Let’s face it: we’re living for all the fantastic new ways you can post your best photos and videos on Instagram. From portrait, landscape, and square photo options, Instagram Stories, Reels, IGTV videos, and videos in your feed…There are so many incredible ways to engage with your followers and deliver eye-catching content.
However amazing these new options are, it can be a little tricky to figure out the ideal Instagram image size for your content, right?
If you’re using Instagram for your business, you’re probably more than familiar with Instagram Stories.
Whether you use it to talk directly to your followers, alert followers of a new Instagram post, share a quote or photo of significance or do a quick repost of content from other accounts, Instagram Stories are a tremendous tool for your business.
But did you know that you also have the ability to change your Instagram story background color?
Most users tend to stick with the default background Instagram chooses based on the colors in your image because the methods to change it aren’t obvious at first glance.
And hey, sometimes, the gradient default color works just fine for your Instagram story background. But most of the time, you could probably use a little more creative freedom!
This blog post tutorial will go over three ways to change the background color of your Story, depending on the effect you are going for!
How to Change the Background Color of Your Instagram Story: 3 Tricks to Know
If you want to give your Insta story a new background, you have 3 options:
Change to a solid background
Upload a background from your camera roll
Add a color tint to your Instagram Story photo
Tailwind Tip: If you can’t find the icons or features discussed in this article, it may be time to head to the App Store (for iPhone) or Google Play store (for Android) and update your Instagram app!
1. Changing Your Instagram Story Background to a Solid Color
To change your background to a solid color:
Upload a photo from your camera roll to the Stories feature on the Instagram app. You can also repost on your Story.
Click the the … in the top right corner and select draw
Select the pen option
Select your desired color with the color dropper tool or choose from the default color options
Tap (press and hold) the pen or eraser tool
Long press (press and hold) the middle of your background
If you uploaded a photo, use the eraser icon to see the picture underneath the background color.
Tailwind Tip: This method is also PERFECT for creating Instagram highlight covers. Just upload the image you want (usually an icon of some sort, such as an airplane to symbolize travel) and change the background color to your brand color.
Repeat for each highlight cover!
Adding an Image Over Your New Background
You can also add a photo over your new background. To do this:
Open your Photos app
Select the image you want to add
Click the ‘Copy Photo’ option from the options menu at the bottom of the screen
Return to the Instagram app (Your Story-in-the-making should still be open)
Click the ‘Add Sticker’ pop-up of your copied photo in the bottom left corner
2. Changing Your Instagram Story Background From Your Camera Roll
If you want to use a specific image or background with more design to it, you can simply make your own.
Making an Instagram Color Palette: Do’s and Don’ts
Learn how to get a color palette on Instagram using our recommended best practices. These dos and don’ts help you create and use an Instagram color palette with ease!
DO: Add your existing brand colors to your theme.
DO: Pick a color palette that fits with the photos you frequently post.
DON’T: Choose colors at random (as you’ll confuse your audience and disrupt your feed.)
DON’T: Post photos on the fly! This increases the chance that your image won’t mesh correctly with your theme and colors.
How to Build Your Own Color Palette for Instagram
From your website to social media channels, your brand colors have meaning. Your best bet is to choose colors that get a response from your audience and ones that fit your brand style!
Right about now you may be wondering, what is my Instagram color palette? Well, let’s find out! ️♀️
All you need is one key color, and a little room to experiment. With these two things, you can build at least five different types of color palettes for Instagram.
Step 1: Choose Your Main Instagram Color
The best color palette for Instagram is one that uses your primary brand or company color.
After all, you put time into choosing your brand color, right?
So, it makes sense to use it in your Instagram color palette.
This way, when people click from your website to your Instagram feed, they know they’re in the right place!
And, it gives you some wiggle room.
If you want to switch Instagram themes later, it’s easier since you’re building off of one color from your brand.
Step 2: Get Familiar with the Color Wheel
Remember the color wheels with seven slices of bright colors?
Or perhaps you’re more familiar with the colors of a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROYGBIV).
Today we’re using an expanded version of the color wheel using 12 colors. This wheel adds:
A color wheel helps you map out how each shade relates to the other.
It’s a handy source of inspiration! (Feel free to pin our Wheel of Fortune to reference later!)
Plus, you’ll gain a bit of confidence knowing that professional designers rely on the same wheel to make color palette selections.
Step 3: Brush Up On Mixology
Chances are, you’re not looking to use all primary colors. To help build color palettes of one or two key colors, it helps to understand which ways you can move up and down the color scale to pull new color shades and tints!
Here’s a crash course on how color mixology works!
If you’re looking for darker shades based on your key color, here’s how they’re created.
Deeper shades of color are created by mixing black into the primary color.
You can get a range of shades depending on the level of black you add!
Tint is created with the opposite!
You can get lighter versions of your key colors to use by just adding a little (or a lot!) of white.
Adding any neutral color (like black, white or grey) will reduce the chroma (read: colorfulness) of a color without changing the hue (the color it is on the color wheel.)
For a middle-of-the-road option, you’ll produce a tone by mixing your base color with grey.
Depending on the shade of grey you blend in, your toned color will be slightly lighter or darker than your base color.
You won’t get as many dramatic variations with grey, but you will get several strong neutral variants to complement your brand.
Step 4: Build Your Instagram Color Palette
Okay. Got your key color? ✅Did you take a gander at the color wheel? ✅Brushed up on mixology basics? ✅
Now it’s time to start building your Instagram color palette. Below we list five color palette ideas for Instagram used by professionals. These are five key styles that inform most professional color palettes you see out in the wild!
Start with your brand color, then pick the wheel that speaks to you. Which one says “this is MY Instagram palette?”
Monochromatic Instagram Color Palette
Monochromatic means one color. But in this palette, you aren’t using only one color. Instead, you’ll pull different shades from the same color family. For example, you may choose all different shades of blue or green.
On Instagram, the monochromatic scheme is popular because it’s easy to get started with.
It’s also not hard to remember when you’re building your feed.
Is it monochromatic the best color palette for Instagram?
Well, many Instagrammers would answer that question with YES!
Complementary Instagram Color Palette
The second-most popular type of palette is the complementary Instagram color palette.
This palette uses two colors that are direct opposites from each other on the color wheel.
This combination really catches your eyes and stands out.
