The Instagram grid is often the first thing users notice, influencing their decision to click the “follow” button.
Sure, Instagrammers can follow a profile because they’re friends or acquaintances of the account owner. But, ultimately, what separates people with a few hundred followers from those with thousands, is their Instagram feed.
After all, if the feed looks inconsistent and shabby, would you follow it? Probably not!
…but how do you create a great Instagram feed?
One way is to stick to an Instagram grid layout.
A grid layout helps you think about the overall look of your feed, based on each square on the grid. You can create a consistent layout by carefully planning each square.
Do you have no idea what this Instagram grid layout is? No worries! In this article, we’ll introduce 9 types of grid layouts. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Understanding Instagram Grids: The Simple Psychology
Understanding the basics of Instagram grids is key. But it’s also important to know why these layouts work well with viewers. Our brain likes things like balance, patterns, and things that match, which is why some grid layouts grab our attention more.
- Simple and Predictable: Our brain likes things that match (Mattson, 2014). When things match, we know what to expect. For brands, a consistent Instagram grid can make people trust them more.
- Looks Matter: First impressions matter! People often decide if they like a profile within just a few seconds, so a well-organized and visually appealing grid can make a positive impact, encouraging followers.
- Telling Stories with Pictures: Some Instagram grids, like ‘Row by Row’ or ‘Puzzle Layout’, let brands tell a story. Telling stories is a strong way to sell things. If done well, it can make people feel close to the brand.
- Colors and Feelings: Using colors in grid layouts is not just to look good. Colors make us feel things, which means that brands can use colors in their Instagram grid to make people feel a certain way.
- Showing What the Brand Is: The type of grid, colors, and style can show what a brand is like. Is the brand simple? Fancy? Bold? The right grid can show this.
- Engaging and Fun: An effective Instagram grid isn’t just about looks. It can also make more people like, comment, or share. When more people do this, even more people can see the brand. This can get the brand more followers and maybe even more buyers.
- Staying Fresh: Instagram changes a lot, just like other social sites. Even if a brand has a set style, it’s good to know what’s new and popular. Adding new things to the grid can make the brand seem current and relatable to younger people.
To conclude, knowing how to make a good Instagram grid is key. But knowing why it works is also crucial. It’s not just about a good-looking feed, it’s about making people feel a certain way.
Instagram Grid: Squares
This is the most basic Instagram grid layout.
Post a photo, one square at a time. Don’t think about the layout, but choose your feed’s core colors and filters wisely.
Popular Instagram feeds have 1 or 2 prominent colors, while others stick to a consistent filter. This helps your entire feed achieve a consistent look and feel, across every photo you post.
For example, The Minimalist—a seller of designer-made pieces—posts photos that have a minimalist black and white aesthetic. Through a consistent visual theme, they are able to feature their products in a crisp and clean way.
A good tip is to choose a color and aesthetic that reflects your personality or your brand’s. What are the best colors that describe your or your brand? What is your niche? How will you use Instagram to communicate with your audience?
Once you have an idea of your brand’s visual theme, then you’ll have a better idea of the color and look in each square of the grid.
Instagram Grid: Checkerboard
The checkerboard grid alternates between two colors or post types.
Most Instagrammers use it by posting a photo, then a quote, followed by a photo and another quote. This is ideal if you’re a brand or an influencer who wants to send inspiring messages to your audience through text and visuals. It’s also super easy to do!
An important tip is to use a consistent font and background in your quotes. You can use any color as the background, as long as you use it consistently. This helps you showcase your messages in a neat and pristine way. It also helps your feed achieve a coherent look and feel.
Here’s an example from Cerebral Mist:
Other Instagrammers use the grid by alternating the prominent colors in the photo.
Instagram Grid: Row by Row
This is one of the most interesting grid layouts.
The most popular way to use this layout is by narrating a story in every row. It works because as you scroll down the feed, your eyes move from left to right. So, it feels as if you’re browsing through a magazine or a catalogue.
The trick to pulling this off is sharing a story in every three posts. The photos per row, must be related to each other in terms of color or visual aesthetic. You don’t need to feature the same object per photo, ideally each row should have the same visual aesthethic.
Personal Journal app rigorously implements this Instagram grid. In one row, there are photos of different objects with the same visual theme, followed by another row with a series of quotes. Meanwhile, the last row features a series of plants.
Although this Instagram grid looks great, the downside is that you have to post the 3 photos at the same time, so the order per row isn’t ruined. It requires more planning, but the end results are worth it.
Instagram Grid: Vertical Lines
The vertical lines feed is pretty popular on Instagram.
The trick to pulling it off is to post quotes with a consistent background in the middle of your feed to create the appearance of a vertical line.
