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Considering a theme for your Instagram?

In the world of social media where every scroll fights for your attention, you may be tempted to take on a grid aesthetic to make your page stand out against the crowd.

Let’s dive into what an Instagram grid layout is, why you might want one, pros and cons of grid aesthetics, and what different styles and themes you can adopt.


Why an Aesthetic Instagram Grid Layout?

For people with personal IG accounts, creating a beautiful grid isn’t so important, but for a brand or small business, it is a great way to catch attention and quickly showcase your brand identity.

Every new visitor to your profile is a potential follower, contemplating the decision to engage with your content further, and even buy from you. This is why your Instagram page – and especially the top 9 posts – is an important tool in telling your  brand’s story at a glance.

Especially if you have a visual brand – like a photographer or graphic designer – having a dedicated aesthetic is another way to flex your creativity, as your Instagram page can act like a portfolio to showcase your talent.

What kind of Instagram Grid Layouts are there?

Checkerboard grids

The checkerboard Instagram grid layout relies on alternating colours or styles in order to create a chess board-like effect.

For example, posting quotes or graphics every other post, alternating them with your regular photos. Or if you want something more stylistic, you can choose two of your brand colours to switch between.

This is one of the most popular IG grid aesthetics for a reason. It’s adaptable to most niches, easy to look good, and a simple pattern to follow as it doesn’t involve too much brain power in planning your grid.

A great example of an account that does the checkboard well is Lauren Does Marketing.

Row-by-row grids

This Instagram grid layout allows you to tell a story with each row. It’s kinda the best of both worlds, as you don’t have to stick to one ‘theme’ for more than 3 photos at a time, but since each row is consistent, it still looks polished!

This layout also allows you to share content for three consecutive days (or throughout the day) so your audience knows when to expect your next post.

Pro tip: while you want your set of 3 photos to look cohesive, be careful not to group together photos that look too similar that it looks repetitive.

An Instagram account that pulls this off is Candid Studios, as every row allows them to highlight the customers who use their service, while leaving room for other types of content like testimonials or memes.

Column grids

If you like a structured look, columns may be the Instagram aesthetic for you.

This grid type is similar to the row-by-row layout, except instead of horizontally, the content is arranged vertically. To create this effect, you are posting on a 2:1 ratio (two regular photos, one quote/graphic/stylistic image).

Visitors to your profile may also be enticed to scroll further down your Instagram page as they follow the line, meaning more engagement for your other posts!

Pro tip: Make sure there is enough negative space around the text or subject, so that it looks like a consistent line all the way down.

An example of this style is Instagram account MySimpleGrid.

Border grids

Want your Instagram page to resemble a gallery? Put a twist on your grid layout by ‘framing’ all of your photos! You can do this by adding black or white (or one of your brand colours) borders around all of your photos. Do a simple square frame, or mix it up with different shapes.

Adding borders is a great way to establish a grid aesthetic without needing to meticulously plan how your grid looks. This can save you lots of time and energy, as the focus is on the content within the borders.

Lady Austin uses white borders on all of her photos, giving it a feel of looking through an album of polaroid pictures.

Pros and Cons of Instagram Grid Aesthetics


1. It leaves an impression

Having an Instagram grid aesthetic means that you can showcase your brand identity right away when someone first visits your profile. It means that it’s more more likely that people will hit follow after viewing your page!

2. Allows you to stay consistent

Nothing says strong brand identity like a set of grid rules you have to follow. Having go-to colours, fonts, and shapes/patterns to adhere to means that you always look put together and consistent in your small business’ brand image.

3. Can give you a sense of accountability

Since you are following an aesthetic, you might be more motivated to batch-create your content and schedule your posts in advance. This means that you’re less likely to panic-post content that’s not thought out and doesn’t resonate.


1. Most people scroll on the feed

Unless people are frequently going on your profile after first hitting, your grid aesthetics might be in vain because most people scroll through content on their home feed.

2. It takes a long time

You’re adding another task to your plate by thinking about and planning your Instagram grid layout. You also have to constantly preview your page (maybe even on a secondary app) to ensure everything looks right.

3. It can limit your creativity

If you’re committed to a certain aesthetic, that can restrict you on what kind of things you can post as you have to take more time to plan it out. It leaves less room to move content around or post spontaneously.

4. It may feel too ‘editorial’

Instagram is moving in a new direction where people favour authentic content over perfectly curated content. Having highly edited content might feel a bit detached from your audience’s everyday reality.

The Tea on Instagram grid layouts

It might be annoying to hear… but there’s no right or wrong answer to whether or not you should have an Instagram grid aesthetic. It works well for some, but not to much for other: it’s all down to what kind of time and resources you have to create content.

An Instagram theme can make you stand out against the crowd, however a strong brand identity will also do that, even if you have a more casual and free-slowing grid style. Whether or not you decide to adopt a grid aesthetic, make sure you have consistent branding in your posts so that people can instantly recognise you and what you’re about.


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I'm Jess Bruno


I’m on a mission to shake up the content marketing game for small business owners. When you’re rolling with me as your social media strategist – you can say goodbye to stress and hello to fun, easy, and effective content creation that actually brings in sales!