Graphic designer Victoria Hiraoka tells us why, and the best balance to make it work for you!
“In this example, we have teal which is opposite of red-orange on the color wheel. A good rule of thumb is 60% of one color, 30% of the opposite color, and 10% neutrals.”
Analogous Instagram Color Palette
In contrast to complementary, you choose two shades touching your main color on the wheel when building an analogous palette.
Here’s how it works!
Find your brand’s color on the wheel.
Then, choose a shade or shades from either side of it.
Triad Instagram Color Palette
We’re not going to lie: the triad color palette for Instagram is tricky to pull off. You get a vibrant feed. But, it can quickly become a lot to take in. If you aren’t careful about visually planning your feed, it can quickly turn messy!
Up to the challenge? Triad palettes are complex, but beautiful, vibrant and artistic.
With a little practice and a lot of focus, you can really transform your feed with a triad color palette!
A triad uses any three shades that are of equal distance from one another on the color wheel.
In our triad wheel, notice that there are three colors between each shade we chose!
The best way to incorporate a triad color palette on Instagram is to use the 60/30/10 ratio. Then, sprinkle in some neutrals to tone those color splashes down and keep everything nice and balanced!
Neutral Plus Instagram Color Palette
A neutral Plus Instagram feed soothes your viewers and contains just the right pop of color to appeal to audiences of all style preferences!
Neutral shades are also very on-trend right now, being one of the major graphic design trends emerging in 2020.
“It might be tempting on this one to let the color overshadow the neutrals, but your color pop is best used sparingly.
The lower the percentage of your chosen color pop is, the more attention it grabs!”
The Best Color Palette Generator Apps
There are so many options, we know! If you’re having trouble choosing just one color palette for Instagram, there are a ton of apps built to help! We’ve narrowed this list down to our top three IG color palette apps. Get ready to get inspired!
With thousands of 5-star reviews, Palette is a fantastic Instagram color picker. It’s easy to generate a palette from any photo or web link.
Plus, it gives you HEX codes for use across multiple platforms.
If you’d prefer to leave all of the crazy template-building to someone else so you can focus on other aspects of your business, Tailwind Create creates your templates for you! All you have to do is add in your business, select the images you’d like to feature, pick your brand colors, and presto, you’ll have dozens of templates ready in seconds!
Without formal design training, creating social media designs for multiple platforms can seem like a really intimidating task. Especially if it’s up to you as a small business owner or marketer (without a design team to back you up) to have a presence on these digital marketing platforms!
The good news is that it’s not as hard or as time-intensive as you might think to generate consistent content across all your favorite platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
Let’s dive into exactly what it takes to fill your social media content calendar with branded designs for each of your platforms.
But first, we’ll spend some time on why branding on social media is so important for small businesses – and how establishing your branding guidelines early on will make this process even faster!
Why Brand Your Social Media Posts?
We’re so glad you asked. Most people know that from a business perspective, your posts should be branded. But you might not understand exactly why it’s important! That’s okay, we’ll break it down:
Branding Your Social Posts Helps Communicate Your Story and Personality
Humans take visual cues from just about anything they look at. For example, color psychology is a very real science studying how people react to different colors and the emotions that they invoke.
Fonts also evoke emotion and give people a very real impression of who you are and what you’re about from their computer or phone screens. Careful choices in color, font, and design elements can act as a calling card for your personality, without you ever saying a word!
Branding Your Social Posts Creates Brand Recognition and Awareness
Think for a moment about how many posts you see scrolling through your timeline or feed on social media platforms.
Now, think of one or two of your favorite brands or accounts. Can you immediately pick out a post from one of these accounts in the feed without reading the caption? Chances are, you can. This is because you’ve been exposed to this brand often enough to immediately recognize their signature designs!
Firming up your branding and sticking to it will create this same instant recognition among your followers. That in turn builds trust and loyalty.
Branding Your Social Posts Helps Prevent Content Theft
Honestly, it’s a bummer that this has to make it on the list, but it’s true. When you hit publish on your designs, that means they’re ripe for the picking on the web. Other users on social media can easily save and use your unbranded designs as their own content.
When you add your website, your company logo, and even recognizable details from your branding like fonts and colors to the social media designs you publish, it becomes a lot harder for other people to pass them off as their own.
If you’ve worked hard on your designs, your content, and your business, you definitely don’t want someone else to get credit! That’s why we recommend branding your social posts – especially graphics.
How to Brand Your Social Media Posts with Tailwind
So now you know why you should be taking the time to brand your social media posts – now let’s talk about how you do it with Tailwind! It all happens in just a few quick steps.
Once you’re in your Tailwind social media management dashboard, take a look at the left-hand menu. You should see a paintbrush icon – this is our powerful design tool, Tailwind Create!
Before you dive into designing your social posts, you’ll want to set up your branding tools. Click the paintbrush icon, and then select Brand Settings from the top menu.
Step One: Add In Your Website or Brand Name
You can enter your company name (ex: Sample Company) or website (ex: www.samplecompany.com).
This will be automatically generated on all your designs in Tailwind Create, as well as your logos (more on that later!)
Step Two: Select Fonts, Or Upload Your Own!
Tailwind Create has dozens of fonts to choose from to craft the perfect font pairings for your social media designs.
Just browse our available fonts for your title font and subtitle font.
If you need inspiration, check out our curated font pairing choices! Or, upload your custom brand font files if you have them handy!
Step Three: Choose Your Brand Colors
Now that you have your fonts all squared away, you’ll want to add your brand colors into Tailwind Create. This ensures that all of the designs in Create are personalized with your brand colors – talk about cutting down design time!
Choosing your four brand colors in Create is super easy to do. If you know the Hex or RGB codes of your colors, just click on each colored circle and copy and paste. You can also move the dropper tool around until you find the perfect shade!
Tailwind Create also has tons of curated color palettes to browse! If you’re a big believer in seasonal color theory (we are!), you’ll love the curated palettes for the seasons!
Step Four: Upload Your Brand Logos
The final step in your journey to creating perfectly branded social media posts in Tailwind Create is to upload your logos. This is an optional step if you don’t have a logo, but gives you more flexibility with the presentation of branding on your designs!
Upload 200 x 200 pixel logo files by clicking the grey plus sign icon. Make sure your files are .pngs, so the backgrounds of your logos are transparent and can be overlayed onto your design with ease!
