Have you ever visited an Instagram profile and been seriously WOWed by the look and feel of the feed? You might scroll a lot farther down than you normally would just to see all those carefully-curated visuals. These gorgeous accounts might even make you wonder if you could ever use an Instagram theme idea like that for your own content.
We don’t blame you! And you CAN!
Employing a cohesive theme to your Instagram content does more than just make your feed pretty (although this is a great perk!). In fact, a gorgeous, well-thought-out theme can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you in your social media marketing strategy!
Why? Let’s dive into why Instagram themes play a huge part in your Instagram strategy, and then we’ll teach you how to use them yourself!
Are Instagram Themes Important?
A similar look across all your Instagram posts ties each unique piece of your content together, boosts engagement among your existing followers, and even charms potential followers who have stumbled across your profile, increasing the chances they’ll hit that blue “Follow” button.
An Instagram theme also helps you convey your brand personality and effortlessly raises brand awareness. It trains your followers to know what to expect from your content and even allows them to recognize it in their own feeds without even reading the caption.
Travel blogger Helene Sula uses a suite of Lightroom presets on her content that creates a cohesive, warm-toned look – perfect for capturing the detail of those far-off destinations!
Pretty cool, huh? The best part is, creating a theme for your Instagram content doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be really simple with the right tools, and a theme concept that you’ll apply to all your Instagram photos and videos consistently.
Heads up: this doesn’t just mean using the same filters over and over, although that’s one way to achieve a theme! There are actually many ways to theme your feed that have nothing to do with the way your photos look!
What Are Instagram Themes?
Before we get into the technical details of how to plan and execute a theme in your own Instagram feed, let’s back up a little bit and clarify what we mean by an “Instagram theme,” because it can be a lot of things!
Applying an Instagram theme means you’ve used one or more elements of visual consistency across all of your Instagram content – and it’s obvious when looking at your 9 grid. Basically, one or more things look the same or are highlighted similarly in each of your Instagram photos. This could be one color, a style of cropping or using borders, similar photo styles, or even patterns in the feed itself.
For example, Instagram user Tj Brooks alternates portrait and landscape orientations in his feed to create an eye-catching gallery out of his content.
Instagram theme ideas are endless, and in 2019, they’re more popular than ever! Now for the fun part – Let’s get into planning and launching a theme on your own feed.
How To Use An Instagram Theme On Your Feed
Successfully launching an Instagram theme is easy to do, with a little bit of planning and the right kind of tools. Let’s get started!
1. Decide On Your Theme
First things first! Decide on your theme – one commonality between colors, filters, borders or a specific way of arranging your content (think tiles or vertical lines). Don’t be afraid to do some research on popular Instagram theme ideas, or simply check out 20 of our favorite themes below!
2. Collect Everything You’ll Need to Produce Your Content
If you decide to use certain filters or colors as your Instagram feed, some extra tools may be required. One of the most popular (and easiest) ways to achieve consistency with colors and tones in Instagram is by using presets!
Presets are downloadable photo editing settings that you can purchase from a website, vendor or designer and install right into your Adobe Lightroom app. You can then apply these presets (kind of like a fancy Instagram filter!) to your photo with one click and your photo is ready to go!
If presets sound like too much work, you can also use a cool filter app like ColorStory – or stick to Instagram’s tried-and-true photo filters!
3. Start Snapping Away!
When you’re just starting out with an Instagram theme, it helps to plan out and collect several photos in advance. Take some time to select photos that fit your theme, or go out and take some! This will make the launch of your new look a breeze when you begin to style your feed.
4. Upload Your Posts to Tailwind and Arrange Your Photos with the New 9-Grid Preview!
We recently launched our all-new version of Tailwind’s 9-Grid preview, now with real-time integration with our Instagram Auto-Scheduler! Now when you upload your Instagram posts to Drafts, you’ll see what your Instagram feed will look like as your scheduled posts go to Instagram.
Using this tool, you can drag and drop your images into each slot, arranging and re-arranging until you get your newly-themed content just right!
If you’re still stuck on exactly what type of theme you’d like to use on your own feed, take a look at our list of 20 Instagram theme ideas below! You’ll wow your followers (and attract new ones!) with any of these striking signature looks.
20 Popular Instagram Theme Ideas to Get You Started
Here’s a collection of 20 Instagram theme ideas that are currently inspiring us. Feel free to use any of these theme ideas as a jumping off point for designing your feed, without wondering if you’re just copying! Although the theme idea may be the same, your Instagram content is uniquely you. This Instagram theme inspiration will just help you showcase your content the best way possible!
1. Alternating Borders
When you open a photo for cropping and editing in Instagram, you have the option to display the full photo by zooming out, leaving white space to fill the rest of the square. User James Hill uses this trick to create a gallery in his feed out of travel photos!
2. Bright Whites
There’s something so fresh and clean about bright white feeds with pops of color and detail. The Nest at Ruth Farms uses bright white filters on their Instagram content to expertly showcase the snowy white barn at the heart of their event venue.
