OK, people, we spent most of last year scrolling through G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. Instagram grids. I tried to have one, my best friend tried to have one, even my personal-finance-obsessed teammate is planning to have one.
Why am I still writing about grids, then? Last year was the year of experiments. We got excited and transitioned from one type of grid to another, used too many colors, or simply gave up when maintaining our grid became way too complicated.
2023 will be about mastering our grids. For that, we need all the information in one single place. And this is why I’m writing this.
From colors and formats to structure, examples, ideas, and tools, here’s the full guide you can check whenever you feel like your grid needs improvement. If you’re an Instagram grid novice, this guide will take you from how to post a grid on Instagram to how to automate your Instagram post scheduling. If a year ago we were cool just for having a planned grid, now we need to innovate to stand out.
First things first: how Instagram grids work
The Insta almighties decided the most appealing format is square. Square logo, square pictures, square ads. All this squareness was bound to lead to a grid format for each profile.
But then, somebody saw the big picture.
Hats off to the one who decided you can play with the entire grid and create art. From there, it was just a matter of time until people and brands jumped on the planned Instagram grids bandwagon and created puzzles, quotes, tiles, and so on.
The possibilities to create Instagram grid posts are limitless. Actually, the only limit is your imagination. And maybe your design skills. Having an aesthetic Instagram grid layout boosts engagement, which leads to more profile views and followers. Who wouldn’t want more followers?
Yes, creating a grid takes a bit of effort and time at first, but if built well and with the right tool, it can be a lot simpler than you might think.
Now, you have to pay attention to what you’re going to post next so you don’t break the flow. Almost everybody is publishing three posts at a time in a specific order, so the design remains sleek. Don’t worry; all this effort pays off, especially whenever you need to create a social media presentation to show off your work and impress clients or leads.
TL;DR: you now have to design the grid before thinking about individual pictures or posts. Fortunately, it’s not so hard to mock Instagram posts anymore.
As you’re reading this, probably a part of you is imagining how your profile would look with a new Instagram grid, what colors it’d have, image positioning, etc. As it so happens, you can actually preview your grid for Instagram using social media tools like Planable, so don’t leave those amazing Instagram grid ideas of yours behind.
Before the grids: yes, planning Instagram grids can be doable
Look, you’re about to scroll through some wonderful, beautiful Instagram grids. And I don’t want your first reaction to be “ain’t nobody got time for that”.
I want to put your mind at ease that Instagram layout planning can be quite easy and fast. With Planable, you can arrange and re-arrange your grid, test different layouts and achieve the perfect Instagram feed before you schedule posts:
1. Here’s what your Instagram Grid planning can look like:
Instagram grid maker in Planable
2. Here’s how you can edit your images:
Instagram grid photo resizing & filtering in Planable
3. Here’s how you could plan your social media calendar:
Instagram social media content calendar
4. Here’s how you could collaborate on your Instagram posts
Instagram posts collaboration in Planable
Oh, and before I forget, yes, you can schedule your Instagram posts through Planable too.
Before technicalities: here are all Instagram grid examples you can nail your social media game with
Here’s what Kumba Dauda, Freelance Social Media Manager, Blogger and Influencer Outreach Specialist, thinks about all this Instagram thing:
If Instagram had a spirit animal, it would be a chameleon. It is the one platform that is constantly learning to adjust to what’s trending.
Running Wholehearted Social, a Social Media Agency I have worked with a real variety of influencers and brands where we have experimented with so many different ideas based on current and forecasted trends as to ‘stay relevant’ on the gram.
One trend that seems to always be underlying within Instagram is the classic Instagram grid. I believe this was born out of the idea that the trend on Instagram at one point was a ‘perfect’ feed which had to cater to a certain aesthetic. With a grid or puzzle layout as it’s also called, users can create that cohesive look as well as bulk up on a ton of content that could be scheduled which is more time-efficient. Instagram grids are particularly useful for those who own businesses and want a cohesive brand image to be projected within their page to make that initial great impression. Here are a few examples of Instagram grids that we have created:
From experience using this type of layout here is what I would say are the overall pros and cons of adopting an Instagram grid layout.
