All throughout November, my focus has been on instagram, and the place those lomo instagram pictures have in your world. From social media on a personal level to getting creative, playing with the big brands, and optimising instagram for business, the visual social media platform is SO much more than just a point and click jobby these days.
Using instagram for your business, blog or brand requires some thought when creating your imagery, but the good news is, you don’t need fancy, expensive software. So, here are some tips on designing for instagram to make those images stand out, be clickable, pinnable and beautiful.
1. Use free software
I have Photoshop and the Adobe CS Suite as I am also a designer, but I also often use Picmonkey or Pixlr if I am working away from my big iMac to edit and create images. Pixlr is pretty much a (basic) Photoshop clone, and does all you need for basic image editing and type layout on imagery. So, edit your smart phone pics, create images with text and have a go at making a lovely image that you can email to yourself and open up in instagram to re-share.
If you go waaaaaay back into the Diva archives to 2010, you can see some examples of digital scrapbooking, like this one here. Digital scrapbooking bridges the gap between design, scrapbooking, and the instagram apps that are currently out there, and it may suit those of you who need a little helping hand with templates, or who might want to get scrapbook happy outside of instagram too. The digital scrapbooking world is HUGE, and a quick search on Pinterest or Google will unearth lots of templates that you can edit to create your own imagery. Again, create a square ration image, email it to yourself and share with instagram. You can always just use the scrapbooking templates for layout ideas and do your own thing!
3. Instagram apps
Instagram specific apps are also an excellent way to get clever with images, as Emma Cossey covered so well in this earlier post. Use the existing backgrounds, or create your own, and add fonts, squiggles, swirls and anything else that you want to.
4. Get handmade and creative
This is actually a really easy way to make imagery for both your blogs and for instagram – write handmade messages in chalk, pen, pencil, in the sand, whatever takes your fancy, then snap it with your smart phone! Play with collage, drawing, paint, and you can always then go further and edit more in your image editing software if you need to.
5. Use Polyvore
Polyvore has appeared in my creative imagery round-ups many times, and is also a key element in my 5 ways to create imagery for your blog posts round up. Creating a collaged image in Polyvore is a quick, creative and accessible way to make a great looking collage if image editing software scares you, and in fact even if it doesn’t! I use Polyvore a lot, and it is a fabulous tool for image creation. Make your set in Polyvore, take a screengrab as a fast way to get the collage to your smartphone. Then open it up in instagram and away you go!
5. Make the title clear
Remember that instagram images are usually viewed on a smart phone or tablet, so they aren’t huge. Make any title you have short, snappy and easily viewable in miniature. Have a look around on instagram, see which collages and designs stand out and you will see why. Also, don’t use fonts that are impossible to read, especially at smaller scales.
6. Watermark it
Make sure you watermark your image with either your website address, instagram user name or Twitter username. This ensures that if anyone uses your image, or it gets re-pinned in Pinterest etc, that you are still associated with the image and that it can still lead back to your site.
7. Size is everything!
Don’t try to cram in loads of information when designing for instagram. Remember the end user and their smart phone, and keep it simple. It can be easy to forget when you are working at a larger scale, but bear in mind the final use and you will be grand.
So, there you have it, some handy tips and tricks for designing instagram pictures to make the most of your visual social media stream. I hope you found it useful, and do share with me your instagram pics if you are experimenting!I just got some tips and tricks to design for #instagram