Justyn Warner menu photo abstract aerial artist
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Toronto-born artist Justyn Warner creates abstract paintings that are strong, bold and colorful, unashamed of the journey between possibility and pain.

He also builds a community of artists with the mission to help you unleash your creative purpose through better art, better creativity, better business and better tech.

How to Create Templates for an Aesthetically-Pleasing Instagram Feed

How to Create Templates for an Aesthetically-Pleasing Instagram Feed

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To stand out on Instagram today you have to create thoughtful and well-designed Instagram posts. This can be a daunting task especially if you don’t have any design skills. But you need a strategic plan that appeals to your right followers to find success through the app.

Have you ever asked yourself: How can I save time, still be unique and stand out amongst my competitors?

Well, you have 3 seconds to capture someone's attention when they click on your profile. Your feed is the first thing they see, not individual posts. Those first 9 posts should tell your brand’s story, it should reveal your mission or main message, and there should be a cohesive theme.

Creating a visually-pleasing Instagram feed can be a challenge but to help you, I’m going to show you how you can use Over, an image editor app, to bring your feed to life.

Why Instagram Templates Are Relevant to Your Brand?

Think of Instagram templates like a workout program. A personal trainer will assess your body and diet to create a custom 6-8 week plan that would help you get into shape. Whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose fat, all you have to do is follow the program. The hard work is done for you!

Having pre-made templates ready will help save you time because you plug your text, images or video in, and then post.

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You want to create compelling content that invites engagement and interaction. But ultimately, your purpose is to attract your ideal customer. Having lots of followers is appealing, but having your ideal customer follow your account is even better. You can go further with 200 active and engaged followers than 2000 passive viewers.

You want to create a purpose-driven account. This takes time but the algorithm’s favor brands that post every single day, so why not make it easy on yourself when it comes to the design.

By using templates, you are building an aesthetically pleasing and branded feed. Curate your feed precisely to who you are trying to attract. If you try to appeal to everyone though you will attract no one. Know who you are talking to, invite those who like your aesthetic and who see the world the way you do.

How to Build a Brand Identity

A brand makes a business, a business doesn't make a brand. Think about it, there are thousands of entrepreneurs who start a business doing the exact same thing as you. So how do you stand out?

You stand out by creating a brand and extend that brand to Instagram. This lets your followers know what you will be posting, how you will be posting and what they can expect from you.

What is a brand?

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
— Seth Godin.

Everything together creates an experience.

1. It isn’t just about the visuals, it’s also about the emotions.

People don’t care about what you do, they care about why you do it. Emotions drive everything. Think of the best commercials you’ve seen, they were memorable because of a specific feeling it evoked.

My personal favorite was by P&G that came out when I made the Olympic team in 2012. It was dedicated to all the mothers that supported their child's dreams right up to competing at the Olympics. This was a real tear-jerker and resonated with a lot of people, not just athletes.

Offer something emotional every time a visitor lands on your page - through your images and captions. Make them engage because they can’t help but agree with what you have to say.

2. Create buckets to know what photos to post on your feed.

I strongly recommend you look at a few Instagram accounts you love and dissect their feed. Most talk about what they are passionate about and the same things every post. Their audience knows what to expect, and their buckets keep people coming back for more.

Make a list of 6-9 topics that you’ll share on Instagram. What are you passionate about? Why do you follow certain accounts? This is to help streamline your content a little more. Stick with is and post these things all the time.

I will post ________________ on Instagram (fill in the blank)

Make a list of things that you will NOT post on Instagram. This will help when you want to publish in a moment of frustration when you become overwhelmed. This also helps with excitement when you want to share your newly purchased car. At the end of the day, does this post really fit with your brand message?

I will not post __________________ on Instagram. (Fill in the blank)

3. Create a mood that highlights you and your message.

Your brands experience consists of many details including the colors you use, the people you show, your designs, your products and so on. I like to think that there needs to be a purpose and reason for every single thing shown in your brand.

You are inviting people onto your feed, and it needs to be memorable. Your content must go hand in hand with each other. Choose a bright theme or dark theme, make it colorful or black and white, warm or cool – each tells a different story.

Choosing a color palette that suits your theme. Stick with 2-3 colors to coordinate in your feed. Space them out in your grid consistently to create balance.

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4. Build your theme with one filter.

Look, building an aesthetic for your brand can be a difficult task. It takes a lot of work to produce stunning photos and curate your feed. Finding your visual voice though helps your followers understand that your aesthetic is something to savor.