- Makes a great first impression which can increase the % of people who follow after visiting your page
- Allows you to bulk create content and schedule everything in advance
- Seamless and aesthetically pleasing
- It’s a look that not everyone can achieve so it can make you stand out from your competitors
- Assists in developing a consistent brand image
- Instagram is moving in a new direction where people favor authentic content over perfectly curated content
- May not work well on other platforms
- Inflexible, unable to post ad hoc content
- Must post x3 times in a row to make the lphotos layout design work
- Looks great on feed as a whole but may not be as visually striking as individual posts on the home feed
Deciding you want to plan your grid is just the tip of the iceberg. Deciding what type of grid you want is going to take hours of research, one night to sleep on it, three friends to advise, and five stakeholders to approve. But let’s start by scrolling through some profiles and see where inspiration will take us.
Checkerboard grids – the checkmate to running out of ‘how to create a grid on Instagram’ ideas
The checkerboard Instagram grid is led by background colors. Most accounts using this type of grid stick to two solid colors or non-colors and alternate them to create the checkerboard impression. But that’s only the beginning.
What’s happening in the foreground is more important to your brand. Usually, checkers are used for two scenarios, depending on your specific activity. If you’re inspiring through words, you can easily use only quotes and use the checkers to visually diversify your content.
If your content is a mix of words and images, you can ditch one of the solid colors and only use the other one for quotes. Alternate them with other images.
And of course, there’s a third option where you use pictures as backgrounds alternating with a solid color to create the checkerboard feeling. Use this Instagram photo grid everytime you want to tell a story or showcase your photography skills.
Not sure how to decide on your Instagram’s grid layout?
Planable is an online Instagram layout planner that helps you achieve the perfect IG grid. Drag and drop upcoming posts to arrange them differently until you’re happy with your feed. Experiment with different grids and reshuffle posts to achieve a specific color theme or pattern.
Text line grids – the fine line of how to master Instagram grids
If you’re not into quotes that much, but still have something to express with words, you can use the single line of text type of grid. This allows you to tip the balance to more visual content, having a ration of 2:1 (2 photos, 1 quote).
This grid is also an excellent choice if you don’t have much time to play with backgrounds and strategies, as you’ll most probably stick to the same font and background color for every quote. And this way, you can easily include videos in your posting plan without struggling with the background. An elegant approach to a well-thought grid, the 2:1 text tiles grid can be used by any brand or person for inspiration, education, or entertainment. So which one are you?
Border grids – for when you need space but still love the spotlight
Do you ever feel like your grid looks OK, but it still needs to be tidied up? Put a twist on your grid using borders — white, black or whatever color strikes your fancy. And you can juggle with photo formats too, either in square or rectangle format. The border grid will take your profile to a vintage chic kinda level.
Kind of like printed photos — which we probably imagine lined up in an important spot in our house, with frames to match the room design. Photos are that important for us.
So why not bring the frames to the digital world where we share the most beautiful and interesting moments of our lives? Borders are a great way to put the focus on each picture without needing a strong strategy for how the grid will look like and save the time and energy focusing on the actual photos you’re posting.
Why use Planable as your Instagram Grid maker?
Planable is easy to use whether you have a single Instagram account but especially if you manage other accounts too:
- test out various Instagram grid layouts before choosing the one you like best
- incorporate user-generated content into your feed easier
- visually plan your Instagram feed in advance to avoid gaps in your content calendar
- ensure all the images follow the same color palette
Diagonal grids – the power of spiraling Instagram grid posts
And here’s where things get complicated. Because yes, I took a chance and showed you the simple-to-make but not-so-wow ones first. They’re a great start if you’re not an editing expert. I’m not either.
But what truly turned the Instagram world upside down are some crazy grid combinations that make me look through the green glasses. Why didn’t I think of it first? But enough with this jealousy, this is the diagonal grid.
Looks complicated? Well, it is not that hard to maintain this consistency. All you have to do is pick one kind of photo or video and one color. Then drag them to form a diagonal.
