet. Join my list: http://eepurl.com/gD53QP

Big Top Business

How-tos and insights into entrepreneurship, marketing, and work

Rachel Wayne

Written by

Writer by day, circus artist by night. I write about art, media, culture, health, science, and where they all meet. Join my list: http://eepurl.com/gD53QP

Big Top Business

How-tos and insights into entrepreneurship, marketing, and work

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