Pro Design Tip: Upload your logo in a few different colorways so that you have plenty of flexibility. For example, Tailwind has a blue and a white version of our logo, so that we have plenty of contrast and visibility on every design!
How to Design Your Social Media Posts with Tailwind
Now that you’ve done all the legwork of inputting your brand settings into Tailwind Create, it’s time for the fun part! Creating the perfect social media designs with Tailwind is so easy. In fact, you’re starting from almost done with each design already personalized to your brand as soon as they cross your screen!
Here’s how it works!
Step One: Upload Your Photo
Head on over to Design Gallery, and upload the photo or photos you want to create designs for. If you don’t have a photo handy, you can browse our library of Stock Photos!
If you want to use photos from your website, enter the URL of the page you’d like to pull from.
Available images from that page will populate below, and you can select the ones you’d like to use!
You’ll notice designs start to populate in the gallery with your selected images. You can select any that catch your eye or use the smart filters in our design gallery to find designs matched to your industry, type of content, number of photos, and favorite social platforms.
Step Two: Filter Designs By Your Industry (And More!)
With your photos in place, it’s time to personalize your Tailwind Create designs even more! Take a look at the top menu options above your Design Gallery. You’ll see Post Types,Photo Count, and Categories.
Post Types allows you to see your designs for specific platforms – you’ll find options for Instagram Feed Posts, Instagram Stories, Pinterest Pins, and Facebook Feed Posts here.
Photo Count allows you to preview your creations based on how many photos will be included in the design. You can see design options for “multiple photos”, “one photo”, “no photos”, or “any number of photos” here.
Category is where you can narrow down your design styles based on things like:
Content (is your post about a product, a blog post, a quote?)
Promotion (is this an ad design, an announcement, or a contest?)
Industry (are you in the animals & pets, entertainment, fashion, or travel niche?)
Style (is your brand modern, minimalist, artistic or festive?)
Seasonal (are you designing for Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter?)
Choose the filters that best fit the content you’re looking to create on social media, and watch personalized designs based on your choices fill the screen!
Step Three: Review Your Designs and Make Necessary Tweaks
Now that you’ve got hyper-specific social post designs customized to your brand needs, it’s time to pick your favorites and make any tweaks!
Hit the Photos button to see the design with your other photo selections, or to rearrange the placement of multiple photos in a design.
Hint: this will only work if you’ve selected more than one photo in Step One!
Hit the Layouts button to see the design in different layouts. You’ll see several different options for text placement, picture placement, and justification.
Hit the Colors button to see the image with different combinations of your brand colors. To the right, you can see the different choices from the uploaded brand fonts being used in the element and overlay colors!
You can also click the Edit button to make more in-depth tweaks to your design. You can add additional text, add or remove design elements, or make changes to your photo if your original selections just aren’t working the way you want them to.
In this screen, you can also physically move around any elements of the design!
Step Four: Review Your Branding
Before you’re done creating your social media designs, check your branding one more time. Thanks to the work we did putting in our brand settings above, you should have some options in your Design Settings!
Click on the Branding heading to see branding options for your designs.
You can set your Website or Brand Name to automatically populate on all your social media designs. If you’d rather use your logo, select Logo and the version you’d like to work with.
The designs in your gallery will automatically update with your choices, so you have full power over how your social media post is branded, every time!
Step Five: Select and Schedule Your Social Media Posts
As you finish reviewing and tweaking each of your favorite designs, you’ll want to hit the Select button under each to save them! You can search for new designs, edit and select them one after the other – no need to interrupt your workflow to review and download until the end!
Once you’ve finished designing to your heart’s content for all your platforms, hit the big green Review button in the bottom right corner of your screen. This will show you all of your selected designs, and allow you to do a final check.
If you feel like you need to just move that one thing in order to have a picture-perfect post, just hit the edit button and get that tweaking out of your system! Your designs will still be there waiting for you on your Review screen.
When you’re ready, return to this screen and either download all your images by hitting the download button, or tap the green Go Schedule button to seamlessly send your designs to your Tailwind social media scheduler drafts. It couldn’t be easier to create your social media posts, schedule, and post them with this workflow! ✨
Have any questions about branding your social designs or using Tailwind Create? Drop them in the comments below – we read every one!
But there’s nothing more depressing (or infuriating) than spending precious time designing something beautiful only to have it overlooked or ignored.
If you’re not a professional designer or marketer, knowing what kinds of graphics will make people pay attention can be hard. In fact, even many designers and marketers are often left scratching their heads when their images just don’t connect.
Today, our goal is to help you understand what it takes to create and post scroll-stopping images for social media.
We’ll focus primarily on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook—but these strategies can be adapted and used on a wide variety of platforms including sites like YouTube or your own blog.
The advice in this post comes from a very talented group of professional designers and marketers who have been in the trenches and know what it takes to get their followers’ attention.
So if you want your flowers to STOP and pay attention to you in their social feeds, this roundup of top-notch advice is for you.
Let’s get started:
Tip #1: Follow the Data
We’re starting with this tip because it should literally affect every decision you make about social media design moving forward.
If you’re a true marketer or entrepreneur, data and analytics are the most important things to consider when designing for social feeds.
Ask yourself: What are users actually engaging with?
From there, any other questions about brand consistency, colors, fonts, and images all take a back seat.
“Start out by experimenting with different types of images for your content– different colors, fonts, image types, etc– and find what people are engaging with the most (Pinterest analytics are an INCREDIBLE resource for this!)– and then use that data to make informed decisions about what kind of images to create moving forward. “
Just because you’ve got a good understanding of what it takes to succeed on Pinterest, doesn’t mean the same tactics will work on Instagram.
In fact, they’re almost guaranteed not to.
“It’s essential to make sure that the social media designs adhere to each platform’s size and resolution requirements so that your posts look just right,” explains marketing & design expert Amalia Madalina Pop.
It’s about understanding why your followers are using one platform over another.
“It is essential to understand which platforms are suitable for your business,” Amalia continues. “While Pinterest is one place to find inspiration that leads to purchase, LinkedIn is a more business-oriented platform.”
“Every platform has its specificity. Pick those platforms that will shed the best light on your product or services with the help of social media graphic design.”
“Identify which platform(s) you’re going to share your designs on before starting the design. You’ll have to resize the image to fit the specific dimensions of every platform you plan to share a social media graphic design.