You can also try to post any image, as long as they have the same visual aesthetic or theme. For example, let’s say, every photo in the middle has a white background. One example is My Simple Gram. The middle of her feed features quotes on a white background.
You can also make sure that the photos in each row are related to each other, to make your message more apparent. Her Instagram account has objects on the left and right rows, which complement or are related with each other.
Since viewers’ eyes are drawn to the middle, its effective at enticing them to scroll down along the feed.
Instagram Grid: Diagonal
The second type of Instagram grid is the diagonal feed.
It features images with similar visual aesthetic or objects in diagonal lines. For example, Dolly Social’s Instagram account offers marketing tips with different coloured backgrounds, arranged in a diagonal order.
You can use the template below to plan out your diagonal feed:
The trick is to use the same type of photo, color or filters in the grids that have the same shape. For example, pictures that will be placed in the circle could be quotes with the same font and background, pictures in the square would have the same filter, and so on.
It may seem like a challenge to plan it out, but it’s very easy to do, once you understand the visual aesthetic for each shape.
Instagram Grid: Rainbow
If you don’t want to stick to one or two core colors or filters, then try out the rainbow feed. Basically, the core colors in the feed changes as you scroll down.
It requires a lot more effort and planning compared to other types of grids. The reason being that you have to change the filters, colors and edits, after every 3, 6 or 9 photos. You also have to plan how the color transitions in each grid.
For a smoother transition between colors, use the color wheel. This helps you slowly transition from one color to the next.
To use the color wheel, pick the core color in your feed at the moment. If its yellow, you could transition make yellow orange the next prominent color in your posts, followed by orange. Just pick the color, that’s next to the color you’re using at the moment.
For example, here is how MW Content Co structured their Instagram grid so that there is a gradient of colors throughout:
Of course, depending on the type of content you are creating, this type of Instagram grid takes more effort. If you aren’t doing text-based posts, not only do you have to find subjects with the color you have in mind, but you also have to change the filters or editing process for every 9 photos, 12 photos or more. Otherwise, the transition won’t look good.
Instagram Grid: Puzzle
The puzzle layout is one of the hardest layouts to execute and maintain. Basically, it features a single image that’s split into multiple ones. After they’re split, each individual part is posted on Instagram to recreate its larger version.
The downside to this layout is that ideally each single image should be able to stand out on its own, after you split it. Otherwise, people who see the single post on their newsfeed won’t notice or pay attention to the image.
One example of the puzzle layout in action is from Juniper Oats. She posts photos that are each a part of a whole, so it’s interesting to scroll down to see how these photos fit together.
If you don’t want to use the puzzle layout on a regular basis, that’s okay too! You could have a large image that’s split into 9 or 12 photos. Once all the pieces are reposted on your Instagram account, you’ll end up with a feed that would be hard not to notice.
One tip you should remember is to use consistent filters and colors in the photos in the puzzle.
Let’s say, you have an image that you’d want to split into 9 pieces. Before splitting the image, edit it in Photoshop and add the filters you want. It’d look weird if each split piece had different edits or filters.
Instagram Grid: Mixed
Choosing an Instagram grid style doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it forever. Instagram is a place for fun and change.
Being steady helps people know your brand. But changing things up now and then is good too. With a mixed grid, you can use many styles in your feed, making your posts new and fun. It also lets you try different looks and ways to tell stories.
For example, you might use a ‘Row by Row’ style for one theme. Then, you might use a ‘Puzzle Layout’ for something new. Changing things can make your followers excited about what comes next.
A mixed grid is also good for those who talk about many things or have many sides to them, because it lets you show all your ideas. This way, your Instagram shows all parts of you or your brand as they change and grow.
Editing Your Photos for the Perfect Instagram Grid
No matter the Instagram grid you pick, you’ll need to edit your photos a bit. This can mean adding a border, making colors pop, or using a filter. If you’re new to editing photos, it might feel hard.
But don’t worry! There are many easy tools online to help you. Some are free, and some cost money. These tools let you cut photos, add borders, put on stickers, use filters, and more, helping you make sure all your photos look good together.
The main thing is to find a tool you like. With some time and the right tools, you can make a great Instagram grid! Here’s 30+ free Instagram tools to help you grow your following.
Over to You
The most important thing about the Instagram grid is consistency.
Whether you’re creating a vertical lines feed, a puzzle feed or sticking to a specific border, it’s important to be consistent. Otherwise, some photos will feel out of place. Just imagine if all the photos in your past had white borders, while some of your new photos don’t have them.
Also, don’t forget to stick to an aesthetic that highlights your brand’s look and feel. Is your brand a minimalist? Luxurious? Bold? Be sure to create photos that match your personality. This way, you can create a grid that has a coherent look and feel.
Ready to start creating an aesthetic Instagram grid ? Ready, set, go!