Build off of your mood to find a filter that matches your brand. Whichever photo app you use, test a few different ones and then stick with one! You will start being known for this filter the more you post and build your feed.

Use the same editing app, edit your photos the same way every time. This filter will help build your feed into a consistent look.

How to Create Your Own Instagram Templates Using Over

Now that we have a brand identity that can stand out, this will make designing your templates a lot easier. There are many ways you can develop ready-to-post templates, but I’m going to show you in an iOS app called Over. Download here on iOS.

As a visual artist, Photoshop and Illustrator have been my go-to for anything design wise. But sometimes I just want to be able to create what I need on the go with my tablet or phone and not be limited to my desktop computer. Over offers, thousands of graphics, pre-made templates, stock photos, fonts and a discover page that will spark your creativity.

The goal here is to be able to push out high-quality content consistently.

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1. View pre-made templates

Click Templates on the bottom menu and view the pre-made designs that you could possibly start with. Use the search and pick a few keywords related to your brand. Calendar themes and posting categories are also right under the search bar.

2. Start your template from scratch

If you prefer you can start from scratch and build from any inspirations that you may have. Click the yellow plus button in the middle of the bottom menu. You can start from a background of your choice or choose from the new layouts section.

3. Choose a size for your template

For Instagram, choose the square, portrait or landscape sizes. There are many different formats ready for the social media of your choice.

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4. Customize your project template

In the editor play around at your heart's content. Import images from your tablet or Unsplash (a free stock community), choose from hundreds of fonts and graphics and build your background with unique shapes. I love that you can even import fonts if your brand has a custom font. In design, a placeholder text called Lorem Ipsum is used when you don’t have your exact copy yet.

5. Add to folder for your brand

Once you are satisfied with your design, click the yellow arrow in the top right corner and Add to Folder. Name the folder your brand name and place all the templates you create in here to access them when you’re ready. This is all where you save the file to your photos for posting.

6. Repeat steps to create 6-9 more templates

Click the down arrow in the top left corner to be taken to your projects tab. Here you can see all the projects you have been working on or click the folders button at the top to see all your templates related to a specific brand.

7. Edit your templates

WIth your first set of templates completed, now all you have to do is enter in your copy and import your images or video. Push the yellow button in the top right corner to share and save to your photo album for curation and scheduling.




Visually Planning Your Instagram Feed

Now comes the best part, seeing how those first 9 posts will look on your feed! Everything needs to flow, but there are no rules to this – don’t stress or become overwhelmed.

After you upload your newly created media, using the templates you just designed, Later’s preview planner will help you visually see how your feed would look in the Instagram app. Rearrange your posts by dragging and dropping to fit your overall feed flow. If something doesn’t fit, just delete it or use it later.

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Remember, these top 9 posts determine a visitors decision to like, engage or follow. They represent your entire feed as a whole. Choose your posts carefully, take your time and preview how they all mesh together.

There is no rule to how often you should post, but you do need to make yourself a promise about consistency. Consistency is far more important than frequency – your followers want to know what to expect.


4 Brands With Beautiful Instagram Graphics

One of the best features of the bookmark on Instagram is saving posts for inspiration. With bookmarks, you can basically build your own boards right within the app.

I wanted to share 4 visually pleasing feeds that I’ve been crushing on. These brands just make you want to melt in their beauty.

@One37pm

I love One37’s branding. The unique colors are remarkably consistent across their entire feed, and they always have their logo in the corner for at least one of the top 9 posts. One37 is an excellent example of using many templates throughout their feed to make it aesthetically pleasing.

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@insecurehbo

This feed caught my eye earlier on with their bright and bold colorful posts. They’ve eased up on them within the last few months, but their template design was very unique and stood out as you were scrolling through other posts.

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@thescore

Another excellent example of using templates to create consistency. When they quote athletes, you can see the graphics they use are very similar that all they have to do is change the titles, text, and images.

@sarahdelaneyart

Vancouver-based abstract painter Sarah Delaney uses a desaturated color palette to show off her art. You can tell she thinks about every single post well in advance to arrange a feed that is inviting. She likely uses one filter, and posts within the same buckets. When you land on her page, emotions definitely begin to stir just viewing her paintings.

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Regardless of whether you are building a personal or business brand, creating an aesthetic that stands out can help your engagement and brand awareness. As you've learned, developing a series of templates to use on the go will save your time, help you stand out with your brand experience and help you maintain consistency for your Instagram feed.

Sign up for Later to start visually planning your feed, scheduling Instagram posts, and more!

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