It may seem tedious, but a quick size check could make the difference between cropping out the most important design element and a flawless user experience.”
The overall goal here is to get your followers to feel something when they see your graphics. The more they feel, the more connection they will have with your brand, and the more likely they’ll be to engage in positive ways.
“It may seem counterintuitive at first,” explains designer and marketer Preston Lee, “but sometimes a ‘poorly designed’ image can grab a LOT of attention.”
“You should balance this decision with other considerations like your overall brand appearance, but often, if your posts are too polished, they’ll fade into the background and get swallowed up by all the noise in your followers’ feeds.”
The reasoning behind this is pretty simple:
If an image is over-optimized it can begin to feel too “corporate” or “cold” where a less “official” image can feel authentic, warm, and original.
Tip #5: Provide Additional Value
When designing images for social media, it can pay off to ask yourself “how can I add even more value here?”
“My personal goal is to connect my architectural studio with professionalism and great taste, but also provide value, showing my expertise and educating prospects and clients,” she explains. “This is why there’s always some text, an attention grabbing story or useful information, and a link to a blog post for those who want to learn more.”
Every social media graphic or image should tell a story. And, indeed, each one does whether you intend it or not.
The real challenge is telling the right story in a fraction of a second as your followers are scrolling through their feeds.
For that, you’ll want to harness the power of good composition and hierarchy.
“To create attention-grabbing images, you’ve got to create an engaging composition,” says pro designer Matt Olpinski. “Your graphic can be text-based or image-based, but the composition (or layout) has to captivate the user.”
Great composition starts with getting users to see the most important messages first. This is called hierarchy.
Brian Peters, a marketer working at Shopify, explains the power of hierarchy in your social designs:
“It’s quite likely that you’ll be working with multiple elements in your social media design. And chances are each of those elements will be important to your overall message.
Taking full advantage of the hierarchy design principle starts with an understanding of your goals. Establish the most crucial message as the focal point and … once that’s in place, you can start to build your second or third pieces of information in without taking away from the overall goal.”
In the end, this advice from top marketing and design experts is a great starting point to get users to stop scrolling through their feeds and pay attention to you or your brand.
But let’s come full circle here, back to tip #1 at the top of this post: follow the data.
Take this article and test, experiment, track, and review results. Then take what’s working and do more of it, discarding the ideas that don’t work.
You can also hone in on your own style and strategy for social media design with a little help! With Tailwind Create, you can generate hundreds of show-stopping designs personalized to your brand for your favorite social media platforms. From Pinterest Pins to Facebook posts and everywhere in between, Tailwind Create is here to help you start your social media designs from almost done. Try it out here!
Inclusivity is an important goal for most companies in 2021, but you wouldn’t know it from their social media content.
While most social media platforms have tools to improve accessibility, many creators overlook these essential resources. By ignoring accessibility best practices, you may be hampering your reach, going against your company’s values, and missing out on great engagement by not making your content more inclusive.
Lots of people assume that Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook aren’t set up to meet accessibility needs. Think again!
There are plenty of ways to make your content more engaging for those who can’t consume it as easily. These social platforms have committed to making their platforms more inclusive for all people, and it’s a great reason to do the same!
Here’s why accessibility matters in social media, how you can create a more inclusive online community, and tips for creating more accessible content.
Why Inclusive Design Matters on Social Media
Almost every social media manager has felt the sting of lower reach after an algorithm change. However, many don’t see how they’re stepping over tons of potential viewers every day with poor design.
Even with the most beautiful graphics, snappy captions, and on-trend videos, your design might not cater to your whole audience. Without considering people with limited sight, hearing, or reading capabilities, your content may miss the mark.
Inclusive design ensures that everyone can reasonably engage with your content on social media. Considering that 61 million Americans alone have a disability, you may be accidentally excluding a ton of people from your online communities.
“It’s important to understand that making digital content accessible also means better marketings. As digital marketers, we naturally want to reach as many people as possible, and accessibility helps us do that.”
But designing for accessibility goes far beyond garnering more likes. Including all people in online communities is our social responsibility, and online community builders know how important it is to create a safe and welcoming space for customers and fans.
As photo and video content expands across platforms, creators need to consider accessibility at every stage of the creation and posting process.
What to Consider When Developing Inclusive Communities Online
Designing for accessibility may take more intentionality than you’re accustomed to. However, a new section on a creative brief or a new box on your checklist can lead to an engaged audience you’ve never encountered before.
Part of developing an inclusive community on Instagram, Pinterest, or any social network is thinking about how people with different disabilities access your content.
Platforms are beginning to develop equity teams to understand the needs of people with disabilities better, so the tools available to you are constantly changing.
Even so, those tools only help if you empathize with the experience of people with disabilities and understand how the tools work to enhance their experience.
“Content creators should always consider how their followers—including users with hearing and/or vision disabilities—are going to engage with their content, especially visual elements like photos and videos.
If you’re going to post an image, make sure you write alt text for it so anyone using a screen reader can access it. And of course, videos should always be captioned to make them accessible for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.”
Social media platforms aren’t taking these recommendations lightly. For example, Pinterest took a big step in 2018 when they strengthened screen reader support, improved color contrast sensitivity, and added focus indicators to improve the user experience for those who are visually impaired.
Still, the steps platforms are taking are not enough to absolve businesses from responsibility.
We owe our community great content that they can consume, no matter what tools or resources they use. This is especially crucial on primarily visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, where most content still may not be accessible for certain communities.
Creating More Accessible Content on Pinterest and Instagram
Designing content with accessibility in mind may seem complicated at first. However, it’s actually much easier than you think.
According to Heinrich, there are three key elements to include in every piece of social media content to make it as accessible as possible: a visual component, an audio component, and a readable text component.
“You need a visual component for users who rely on their sight to consume content, an audio component for users who rely on their hearing to consume content, and a readable text component such as a written post or tweet, transcript, or image alt text for users who rely on assistive devices to consume content.”
“Readable text can also double as your audio component if a user is having their screen reader read the content aloud to them.
Flattened copy, such as text on an image or open captions on a video component, does not count because a screen reader cannot typically identify it as readable text,” says Heinrich.
Each component should have substance and tell a story accentuated by, but not dependent on, the other components.
Instead of comprehensively describing the image for people using screen readers, some people use alt text as a duplicate image caption or an opportunity to add keywords.