The tricky part? You have to plan your grid beforehand because you’ll constantly need magnificent trios of photos with the same content and color.
Example time. Look how Naomi created a diagonal grid using photos of sweets with a brown accent:
Row by row grids – classy, yet an Instagram grid layout that very much rocks
This creative layout makes me think of some sort of reinvented comic book. Want to tell a story in more than one photo with zero words? Then this is your perfect type of grid. Basically, you’ll use each row to create a story or one chapter of the story. Brand storytelling at its best!
Honestly, I’ll use that only because when I take my cat’s photos, I can’t pick only one to post. Jokes aside, I’ve seen pretty spectacular stories created using this type of grid. And it’s easy to make because it doesn’t need much planning. Its only disadvantage is you have to publish three posts at a time or you’ll break the flow. But the sacrifice is worth it.
Rainbow grids – color coding Instagram grids
Not a fan of routine? Then this grid is for you. Because you’ll probably get tired of using the same colors or the same backgrounds over and over again, the rainbow grid will allow you to play with colors like no other grid. But spectacular details don’t come easy.
The rainbow grid requires a lot of planning, special tools, and creativity. Basically, you’ll use the row by row technique, but every row should be connected with the one above and the one below. Are you committing to finding transitions every time? You’re my hero.
The rhythm is usually of 3, 6, or 9 photos for each color. But who’s counting anyway?
Puzzle grids – or how to become an Instagram grid sensei
And now, for the grid of the grids, creme de la creme, the best of the best, we’ll talk about the puzzle grid. It may sound simple, but really, it is the most strategic, painful and beautiful form of art you can find on Instagram. It works great with videos too.
And I’ll tell you why: puzzles have a background that is continuously evolving. Each post should be connected with all its neighbor posts. Easy? Think about how when you post a picture, you also have to include elements of the picture that will come above it. And what happens if you don’t post the pictures in the correct order?
*Cough cough* Thank God for these tools that let you plan your grid and preview everything before hitting publish.
Squares grids – back to the basics
Now you’re probably thinking: “Wait a minute, Luciana, what’s there to talk about squares?”. What can I say, we live in weird times where squares are actually a thing.
We can’t miss the minimalist type of grid. The first type of grid that looked messy back in the day made Instagrammers transition to a minimalist layout where they focused on one or two colors positioned in the center of the picture, while the rest of it is just plain background. If you’re not all rainbows, then this grid may be the one for you.
Mixed grids – your own magic formula to come out on top of the Instagram grid aesthetic game
Can’t stick to one type? Me neither! Don’t worry, there’s something for us too. Mixing and matching is also a type of layout and some Instagram accounts are slaying with creativity.
How to mix the grid? Try the line in the middle with a puzzle, or row by row with borders. In the end, you have to be yourself, so don’t necessarily stick to the rules.
How to make grids on Instagram AND keep them in order
Well, Planable. Before diving into how great Planable is for planning, scheduling, and publishing Instagram grid posts, let’s go over the actual key factors that determine the future of your Instagram grid.
Consistency is key, and when working with photos and videos, it can become challenging to create cohesion. Especially if you’re dealing with managing multiple accounts. You can use some sort of formula and come back to it whenever you feel like you’re drifting away.
Step one: define your brand’s personality
Personal or business account, there’s always some traits defining your brand. Which one are you? If you represent a business, think about the colors of that business. If you’re a lovely soul, think about what your friends say about you. Are you bright and glittery? Are you a minimalist or old school? Do you like nature or skyscrapers? Are you more into cats or flamingos? These questions will help you create visual harmony throughout the mighty scroll.
Step two: pick an Instagram grid layout
Turns out having a lot of Instagram grid examples to choose from doesn’t make things easier. It’s like picking ice-cream flavors: you want to go for vanilla but you’re also peeking at that Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. The truth is you can always create an Instagram grid out of your own magic formula, combine the brand colors, add borders and sprinkle some quotes on top, or whatnot.
Believe it or not, the layout you’re going to choose will help you a lot, because it is going to tell you what type of content to prepare, when to publish it and where to place it. Sometimes, complicating things at first may help you in the long run.