This Instagram theme will work best for you if your content is frequently photographed in a white, bright space with natural light. To use this look, download a bright and airy or minimalist preset, or use an editing app. Make sure to carefully arrange photos with pops of color, like the greenery above, to even out the color balance in your feed.
3. Clean Background
Clean white backgrounds are great for emphasizing details without distraction. Take food blogger Emily Frisella’s feed, for example!
The clean white background immediately draws the viewer’s eye to the scrumptious dishes with minimal distraction. This theme will work perfectly for your feed if your focus is on products, services, or dishes (yum!) with a lot of color and detail.
To make this theme work for you, consider investing in a photo set or space with an all-white backdrop and good lighting. This will cut down on editing time, and make showcasing your goodies a breeze!
4. Color Contrasts
NYC blogger Courtney Quinn’s Instagram feed is a color enthusiast’s dream! While many Instagram themes emphasize one color, hue or tone to a photo, this theme is all about bold splashes of contrasting color.
To use a colorful theme like this, train your eye to find high contrast photo opportunities. You’ll also want a color-editing app to punch up all the radiant hues! When arranging your content make sure to switch up the placement of colors. This balances out the visuals and ensures you don’t have blobs of one color dominating your feed!
5. Color Coordination
Color coordination is a great way to theme your feed while leaving some wiggle room for lots of different types of content. Take WorkParty, for example!
This Instagram profile uses a lot of different shots, including flat lays, “grabby hands”, quotes and more. Even though the types of images, graphics and videos vary from day to day, the 9-grid is pulled together by the color pink throughout each post.
You can make this theme concept work for you feed, too! Just pick a primary color (and some accent colors, if you’d like) and select images for your feed with an eye to your primary color. No matter what the content is, there should be a note of that color somewhere in the image to tie it back to your theme.
If you have great photo-editing skills, you’ll love this next theme! Travel at Peace uses ColorSplash editing to showcase travels through Japan. The resulting images are eye-catching and thought-provoking, with followers frequently voting on their favorite versions.
You can create ColorSplash images (where selected colors are highlighted in a photo while the rest is cast in black and white) with PhotoShop, or a ton of online photo editing software or mobile apps. Arranging these photos in your 9-grid can create a visual masterpiece in your feed with attention-grabbing pops of color.
7. Drawings and Doodles
Gabs Dormio turned a childhood passion for drawing on photos into a business – @doodlesforthesea. These doodle photo edits add a whimsical touch to content that your followers will love.
You can incorporate this fun theme into your own feed, too! Simply purchase a pack of doodles or graphics to edit your photos with – or create your own with a photo-editing app and a digital stylus.
8. Flat Lays
Flat Lays are a popular theme for clothing and retail blogs, especially to showcase outfits or services without using a model. Freshly Picked Baby Moccasins uses a mix of client photos and flat lays to showcase their baby shoes.
Flat lays are a great theme for your products! All you’ll need is a photo shooting space with great lighting and your chosen background. You can recreate backgrounds using colored or textured fabric or paper, or make your background any color using a few photoshop tricks.
9. Horizontal Lines
A more subtle theme for your feed is creating colorblocked rows like Planet Blue does below.
To recreate this theme on your feed, arrange similar photos in groups of three. To make this effect even more striking, have a clear color contrast between each row of photos. You won’t need any additional tools to get this theme- just a group of three matching photos. These should be shot at the same time and place, or use the same colors, styling, and filters for the best cohesive effect.
10. Landscape Photos
This next theme doesn’t require anything but landscape photos, but the result is a cool visual effect with lots of white space. Take a look at Leon Link’s photography Instagram.
By uploading his photos (with landscape orientation) and zooming all the way out in the cropping and editing screen, Leon uses the white space to create tidy rows that draw the eye to his photos and make the images even more impactful!
If minimalism is more your style, you’ll enjoy the modern, uncomplicated look of Acapella Co.’s feed.
The signature look of this minimalistic theme is muted colors and images without a lot of complicated imagery or noisy backgrounds. Each subject of the photo is front and center, and the eye is drawn to the subject in the center of the photo, not specific colors, patterns or themes.
You can start practicing minimalism on your own feed by using warm, dusky filters and posting photos with clean lines and central focus points. Avoid using colorful or patterned backgrounds in this theme, and having only one focus in each picture (no group shots) will help carry the visual aesthetic.
If you thought monochrome thems (black and white) might be too boring to appeal to your followers, you thought wrong! Just take a look at Gabriella Lopes’ photography Instagram.
This talented photographer trades color for moody shadows and bright highlights as well as strong lines that create visual interest.
How can you make a monochrome feed work for you? Up the contrast in your photos, and use images with a lot of structure and directionality to them. For example, the clean lines of the walkways, ladder, and suspended pennants in Gabriella’s 9-grid. When you remove color from your feed, you should always compensate with something else for your viewer to look at – in this case, strong lines and structure.