This popular SEO practice can provide a bad experience for people with disabilities who rely on alt text to “see” the images in your social media post or on your website.
Another example is using emojis in captions. Emojis have alt text connected with them, so a screen reader will relay an emoji as a word that represents the emoji. Thus, having emojis placed unexpectedly between sentences or as a substitute for bullet points can lead to confusion for those who can’t see them.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use emojis in your captions, however. Focus instead on using emojis at the end of sentences, or better yet, at the end of your caption! That way, screen readers still get your message without being stymied by random words like “tree” or “woman in lotus position.”
In cases like these, creating inclusive content involves breaking habits that we may have previously linked to higher engagement.
Three Quick Tips for More Inclusive Content
Creating more accessible content can take some getting used to. Examining your design process and adding new elements for better accessibility may seem daunting, but it can ultimately lead to a stronger online community and more successful social campaigns.
Here are three easy ways to start designing more impactful, inclusive content today.
1. Add Captions to Videos
All captions are good captions, right? Not exactly.
Open captions, or captions embedded in the video file, aren’t as helpful as you may think.
As Heinrich mentioned earlier, these captions often can’t be identified as readable text. Instead, you can add the Caption sticker to your Instagram Stories to auto-caption your videos, or toggle the Auto-Generated Captions setting when you add an IGTV video.
Adding captions supports viewers who are hard-of-hearing while also providing readable text for screen readers. Plus, other viewers might appreciate your captions, too. Facebook reports that 85% of videos are watched on mute, so adding captions can pull in another audience who wouldn’t have heard your videos anyway.
2. Use Hashtags Wisely
As valuable as screen readers are, they can’t always be perfect. With hashtags, adding capitalization can make it easier for screen readers to decipher what a hashtag means.
When a screen reader sees #tailwindapp, it will likely try to stay the entire hashtag as one word. Capitalization can clarify that the hashtag contains specific words and ensure it is read correctly for the user.
While we’re on the subject, adding 30 hashtags to the bottom of an Instagram caption or multiple in a Pinterest caption can provide a bad experience for vision-impaired users. Add hashtags to a comment, instead.
How to Add Hashtags to First Comment with Tailwind
Posting your Instagram hashtags to the first comment is a powerful tool for accessibility – and happens with just one click with Tailwind’s Instagram scheduling tool!
Add your hashtags from the suggestions in Hashtag Finder, or add your favorite Hashtag List from saved Hashtag
Check the box for “Post hashtags in first comment” (with Tailwind Auto Post enabled!)
It’s as easy as that! When it’s time to post, we’ll send your carefully crafted content to your Instagram, automatically populating the hashtags at the end of your caption into your first comment on the post. Presto!
3. Add Meaningful Text Captions
One word, quippy captions have become normal on Instagram and Pinterest. However, when users can’t clearly see an image, they have no idea what your post is about without meaningful context!
Expand on the story in your image or video with a detailed, informative caption. While it may not follow the current stylistic trends, it will make a big difference in how people experience your content. Captions can be especially impactful on Instagram Reels, where video trends aren’t always the most inclusive.
For Pinterest, adding relevant information into dedicated fields (like a website address into the URL field) or details in your Pin description can ensure your caption stays easy to read.
Always focus on how content appears on the Pin before repinning other users or brands, and adjust content or formatting to match your accessibility goals. Adding clearly visible text overlays to your Pin with enough contrast to read is a great way to do this.
In fact, you can add clearly readable text overlays and appropriately contrasted color palettes to all your social media designs with Tailwind Create!
Putting Inclusivity First in Social Media Communities
As social media managers, we interact with our communities every day. Our brand is so much more than just a company, and interacting with different people is often the best part of the job. That’s why it’s our responsibility to do better and expand our community to welcome everyone.
Designing with inclusivity in mind may take a few extra steps, but it’s well worth the effort if it means everyone has the opportunity to engage. There are many benefits to accessible design for social media, but the main benefit will always be creating a rich, strong community where no one is left out.
Do you have any accessibility tips you use for social media? Let us know in the comments!
Design trends come and go, and every year we see new photo styles on Instagram. In 2021, photographers, influencers, and brands are changing the game by focusing on a few key design elements.
If you’re looking to improve your Instagram posts and get noticed, we are here to help. To get you started, we have compiled a list of the 12 design trends to consider in 2021. While a few of our favorites include retro, animations, and spot color, we challenge you to try all of the suggestions on this list.
Don’t forget — the Tailwind app can do the hard work for you. In a flash, you can personalize your images, discover relevant hashtags, and schedule at the right time of day.
Read on to discover how you can transform your Instagram profile like a designer:
#1. Gone Retro
What’s old is new again. In 2021 there is a feeling of nostalgia as posts have been going retro.
Some of the most iconic decades are making a comeback, including the ’20s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and even the ’80s!
With vintage color palettes, big skirts, milkshakes, tapedecks, and some of the coolest cars you’ve ever seen, you are only limited by your imagination.
Want a quick way to put a retro spin on a modern photo?
Try the X-Pro II, Valencia, or Rise filters. These are available for free via your Instagram account!
Why use images when words can say it all? Most of us have short attention spans, and we can miss those carefully composed captions as we scroll, scroll, scroll.
If you have something to say, why not make it the focus by adding it to your image.
There are a few simple rules you should consider if you want to engage your followers with typography. For example, your post should be easy to read, and because it’s Instagram, it should also be visually appealing.
Whether it’s a funny meme, an inspirational quote, or a handy tip — make every word count.
Are you looking to build your Instagram followers? One way to do this is by keeping on top of current design trends. In 2021, there are 12 key Instagram trends to consider.
We told you about going retro, mood boards, natural wonders, clever animations, soft pastels, typography, geometric shapes, muted tones, spot color, voxel art, and metallic gold. How many of these design trends have you already spotted in your newsfeed this year?
Sign up to the Tailwind app and uploading, scheduling, adding hashtags, and designing will be easier than ever before. You don’t need a degree in marketing or a full time social media expert, because this is a tool that everyone can master.
With so many innovative trends to choose from, the only question left to answer is, which one is your favorite?
With over 1 billion users globally, Instagram is now by far the most popular social media platform on the planet. Arguably the cooler younger sister of parent platform Facebook (which has 2.6 billion users worldwide), Instagram is growing bigger by the day, resulting in a constant stream of new Instagram trends and features.