Step three: choose your colors
I mentioned your brand’s colors at step one. They should be prominent in your layout. If you don’t have the colors yet, pick no more than three shades that fit your brand. Give it time and make sure you’re going with the right colors, as they will become the visual personality of your account.
Step four: decide on a filter
A quick trick for maintaining consistency is to apply the same filter for every post. This filter should work with your colors and your brand personality, so it doesn’t have to be something very complicated.
If you don’t want to create your own filter, there’s plenty of presets you can choose from. Test them out until you feel like you found the one.
Step five: post in order
The order of your posts is also part of consistency, especially if your grid layout is more sophisticated. But don’t get anxious, you don’t have to put much effort into this arrangement anymore.
With tools like Planable, you can easily drag and drop your posts and rearrange everything until you reach perfection.
Here’s how simple everything works:
Can you change or rearrange your Instagram grid?
The answer is yes and no. Instagram won’t allow you to play with existing content, so what’s published can’t be rearranged. Unless you’ve got Planable. However, you still have two workarounds.
Start now. Yes, you didn’t have the time and resources to plan your grid until now. But we all started somewhere and you can do that, too. Use all you’ve learned so far and create your perfect Instagram grid. You can even consider using an Instagram grid planner, or an Instagram layout maker. Or just use Planable where you can have both 𑁋 accurate previews of your posts and drag&drop grid posts to plan the heck out of your content. No need for mental gymnastics to plan an aesthetical Instagram grid layout.
Repost everything. Now don’t get scared. I have “only” 400 posts on Instagram and there’s nothing I’d hate more than having to save all my pictures and videos and post them all over again. But melancholy is stronger, so if I were to rearrange my grid, damn sure I’ll repost all the moments that marked my school years and sunny summers. And it won’t even take me that long, because I can upload them in Planable. Simply drag and drop your posts however you like and schedule or publish them with a single click. For single image and single video grid posts, Planable does this automatically. Not so scary anymore, right?
The best apps to create a grid on Instagram without the head banging against the wall
And finally, it’s time to create some Instagram waves, right? You bring the photos, I’ll show you the best Instagram grid apps you can use to mock Instagram feeds.
For design, use Snapseed
Right now, Snapseed is the best choice in terms of photo editing tools. Instagram has its own filters, but it’s hard to match them with your content and it’s even more difficult to differentiate yourself from others.
Snapseed does two things that will help you big time: first, it lets you use effects using a brush – that means you can add an extra touch to the details for each photo you use; and second, its Stacks feature lets you save your filters as an Instagram grid template – consistency with one tap.
For creating the grid, use Canva
You can always start with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, but that can be complicated. Canva is the best Instagram grid maker if you’re just starting. Just create the blank grid and then one by one, create the grid. You may not need this step, but if your grid has quotes, borders, or puzzles, for example, this is the easiest way to create them. You can use Canva to build your Instagram grid online, without downloading or installing any app.
For everything else, there is Planable
You got your assets, it’s time to prepare for publishing. With Planable, you can upload your files, add your copy and hashtags, and even collaborate with your team for feedback.
Preview your Instagram feed in a pixel-perfect tool that lets you drag&drop, rearrange, and schedule or publish the posts. No more misunderstandings, wrong order of publishing, or time wasted with manual posting.
The wow part? This Instagram grid planner has a desktop version that will let you pay attention to every little detail. Collaborate on everything your grid has to offer, hit the schedule button, and watch how it all goes live. Planable lets you directly publish your Instagram grid posts from your desktop. Buh bye push notifications for life!
What’s your next move?
If you got here, it means you’re ready to ditch experiments and create the best Instagram grid one can ask for in 2023. And if you do, please show it to me, because I can never get enough of them gorgeous layouts.
You picked the layout, learned a thing or two about consistency, built the tool stack. Now lay back and see how engagement grows row by row. Try it with Planable. It’s free.
“Digital devotee & data junky. SEO is my religion and Social Media is my playground. Reciprocate is my favorite word for both its meaning and its sound.”