ROXY’s Instagram account has a clear theme that’s evident in every photo, which is a great example of a monotheme.
Although ROXY is a surf, snowboard and fitness brand, their Instagram account centers around surfing and the sea. This is a monotheme, and it’s a perfect way to strongly showcase your brand and the lifestyle around it. However, if you have several product lines, a monotheme may not be as effective in representing your brand or service.
To use a monotheme, collect tons of photos centered around your theme in advance. Then use 9-grid preview tool to arrange and re-arrange images for the best look and feel on your feed!
14. Moody Darks
Who doesn’t love a bit of drama on their Instagram feed? That’s what you’ll get with a moody dark Instagram theme like Black Color!
An Instagram theme centered around moody, deep colors is an interesting twist on the platform, where many creators favor light and bright or colorful photos. To get this eye-catching theme for yourself, look around for moody presets or filters that amp up the shadows, and avoid bright pictures or those with too much color.
15. Puzzle Pieces
Instagram puzzle feeds are one of the coolest theme ideas we’ve seen out there in 2019. Check out Youtuber Kendalliaa’s puzzle theme. None of the Instagram photos have a clear border, and the resulting effect is a digital collage over your entire 9-grid. Pretty cool, huh?
If you’re an InDesign or Photoshop whiz, you can make and customize your own puzzle piece yourself. Or you can use Easil’s ultra cool free templates to plug in your own images and colors to make a cool puzzle piece effect on your 9-grid.
Just make your design, export it and upload each piece one by one into the Instagram Auto-Scheduler tool. You can check your design on the 9-Grid preview to make sure everything is in order before you begin to post!
16. Rainbow Feed
A rainbow feed is one of our personal favorites when it comes to Instagram themes (ahem!)
As you can see in our Instagram feed, we transition through the colors of the rainbow throughout our feed. You can do this too!
Just choose 3-4 images in each color of the rainbow, with the last image “transitioning” to the next. For example, see how the last purple post is more indigo, helping to transition into the next series of blue posts? The result is a fun, fresh and colorful theme that your followers will love.
17. Same Filter
Angela of The Sunday Chapter uses a series of presets to showcase her travel and fashion blog theme.
Using the same type of preset filters or photo editing for each image is one of the easiest ways to execute a theme on your 9-grid. It creates a cohesive look that doesn’t require a lot of time to edit or arrange on your feed!
Fashion brand Stitch Fix uses text tiles in their signature color to interact with their audience, which is a great theme to build engagement and break up a lot of similar images.
As you can see in this screenshot of their feed, the text tiles create a pattern (in this case diagonal) which creates visual interest on their feed. This is also a simple theme to use yourself- just upload your images for the week and drag and drop your text tiles in the 9-grid Preview tool to create fun patterns!
19. Vertical Lines
Home goods company Tok & Stok also creates patterns in their feed using vertical lines.
You can use this cool trick in your own feed by rearranging your posts so that the middle row is all one color, pattern or type of image. You won’t need any tools to recreate this look – just several identical images!
20. White Borders
This Instagram theme might take a little extra time to edit your photos, but the clean white borders between each picture are so worth it! Instagram user Rusha uses photos that have been pre-edited to include a white border in order to create this pretty tiled look in her feed.
To get this look for yourself, you’ll need to download a photo-editing app like Canva, Easil or PicCollage. Then, crop your photo into an Instagram square and add a white border! You can customize the border to your desired thickness, but make sure you use the same thickness on all your photos to get the even look you see above!
With just a little planning, and an all-in-one scheduler like Tailwind for Instagram you can transform your Instagram feed into a themed masterpiece! Here’s a quick recap of the steps to get you started:
- Look around for inspiration, and decide on your theme.
- Collect the tools, filters and/or apps you’ll need to execute your theme.
- Batch your themed posts in advance.
- Upload your posts into Tailwind’s Auto-Scheduler.
- Drag and drop your scheduled posts to rearrange them in the 9-grid preview app, to ensure your theme is showcased in the best way possible.
That’s all it takes to begin an Instagram grid theme that your followers will love!
Start a Free Trial of Tailwind for Instagram!
- Schedule photos and videos directly to your Instagram feed with Auto Post.
- Optimize every post for more engagement with SmartSchedule and Hashtag Finder.
- Automatically hide your post’s hashtags in the first comment to keep your caption clean & clutter-free.
- Make your posts more discoverable with user tagging & location tagging.
- Analyze what's working across every post and profile with smart analytics.
Which 9-grid theme idea is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
Kristen Dahlin is a Content Marketer at Tailwind — a Pinterest and Instagram scheduler and analytics platform. A recent graduate of OU with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Venture Management, Kristen is living in rural Oklahoma with her husband Kyle, daughter Sophie, terrier Kerouac, and a very temperamental flower garden.