Instagram has become a key channel for marketers to engage potential customers, and is now a cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy. But, with the ever-increasing amount of content being posted on Instagram everyday, it can be extremely difficult to stand out.
So if you want to up your Instagram game and ensure your content makes an impact in 2021, you’ve come to the right place! Including everything from content tips and tricks to the low-down on new features such as Instagram Reels and Instagram Shops, here are 5 easy ways to make your Instagram content shine…
Thanks to the evolution of smartphone technology, these days almost anyone can shoot, edit and upload high-quality visual content to Instagram. But, with so much content now being posted every day, if your assets aren’t up to standard they’ll stick out like a sore thumb. If you want your Instagram to stand out in the right way, it’s important to keep all your posts looking polished and professional.
The first step in creating high-quality content is good editing. Adjusting levels using presets or adding an artistic flare with brushes and add-ons is the easiest and quickest way to take your photos and videos to the next level. But, if you’re lacking in high-quality pics or videos to post in the first place, a great way to source feed-worthy content is through user-generated content (UGC).
UGC is any content — videos, images, reviews — created by your customers or users. One of the most authentic forms of digital word-of-mouth marketing, UGC can serve as a continuous source of assets and inspiration for your Instagram and enable you to become more relatable to your audience. However, if you don’t have piles of UGC at your fingertips just yet, there are plenty of unique and authentic stock photos, videos and graphics out there to choose from! Search for visuals that fit your brand look, feel, and color palette, edit and make them your own, post them on Insta, and voilà!
2. Consistency is Key
Every marketer knows that the key to successful Instagram content is branding, and the key to strong branding is consistency! If you want your brand to get noticed on Instagram, you need to keep your content as consistent as possible.
Posting regularly, maintaining a consistent tone and messaging, as well as keeping up a clear and continual visual style means that your Instagram audience will become increasingly familiar with your content and, eventually, your brand.
Customers are drawn to brands they recognize, so make sure all your branding aligns across every channel – including your Instagram, your other social platforms, your blog, your newsletter, and your website.
One of the easiest ways to maintain consistent content on Instagram is by using templates. Using Instagram templates for your Stories, IGTV and feed posts will ensure that all your Instagram content is aligned every single time. Instagram templates include a mix of graphics, colors, and placeholders for photos and other visuals so that you can easily add your assets and messaging.
3. Connect With Your Community
While building a strong brand is one thing, building a strong, loyal Instagram following is just as important! So, if you want to continue growing your Instagram audience, it’s absolutely crucial to connect with your community.
With so many brands now trying to stand out on Instagram, consistent customer referrals and word-of-mouth marketing is absolutely key to building a loyal following. Don’t underestimate the power of social media for attracting customers and communicating with your community – a little bit of interaction goes a long way.
Interact with your followers in the comments, engage with them on Stories by using Polls, Questions or Quizzes, and make sure to reply to all DMs in a friendly, yet professional way.
It also pays to make all your info and links easily accessible so your followers don’t have to go digging for your website, FAQs or contact information. A great way to do this is by turning your Instagram link in bio into a one-stop shop for your brand, featuring your website, contact details, products and online store in one easy-to-find location.
4. Create Engaging Video Content
Over the last few years, video has become a staple of our social media feeds. In fact, short snackable video has quickly become Instagram’s most engaging format, with videos now generating 49% more engagement than photos. Long story short – creating engaging video content is crucial if you want to stand out on Instagram.
Now with over 500 million daily users, Instagram Stories are perhaps the easiest way to create engaging video content on Instagram. Fun features such as filters, music, polls, and even swipe-up links are available to add to Stories, allowing you to post anything from polished, pre-filmed promos to raw and authentic behind-the-scenes snippets.
In addition to Instagram Stories, IGTV and Instagram Live, Reels is Instagram’s latest video feature. Quick, fun, and super easy to use, Reels allows users to produce short, in-feed videos which can be edited with audio and music, similar to videos on TikTok. You can upload premade videos, edit multiple video clips into one, or even create content all within the Instagram app to create short, snappy and engaging videos every time.
5. Try Out New Trends & Features
Instagram is a constant stream of new trends, features and formats, so if you want to stay on top of your Instagram game, you’ve gotta stay trend savvy!
Trying out new Instagram formats and features is a great way to stay relevant, and to show your followers that you’re across all the latest and greatest updates. First off, make sure you’re up to speed with Instagram Live, Reels, and all the latest Instagram Stories updates – such as Create Mode, interactive Stories stickers, trending filters or features such as Polls and Quizzes. Secondly, keep your eyes peeled for any new and exciting Instagram trends – you never know when they might crop up!
One of the biggest and most exciting trends to hit Instagram in 2021 has been social commerce. While this trend has been slowly infiltrating our social platforms over the last few years, the official introduction of Instagram Shops has truly solidified social commerce as one of the hottest trends to watch.
Perfect for brands and businesses wanting to create content that converts on social media, Instagram shops allow your customers to browse products, explore collections and purchase products all within the Instagram app using Instagram checkout. Shoppable posts are definitely the way of the future, so if you’re an online retailer, get ahead of the game with Instagram Shops to streamline your online shopping experience!
And that’s a wrap on our 5 easy ways to level up your Instagram content!
Author Bio: Kelsie is the Editor of the Envato Blog. Experienced in the fields of design, music and digital marketing, Kelsie is a connoisseur of all things creative. Editor by day and singer/songwriter by night, she is a dedicated writer, musician and pun enthusiast.
Visual hierarchy is an important tool for marketers when creating jaw-dropping designs. On everything from campaigns, social media graphics and even Pinterest Pin designs, an understanding of visual hierarchy can help take your designs to the next level!
Hierarchy design is, after all,present in almost everything we view. It’s in UX design, campaigns, pictures, and blog posts to name just a few!
This guide will explore important things to know about visual hierarchy.
It also covers how to use visual hierarchy effectively with graphic design – no design degree required!
What is Visual Hierarchy?
“Good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual.”
The concept of visual hierarchy gets its roots from Gestalt design principles.
Basically, visual hierarchy helps your audience digest your content visually in increments, to hold their short attention spans.
It’s achieved by highlighting elements like design color, font, position, space, weight, or size strategically.
Suppose you have information in a design that you want to prioritize and share, such as a call to action. Visual hierarchy can help you use design elements to shift your audience’s focus to that particular element first!
Why Should You Care About Effective Visual Hierarchy?
Whether or not you use a professional designer (or can afford one for your brand), your audience is still visually processing your graphics, posts, and pictures according to the hierarchy of design.
Visual hierarchy is both the understanding of how humans process information with their eyes, and how quickly.
The purpose of visual hierarchy is to help you get your message across before your audience loses interest. And, this is important!
Well-thought-out visual hierarchy in graphic design can make or break a business or brand.
Used effectively, your audience might continue to scroll, read and share your content with others. This impacts engagement rates and increases traffic!
If not used correctly, a reader might quickly lose attention and close out your post or blog. This might result in dwindling traffic or high bounce rates from your web pages.
The Six Visual Hierarchy Design Principles You Can Use Right Now
Now you know why design hierarchy is important.
Let’s next turn our attention to each guiding principle. We’ll also explore how to use them effectively in your social media posts and designs.
This guide also includes several visual hierarchy examples from social media and the web to help you understand each concept.
Most cultures read top-to-bottom and left-to-right. Depending on the initial scan of a graphic or page, this reading pattern can take on a different shape.
That’s why understanding quick reading patterns can help you catch and keep your viewers’ attention.
With their curiosity piqued by your design, they’ll want to stick around and learn more!
There are two popular reading patterns to know – the “F Pattern” and the “Z Pattern.”
The F-shaped pattern for reading resembles, as you might have guessed, the letter ‘F.’
It’s usually used with text-heavy pages like blogs and articles.
With the F-pattern, the user’s eyes scan the top left side of the page looking for keywords in bolded headings.
They then read across the top and to the right for something that captures their attention.
Next, they’ll scan the left side of the page for another heading and repeat the process a second time.
In essence, a reader is looking to the left first for keywords, headings and bolded phrases. When they see one of these clues that capture their attention, they’ll then read across.
What results from this? The first few lines and words of content can receive the most attention.
As a result, a few ways to optimize your design include:
Using bullet points and short paragraphs
Short headlines with H2, H3, H4 headings
Bolding important phrases and keywords within paragraphs for easy visibility
The ‘Z’ Pattern, on the other hand, occurs when a user scans the top of the page first for important information from left to right. They’ll then move at a diagonal back to the left, and read across again.
This creates a Z pattern and is most commonly seen on designs with fewer words, like web pages, ads, and graphic designs.
The eye is attracted to elements of a visual rather than blocks of words.
To help you optimize your design with this reading pattern:
Place important parts of your design (logos, CTAs, important information etc) along the path of the Z pattern.
Look for a web design that incorporates this reading pattern into the layout – with important widgets and sections easily visible.
Place logos along the top of your design or bottom right for easy recognition, and use the impact points of the Z for other important pieces.
Size and Scale
This next section explores size and scale in graphic design.
People tend to read larger words and texts first, as these are the first things people notice in visual hierarchy.
Basically larger texts tend to get noticed first and are considered more important in the design. The same is true with shapes, symbols, images, and illustrations.
As your scale gets smaller in your design, those elements are considered less important in the visual hierarchy than the largest element.
With design, you can use size and scale to help guide your viewers in the direction that you want them to read or see first.
Make other elements smaller if these are less important. Here’s a good example:
Notice in the image above that the words ‘Night School’ catch your eye more than the text in yellow.
The tendency to read larger things first can actually override the “top-down” rule when reading – that’s how important scale is!
Color and Contrast
With visual hierarchy colors, using bright, bold colors strategically can draw the eye first to focus on your design.
Bold colors like red and yellow can quickly catch a user’s attention. Red and yellow are popular because we commonly associate red with sales banners and stop signs.
Yellow is often used to stress caution or give a warning. However, you don’t want too make your entire design too bold, and here’s why!
The impact of bold colors diminishes when you use too many in your design.
It’s best to experiment with color and contrast for the right effect.
If you use one color temperature in your design, it can create a cohesive look. What’s more, using contrasting color temperatures can capture a user’s attention.
While yellow and red are eye-catching with dark backgrounds, cooler hues will recede! So experiment with different color schemes and tints to find the best effect.
Spacing and Texture
Spacing and design texture can give your design balance and flow with a defined visual hierarchy.
Always include some blank space in your design, as these give your elements and text room to breathe and the user can more quickly process them.
The image from the movie Coraline above uses a large amount of blue in the background. This helps the tree stand out and the moon, while bright, isn’t overpowering.
And in the image below, notice the mix of fonts of all sizes. The eye isn’t immediately drawn to the smaller fonts.
The larger white text, yellow and brown text stands out first. If you’ll notice, there’s a slight z-pattern here. You want to give your users’ eyes a place to rest and a defined path to travel.
Typographic hierarchy is crucial in designs with text to support visual hierarchy.
The hieratic scale is the system where important visuals are larger than others. It dates back to ancient art and helped convey focus and power.
There are three different levels of typographic hierarchy:
These are the largest and most important details you want a user navigating to first.
A typeface weight or font can vary in thickness and size. Thin typeface weights are more formal and elegant while thicker fonts are ideal for posters and headlines.
Headings and larger fonts are the first and primary elements visible to a viewer’s eyes. Only use headings for important information! Heading examples include business or product names, title treatments, and headlines.
These help to organize designs into sections or groupings.
While not as visible as headings, secondary fonts are medium-sized and help viewers navigate different parts of your design.
Subheadings can also include contact information, locations, and other non-important details.
These are all the details you need to convey in your design. They support your headings and subheadings and these tertiary fonts are the smallest.
Copy can include the main text of a blog, article, or product description. Use bold to make a point, and with bullet points. Use italics for quotes and titles.
Composition and Direction
Composition and direction give your design an overall structure, which is crucial for quick understanding from viewers.
And, different fonts, font sizes, and colors guide the reader who can legibly view the details. Hence, there are several compositional techniques that designers use.
Rule of Thirds
With this approach, divide your designs into two equal columns and two equal rows. The placement of the images shows the focal point’s location.
It’s also easier to see the object(s) a reader’s eyes will focus on. The grid line points that intersect are where the eyes should focus.
Take the image above on the left. Centering the egg in the picture makes it the focal point. Contrast that with the second image. The egg hits right on the line of interest.
This leaves ample negative/white space for a headline and copy. When emphasizing particular aspects in a design, increase the white space around it to isolate a key element.
The viewer can then navigate directly to the focal point!
Rule of Odds
This technique uses the equal alignment of items in content instead of haphazardly displaying them.
Items aren’t placed arbitrarily but have equal left and right margins.
To show motion visually, we use implied movement.
This is achievable with directional lines, gestures, an object’s size, or an implied eye-line.
In the image above, it’s perceived that the dog is breathing on the bird. And, well, you can gather the rest!
Visual Hierarchy Tips
When creating designs, guide your reader to keep them on track with your message.
You might have a lot of information to share, and spacing out your elements can help!
Here are a few visual hierarchy tips:
Show your viewer where to start with bold color, a large font, image, or focal point. In the Shutterfly image, first, the photo books are the biggest eye-catcher. Second, the viewer focuses on the headline, and third, the call to action (CTA).
Make important items big and non-important items smaller. Fourth, the text under the headline is smaller as it’s not as important. The fifth is the deal/offer and sixth is the free shipping offer in the top navigation.
Select bold colors or use muted colors on a darker background. Use shade or intensity to highlight elements you want to stand out.
Show relationship through proximity. Use blocks or circles to show how items relate.
Use repetition and similar styles to visually pair groups. The images with the pineapple above all have something ‘green’, i.e., pineapples or plants in different sizes.
Visual Hierarchy for Non-Designers: The Possibilities are Endless!
Visual hierarchy includes reading patterns, size and scale, color and contrast, spacing and technique, composition and direction, and typographic hierarchy.
Understanding these hierarchy design elements can help you make effective graphics and posts on social media that users can quickly comprehend.
Visual hierarchy graphic design concepts are present everywhere, and you can find examples in art, media, blogs, and even app design.
Would you like to share your favorite design tip or trick for non-designers? Use the comment section below!
Let’s be honest. Not everyone that wants to create their own visuals has the time, energy and money to become a professional graphic designer.
Heck, I’m not even a real designer. (I just play one on TV! )
But that doesn’t stop me from keeping tabs on the latest graphic design trends and using them to improve my skills.
And you absolutely can, too! That’s why I’ve collected to collect some valuable graphic design tips to use on Instagram in 2020.
The trick is to start simple and perfect the basics. No complex ideas and techniques here! Instead, I’m focusing on how to improve your color, font and background choices in your visuals this year.
So let’s get to it!
Graphic Design for Instagram Tip 1: Muted Color Palettes
Let’s start with one of the easiest to implement of 2020 graphic design trends: muted colors.
After years of vivid, bright colors dominating the design world, designers are stepping back from in a big way and embracing muted colors.
This makes a lot of sense if you think about it!
If everyone and their mom is using bold colors in their content, those pieces quickly lose their ability to stand out.
Instead of standing out from the noise on social media, your bold visuals just become part of it.
Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with muted color palettes. You’ve probably seen muted colors on social media for the past year or so! Here’s some examples from LinkedIn‘s latest marketing materials:
How to Make Muted Color Shades
So how do you get muted colors for graphic design, anyway?
Muted colors are created by taking vivid colors and infusing them with white, black or a complementary color. Here’s an example.
In my mind muted colors are vivid colors that have had their “edge” taken off.
As you can see these color palettes are a lot less abrasive than some of the vivid colors that have dominated social in the past few years.
We also tend to see muted colors as more natural and commonly occurring in our everyday surroundings.
That’s why a lot of health and lifestyle brands are embracing them!
For example, take a look at Ellevest‘s visual design aesthetic in their feed and website!
And there’s another smart reason to use muted colors in your graphic design strategy.
Muted shades also won’t dominate your graphic! They allow other elements of your design shine through.
If you want to use a muted color as your background, like below, it won’t distract from your message!
If these designers had used a very bright or vivid color, the text would be hard to read. Especially on smaller phone screens!
So if you’re itching to upgrade your visuals this year, why not start including a few muted shades in your color palette?
How to Add Muted Colors Into Your Existing Brand Color Palette
The best part about muted colors is that they’re easy to work into an existing brand palette!
Simply use your brand colors as a starting point, and then create a secondary palette with a simple infusion of black or white to your key brand colors.
Graphic Design for Instagram Tip 2: Use Genuine Stock Images
Once color trends start to change, the most popular types of stock photos seem to follow.
As I mentioned, muted colors feel very natural and subdued, especially when compared to popular vivid colors of the past.
These stock photos look like you snapped them while exploring the city one day.
Instead of stiff poses and extravagant layouts, these images capture real people doing everyday things.
Plus the editing is not extreme with natural background, which makes the photos feel very authentic! This is so important, as social media tires of overly edited and fake looking stock photos that some brands use.
This year you’re going to see a lot more muted, genuine, and neutral stock photos in graphics. You should jump on this trend yourself to attract more engagement!
Let me be honest for a second. I used to hate stock photos. I would avoid using them as much as possible in my graphics, especially on social media!
But thankfully, we’re in the middle of a stock photo revolution. Thousands of talented creatives are allowing people to use their lifestyle photos on sites like Unsplash, Creative Market, DepositPhotos and more!
You just have to know what you’re looking for!
For example, when selecting photos that feature people, try to look for candid-seeming photos that haven’t been overly enhanced.
And when it comes to locations, look for muted tones and realistic editing. The stock photos should look pretty similar to what you would see if you visited that place in real life!
Now I know “genuine stock photos” might seem a little backward when you take the time to think about it. In theory, stock photos were created to be used across a bunch of different situations and graphics.
But if you know what to look for and follow some of the tips above, you can find a super authentic stock photo in no time.
And Tailwind for Instagram makes it easier than ever! With our new Unsplash integration, you can search and post lifestyle images to Instagram in seconds.
Want to try it for yourself? Sign up for a [sc name=”free-trial-of-tailwind-for-instagram”]!
Graphic Design for Instagram Tip 3: Use Bold & Heavy Fonts
The past two graphic design trends of 2020 feel pretty reserved and work exceptionally well together because of that.
However, for visual content to truly be eye-catching on social platforms you need to have solid contrast. Especially if you’re including text or a title in your graphic!
So if you’re embracing muted colors and lifestyle stock photos, make sure you also start using some heavy or extra bold fonts to catch the eye.