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Your Instagram aesthetic is the first thing potential customers will notice when they check out your brand’s profile. The colors, layout, tone, and overall feeling of your Instagram page contribute to an aesthetic that can either gain you a new follower—or send them running. A unique and cohesive Instagram aesthetic is not just visually pleasing, but can greatly improve brand recognition and business success. It will convey your brand’s voice, personality, and help your followers instantly recognize your content when it appears on the feed.

While this all sounds great in theory, actually creating a successful Instagram aesthetic can feel like a vague undertaking. We’re here to help. How to create a unique and cohesive Instagram aesthetic

Step 1. Establish your brand

Photo by Ali Jouyandeh / Unsplash

Without clicking on a single post, your Instagram aesthetic gives your audience a sense of who you are and what makes your brand stand out. This makes defining your brand a crucial first step. You might have begun this process already with your website, logo, or bricks and mortar location, but you’ll need to translate your brand over to Instagram in a way that makes sense to your audience. Here’s a list of questions to help guide you through this process:

• Who is your target audience? When you understand who your content is trying to speak to, developing your brand’s aesthetic becomes second-nature. A luxury pet clothing store in Beverly Hills will have a different audience than a Portland skateboard shop.

• What are your core values? Different brands have different priorities that inform their overall look and feel on Instagram. If you’re a hiking supplies company that thrives on nature and sustainable clothing, for example, your brand’s Instagram page will reflect these values. It doesn’t need to be in-your-face, but can show up through color choices (more on that later), content subjects, and any messaging that’s shared through stylized text posts.

• What’s your vibe? This might sound like a new-age skater dude kind of question, but it’s important to consider. Does your brand like to keep things casual and fun? Or minimalist and cool? Do you use a conversational tone with the occasional swear word thrown in? Or are you formal and composed? These questions can all help establish the type of ‘feel’ you’re going for.

Step 2. Take color seriously

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Color is the single most important thing when it comes to creating a unique Instagram aesthetic for your brand. Research finds that color influences consumer buying decisions by around 85%. Not only that, but color increases brand recognition by 80%. Making the right color decisions for your Instagram posts can actually impact your bottom line.

There are many ways to use the power of color to develop your Instagram aesthetic. If you already have a website, logo, and a presence on other social networks, use your pre-established brand colors. Once you’ve picked your colors, incorporate them into your content. This doesn’t have to be obvious, but rather a certain tone or color family to stick to. Once you start doing this, you’ll notice how cohesive your Instagram page starts to look. Even if the content isn’t identical from post to post, a uniform color palette is naturally pleasing to the eye and will bring your page together. Consumers judge a brand within 90 seconds of seeing it for the first time — and up to 90 percent of this judgement is based on color.

Make sure your brand colors help shape your overall brand voice. For example, a happy-go-lucky children’s daycare might not want to have a completely dark and dreary feed. Choosing your Instagram page colors can be tricky, but the following tips can help:

• Create a Pinterest mood board. Start saving Pins that inspire you or are relevant to your brand to a Pinterest board. For example, if you’re a bathing suit company your Pinterest mood board might have photos of the beach, palm trees, picnic scenes, pool parties, and sunsets. Certain imagery will attract you more than others, so take note of any color patterns you see popping up in the content you save.

• Create a color palette. If your brand doesn’t already have a color guide, it’s time to get one. Find six or less colors that you can commit to using throughout your content. Reference this group of colors anytime you create content, whether that’s in the form of a photo, video, or text-based post. Make sure at least one of your established colors are present in your post to ensure your Instagram aesthetic is consistent.

Step 3. Find the power of editing

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Photo by Andrew Neel / Unsplash

If you've ever seen an Instagram page that has all the right components, but somehow just doesn't work, you've noticed the power of editing. Her editing style would be Pat in the most harmonious Instagram aesthetic. There is no flip-flopping between dark and moody images and light and bright content. It all looks as if it was made on the same day and in the same light. The easiest way to ensure your Instagram beauty is to edit your photos with a preset. Instagram presets are preday filters that you can apply to your photos using edit programs such as Adobe Lightroom.

Now you don't have to spend hours trying to remember how much sparkle you add to your photos. Presets work hard for you. They ensure that you do not spend one hour of editing at a time.

Step 4. Plan, plan, plan

Photo by Hanna Morris / Unsplash

Once you capture your color and editing style, it is time to plan your Instagram feed. You want your Instagram page to look thoughtful and professional, and employing it carefully is the way to do it. When you plan your feed, you can see which posts look best next to each other - and which ones don't post. You'll be able to tell where you need another hit of your brand's dominant color, and where you can stand to add a light hued photo to the mix. This may sound like a time-consuming task, but we promise we will not do the same with you. Planning your Instagram feed can actually save your time, not to enhance your overall beauty.

Step 5. Don't just pause on your feed

I was messing around in my dorm and came up with this.
Photo by Rohan Makhecha / Unsplash

You did it You have a unique and harmonious Instagram feed. You can't stop here, though Imagine if your favorite vegetarian ice cream place has been offered as a non-vegetarian alternative? You feel thrown off and confused. If you have a stunning and consistent Instagram feed, but other components of your page don't match, your audience may wonder what's going on. A good place to start is your Instagram Stories. When you've established your Instagram aesthetics, create a style guide so that you have something to reference when creating stories content. This will also help any other person posting to your account with your look and tone in future.

Another small change that has a big impact on the look and feel of your Instagram page is your stories highlights. When you choose colors and icons for these covers that match or compliment your brand colors, you add an extra visually element to your profile.