The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram Aesthetics

July 22, 2016

Aesthetic. Oh, brother. A word so overused that it has almost become a cliche. But putting weird internet subcultures aside, what does aesthetic really mean? The dictionary definition is as follows:


The philosophical theory or set of principles governing the idea of beauty at a given time and place

OK, so what does that mean for Instagram users today? There doesn’t really seem to be an exact set of principles governing what someone might consider a beautiful photo because we all have a different idea of beauty.

But for Instagram users, especially brands, an aesthetic is a visual identity developed through careful attention to detail and design elements. That’s why it’s so important to understand your audience and what they’re looking for on Instagram. You should be able to produce images your audience wants to see, share, like, comment on and all that jazz. (Jazz being “engagement”.)

An aesthetic is elusive and difficult to obtain, and even more difficult to sustain. I’ve spent countless hours and sleepless nights trying to find the formula for the perfect aesthetic. I have to say, there isn’t one surefire way to obtain one, but there are some words of advice I can offer to help you on your way.

DO: Define Yourself

Are you a bright and fun company? Is your niche in the realm of stunning photography? You need to know how you want the public to see you.

Every brand has an image; a visual that pops into someone’s head when they think of that brand. You have to figure out how to convey this through photography and graphics. This may take a lot of time to figure out, but when you do, you’re golden.

Look at Frooti for example. “India’s favourite mango drink” knows what it’s about and it wants all of us to know, too.

DO: Stick to Your Blueprint

This might seem like common sense, but believe me, it’s a lot more difficult than it seems. One thing people look for in a brand is consistency. That’s marketing 101. You want someone to know your brand as soon as they see it. An easy way to do this on Instagram is by establishing editing criteria for your images, commit to filters, color scheme, edit tools and more.

DO: Brainstorm, Baby!

For a social media marketing professional’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than a missed social media opportunity. Holidays and other special occasions should definitely be documented via social media. You need awesome and creative content and that requires brainstorming and planning out your posts

Part of the fun of marketing your brand on Instagram is being able to come up with new and creative images of your product or service. Taco Bell’s Instagram really takes the cake. Or should I say, takes the taco.

DON’T: Imitate Competitors

It’s easy to emulate other brands and it’s great to use their posts for inspiration, but do not imitate them. Part of your unique brand identity should be the fact that it’s, well, unique. You should stray from the path. Dare to be different!

Users will notice and want to follow you because you will be the account that breaks up the monotony of their Instagram feeds. If they’re looking forward to your posts, they’re more likely to engage with them and that means more eyes on your message.              

I’m not certified in Instagram aesthetics, but I do know my way around the ‘gram. I can say with confidence that creating an aesthetic is not easy. However, if you follow these tips and wrangle up some creative minds, you’re on the right track.