by Jason Keath on Oct 06, 2020
There’s a myth that if you design something using a template, that you’re limiting creativity. That templates create repetitive content and miss that… special something.
It’s nonsense. Creativity thrives with boundaries.
Some of the most creative content on Instagram starts within a repeatable template or framework. And the truth is, the most successful brands in the platform depend on Instagram templates.
Templates save you time so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every new post.
They are also essential to brand building. When there is a level of consistency in your Instagram creative, repeated visual elements, they become a part of your brand. Your audience recognizes a color, a font, an illustration style.
It’s important to develop Instagram templates for your brand that are unique and align with your messaging. And there’s a ton of inspiration out there to kick start new template ideas for your business.
Today, I’ll be focusing on Instagram feed concepts and examples. In a future guide, we’ll review similar Instagram template ideas for Stories.
Below are 10 Instagram templates to consider using for your brand. These are concepts that you can easily recreate and make your own.
Recreating SMS or iMessage conversations as social content has been around for a while. It’s still very popular, relatable, and visually engaging. More recently, some brands have used Instagram DMs as the visual inspiration for this style.
These fall into the larger user interface category of Instagram templates. A social image or video that’s inspired by design elements from apps or other software. Our first three template ideas below are user interface designs.
2. Reminders and Notifications
Reminders and notifications are perfect templates for encouraging action. Continuing with the user interface theme, anyone who uses a smart phone is already programmed to pay attention to these designs. These work for short messaging and can easily be layered with photography (phone background).
The iOS “Reminder” Instagram templates (see the Tentree example) have been adopted by many brands for short and inspirational copy. Because this specific concept is widely used, be sure to make it your own through color, fonts, and other brand design elements.
3. Calendar – Schedule
Our final user interface concept is calendars. We look at our calendars constantly. Just like with notifications, we are trained to recognize the design. This is a simple story telling medium. Consider common calendar items for your audience. Which appointments would resonate most? What would normally be the worst part of their calendar? Which items are they missing from their calendar? What can you exaggerate or simplify?
You don’t have to stick to the iOS calendar design in our examples to use this concept. Listing a calendar, schedule, or run of show in any visual format gives you the same storytelling opportunity.
4. Fake Charts
Sharing data and charts evokes authority and trust. But even if you don’t have access to insightful data every day, you can use charts as a template for other types of content. Consider using charts to compare subjective ideas, illustrate humor, or call out product/brand features.
5. Venn Diagrams
One of the simplest charts to consider using as one of your Instagram templates is the tried and true Venn diagram. It puts an immediate focus on commonalities between 2 ideas or more ideas. They create immediate intrigue to understand the messaging. To make your Venn diagrams more engaging, start with two ideas and try to brainstorm 10 or more ways they can be connected. Give special attention to the weird and uncommon items.
When attempting to create Venn diagrams with 3 or more base circles, I recommend starting with pencil and paper. There may be a lot of erasing to get it right. And don’t be afraid to more base ideas into overlap areas, and vice versa.
If you’ve been on Instagram at least once in the last 3 years, you know that Twitter screenshots are a very popular format. There’s a few reasons this works so well.
When sharing Tweets to Instagram, stick to one or more specific formats. Decide whether you want this to include branding, brand colors, or other brand design elements. Consider using your image editor of choice to recreate the look of your Tweet to have more control over the design and layout.
Everyone loves a list. And if that list lets you check things off, even better. This is another relatable concept and visual that encourages the viewer to be inquisitive. To mentally check off the list. Or if the checklist is really helpful, to save the post and come back to it later.
8. Technical Diagrams
A technical diagram is essentially a visual list. Taking a visual and adding technical labels to it allows the viewer to digest a longer list more easily, and with more context. This can be done with a photo or illustration. The list can even be one item long. A technical diagram can be a helpful resource or more abstract, even humorous.
Here’s an additional Delta example to checkout that creatively utilized Instagram’s tagging feature to label each item in their diagram. They creating 12 Instagram accounts so they could tag and give additional information on each of their new COVID-19 safety procedures.
9. Choose a Favorite
Perfect to engage your audience and encourage comments “Choose A Favorite” images offer a list of items for the viewer to align with. They pick which item is best, their favorite, etc. A recent trend with this format is to “Choose 3”. And throughout the 2020 Pandemic, many brands have used nostalgic product images with this template for fans to choose their favorite from the past.
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Additional tools and resources to improve your Instagram creative