What is an Instagram Theme and Should I Have One?

November 27, 2018

An Instagram theme is a way of cohesively planning your photos so that they "match" in some way. How you do this varies from case to case and account by account, but it's usually about the message and mood you want your account to convey. But should you even have one?  Let's dive into the What, Why and How of Instagram themes to help you answer that question.

What is an Instagram theme?

As I said, an Instagram theme is a cohesive style of editing, styling or posting photos so that when viewed as a whole on your profile, they “match” in some way. There’s a number of different ways to achieve this, but one of the most common is editing photos in a way that emphasises certain colours. Miss Katy English is an excellent example of this theme style as shown below. Her photos are warm toned and friendly, helped along the way by her bright smiling face! But there are heaps of different ways to be cohesive without restricting yourself to such an obvious colour palette. This may solely be by the content of your Instagram (food, makeup, fitness, travel etc), or it may be about a mood you wish to convey. If you're feeling extra creative, it may even be a collage theme! (Check out Amy Leigh Scott for an excellent example of a collage theme!)

Basically an Instagram theme can help to immediately convey to new visitors what your account and by extension, your business is about. This is what I mean by consistency and cohesiveness more than anything - keeping in mind that a lot of users don't always read captions, if this photo you want to post doesn't reflect to potential new followers what your brand is about, is this really the right place for it?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Katy English (@misskatyenglish) on

Miss Katy English follows a colour based theme, which is warm and bright. Through her imagery, she evokes a friendly vibe that is engaging and welcoming for new followers.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ptula ™ {pa-toola} (@ptulaactive) on

P'tula Active imagery revolves around a strong female community that is friendly and supportive. They celebrate the female form and show an attainable lifestyle through their activewear.

Why have an Instagram theme?

An Instagram theme is somewhat of a branding exercise. By being consistent in the way you edit, style or post your photos, you can evoke significant brand recognition amongst your followers. By being cohesive, you're more likely to attract your ideal audience (and thereby increase followers) because they can see right away what your account is about.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so your Instagram is saying a lot about you. When we brand an Instagram, not only are we thinking about who we're marketing too, but it can also be helpful to think about how we want to make them feel. Is it bright and happy? Is it homely and cosy? Is it feminine and soft, or masculine and rigid? Is it chic and sleek, is it aspirational, inspirational, accessible or attainable? Think about your brand and the type of followers you want to attract (or repel) and create photos that will do just that.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lauren Aston Designs (@laurenastondesigns) on

Lauren Aston Designs is all about personality. She makes knitting fun and trendy, through a series of photos that show off the amazing quality of her products, but also hooks you in with her friendly and engaging manner. She makes you feel like you know her!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kelly&Andra | WithGrace&Gold® (@withgraceandgold) on

Kelly and Andra from With Grace & Gold value soft feminine aesthetics that are specifically designed to attract their target audience: other entrepreneurial women, just like them.

How do I create an Instagram theme?

Basically I say to clients to focus on your "Top Nine". New visitors to your profile need to be able to see from your nine most recently posted photos what you're all about. If you're a fashion brand and your top nine is full of photos of what you had for lunch, you're going to confuse people and you won't get the kind of followers you want. The best tool you can use for cultivating your top nine is a planning app. A planning app will show your most recently posted photos and lets you arrange your yet to be posted photos in a logical and cohesive way. This means you can see what's coming and what order to post your photos for the best brand cohesiveness. There are heaps of these types of apps, but here's a selection:

Planning apps

Preview (my fav)

Aside from actually planning your posts in advance, how you create your theme will ultimately depend on the type of theme you choose to have. But again, there are plenty of apps and websites that can help you along the way. Here's a few I recommend and some I even use for both for my own account.

Editing apps

All of these apps have free and paid for presets you can use and customise to create your unique brand identity. You can even find more free ones by Googling!

Lightroom (the phone app is free! But if you get the desktop app as well, it will automatically sync the edits you make on your computer to your phone and vice versa.)
A Color Story

Design Apps

For creating cohesive graphics for text overlay, quotes or delivering messages.

Adobe Spark
Photoshop (helpful for creating collage themes like Aldi UK)

Whether or not you have a strong visual theme based on colours or you theme your feed by content, the most important thing will always be about how you convey your message to your audience. Make sure what you're posting is reflective of you and your business, and that you're always adding value (even if it's just a bit of joy).

Have you got an Instagram theme? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below!


Laura x

Pin it for later!

What is an Instagram theme and should I have one?
Why should I have an Instagram theme?

Liked that? Try these

How do I know I'm ready to hire a Website Designer?

Plug-and-play website templates can be so handy, especially when you're new. But how do you know you're ready to invest in a website designer?

Read More
5 Creative Market Downloads Perfect for a Retro Vibe

Need affordable retro inspired additions to your funky fun brand? Creative Market has got the goods for you & I've put together 5 of my faves!

Read More
Gain Clarity Around Where You Show Up and Why

There is a distinct advantage to knowing where you show throughout your digital presence and why. But where you should show up and why?

Read More
1 2 3 17
Laura F Gosney
Hey, I'm Laura
I’m a Soulful Brand and Website Designer specialising in creating beautiful, personality-driven brands that showcase how remarkable you truly are.

For more than 5 years, I’ve worked with innovative e-commerce founders, passionate service-based businesses, and inspiring creatives to capture the remarkable soul of their work and transform that into a brand and website they can feel proud of.
Find out how I can help
I acknowledge the First Nations people as the Traditional Owners of the land on which I live and work, i.e. Meanjin, Brisbane. Sovereignty was never ceded.
Copyright © 2023 Laura F Gosney ABN: 88 413 183 164

Words by Brit Stevens
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram