10 Ways to Design Your Instagram Grid Layout Like a Pro

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Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from endlessly scrolling through your feed — and endlessly scroll through someone’s individual Instagram page instead.

Welcome to The Grid.

Lined up in neat rows of three, each Instagram post suddenly is part of a bigger picture. A peek into a user’s soul… or at least their content strategy.

And Instagram power users know just how to work this viewpoint to their advantage with artfully planned posts that, together, create a gorgeous Instagram grid layout.

If you haven’t thought about what your own rows of squares add up to, it’s about time. Here’s all you need to know about building an attention-grabbing Instagram grid to grow your following and engagement.

Why your Instagram grid layout matters

When someone follows you for the first time or navigates to your profile to check out your content, your Instagram photo grid is an opportunity to showcase your vibe or brand at a glance.

The grid gives you a birds-eye view of a user’s posting history. This is your first impression of their body of work: a visual, big-picture introduction to their personal or professional brand.

For individual users, creating a beautiful grid may not matter — sure, color coding your posts could be a fun personal challenge, but if you’re just on the ‘gram to connect with friends, not amass an audience, branding likely isn’t too important.

But for brands, creatives, or influencers, consistency and style are critical, particularly if your account is focused on aesthetics or lifestyle.

After all, your grid is a quick and easy way to get your message across. Plus, anyone viewing your profile is thinking about following you. This is your chance to show exactly what you offer.

Are you avant-garde or on-trend? Will your content soothe or bring the drama? Is your brand consistent or chaotic? One look at a grid, and they’ll get the (sorry, not sorry) picture.

10 creative ways to design an Instagram grid layout

Great grids for Instagram start with a vision. So we’ve scoured the platform to dig up some of the best grids on Instagram to inspire your own look. Think of these as your Instagram grid templates.

Commit to a color combo

This is probably the most common grid style going — not that I’m calling anyone lazy (don’t @ me!), but it really doesn’t get much easier than this.

Pick a color palette (pinks and greys?) or a certain tone (high contrast neons?) to feature in every photo. Viewed together, your gallery will look like a matching set, even if the content of your pics varies. Home and lifestyle influencer

Travel Instagrammer @rachelontheroad_ exclusively features photos from a desaturated palette of cool blues, pinks, and greys. A neon green pic, for instance, would seem jarring and out of place here.

Travel Instagram Rachel on the Road cool colour palette

In case your travel destination (or home or office) isn’t decorated like an Insta-ready backdrop, one easy way to make sure your photos all speak the same visual language is simply to use the same filter for every photo to help create a consistent tone.

A variation on this theme? Using a standard filter or color palette, but also working in an “accent” color or filter every few posts, too. Maybe your Instagram feed is mostly dreamy, sepia-toned boho fantasy, but every few rows, we see a vibrant pop of forest green. Woo! You’re playing with fire!

We couldn’t tell you exactly what Lightroom preset @lemons.for.days is using but… probably something called, like, “Peach Dew Dreams.”

Lemon for Days peachy colour theme

Repeat yourself

There’s something soothing about scrolling a feed that gives you the same thing over and over again. There’s no doubt what you’re going to get when every photo follows the same template.

In the case of decorative cakemaker @takemehome_cake, each creation is photographed from the exact same angle on the same backdrop. The color may vary due to seasonal lighting, but the result is a pleasingly predictable feed where the individual product gets to pop against an endless grid of grey.

decorative cakes instagram consistent theme

Create a checkerboard effect

By alternating the style of photos you post, you’ll easily create a checkerboard look on your grid. Try alternating text quotes with photography or mixing close-up shots with landscape photos. Going back and forth with two distinct colors can work, too.

Influencer @jillian.harris alternates full-frame photos with pink-border pics to create a unique grid look.

Jillian Harris pink bordered pictures

Food blogger @feedthepudge alternates food posts with ones of his own face to offer variety for anyone scrolling through.

Food blogger feed the purge alternate pictures food and face

Vancouver fitness studio @cmmngrndyvr mixes bright graphics with dark and moody photos.

Vancouver fitness studio bright graphics mixed with moody photos

Hot tip: if you’re using text-based posts, keep the background color or fonts consistent to really make the pattern clear. Check and mate.

(Need a little help on the graphic design front? There are tons of great tools and templates out there to create visuals that pop.)

Design row by row

Think outside the box… and inside the, um, row. Uniting the images on each row by theme or color can create a powerful impact

Sorry if you’re squeamish about freshly tattooed skin, but this example from @spooky_skeleton_wizard had to be shared. This tattoo studio alternates rows of sketches with rows of new ink.

spooky skeleton wizard instagram fresh tattoos and sketch examples

The trick for this one, of course, is that you have to post three images at a time, or the alignment will be off.

If you’re bold enough to experiment with panoramic images for one of your rows — a trio of photos that add up to one long, horizontal image — many users post the same caption for each one to make it clear they’re three parts of a whole, like photographer @gregorygiepel did with his architectural shots.

Gregory Geipel joint architectural shots

Break outside of the box

Though the grid by nature crops all of your Instagram photos to a square, editing your photos to a different shape within that square can create a distinct look for your Instagram photo grid.

Circles? Rectangles? The choice is yours! Most Instagram editing tools can help create these unique borders.

Pet food brand @iams did circle frames for its images for a while.

iams pet food brand circular frames on photos

…while charity @writers_ex uses a selection of off-kilter shapes in its signature colors to brand each post.

The Writers' Exchange varying shapes in pictures

Get fresh with fonts

Regularly including text in your posts can contribute to a striking, font-forward overall look. There are plenty of accounts out there that specialize in info-images, but even sprinkling in a text-heavy image among the photos can make for a stylish display.

Try thinking about your Instagram grid like the page of a magazine — by strategically scheduling images with words and visuals, you can create a spread with balance that’s full of interesting moments to draw the “reader” in.

@nikerunning has a mix of bold text-forward posts, illustrations, and photos, but because they post each of these elements regularly, it feels intentional and cohesive. The lesson? You can have totally disparate ingredients in your design palette, but if you use them regularly and with balance, your grid will look pulled together.

Nike Running diverse palette and image selection

Making a grid that’s all-text-all-the-time works, too. The trick is to stick with a consistent color palette and font selection to make sure each post looks great next to the last, like @mr.pugo here.

Mr.Pugo Digital Creator text images about color palette and design

Turn your grid into the rainbow

You need both patience and a great color sense to pull this look off. The goal is to post regularly in one saturated color and slowly transition to the next shade in the rainbow with your next rows of posts.

To truly get the full effect of waterbottle company @mybkr’s shifting palette, you’ll need to scroll, but they go through periods of being inspired by the color of one bottle and then move on to another… from sage to baby blue, for example.

mybkr water bottle company varying colour palette

Embrace the border

Creating a consistent look can be as simple as applying a border to all your images.

Influencer @kwn.li uses a white border on all their images, but you could create a signature look with any color scheme. The free Whitagram app is one option to quickly apply this edit, with borders and backdrops in all sorts of different shades.

kwn.li influencer photos with white border

Turn your posts into a puzzle

This layout is a tricky one to pull off on a day-to-day basis, but for a big announcement or campaign or to launch a new account, a puzzle grid certainly packs a punch.

A puzzle grid creates one big, interconnected image out of all the squares. Individually, these posts probably look like nonsense. But viewed together, it’s a work of art.

Mamapunt Montessori puzzle grid

Give Montessori account @hetmamapunt a round of applause for this visual feat, will ya?

Consider a little chaos

In this fast-and-furious social media world, there’s a certain charm to the no-polish-no-worries look.

Adopt the chaotic energy of the “extremely online” set by mashing up memes, screenshots, TikTok reshares, hastily snapped food pics, poorly lit impromptu photo shoots, and whatever else you might find on your camera roll.

Journalist Taylor Lorenz’s meme account is a perfect example of this ethos. Think “Explore Page” gone haywire.

Journalist Taylor Lorenz meme account

Viewed as a whole, your grid takes on a trendy cluttercore vibe. If your brand is at one with Gen Z, this unplanned, untamed, wild, and creative Instagram grid style could be for you.

6 tips for planning an Instagram grid

Of course, none of these sleek grids for Instagram happen by accident. You gotta grind for that grid! Here are some things to keep in mind as you’re planning out the big picture.

1. Preview first

Before you post it: map it.

You could mock it up in photo-editing software, or use Hootsuite’s app integration that lets you preview your layout before it goes live… think of it as your Instagram grid template.

Right now, it’s for personal accounts only, but business account functionality is coming soon.

Create an Instagram grid layout of up to nine images, and then schedule them to go up in the exact right order via the Hootsuite dashboard.

create Instagram grid layout using Hootsuite

2. Keep it consistent

Creating a great Instagram photo grid means sticking to a plan. One off-beat photo in the wrong color, the wrong filter, or in the wrong order can throw your whole look out of whack.

Just imagine if makeup company @bareminerals tossed in a picture of a night at a neon-tinged rave to their earthy skin-toned, carefully curated grid. Chaos!

Bare Minerals makeup earth tone grid

3. Make sure it matches your brand

Ultimately, the goal of a grid isn’t just to impress your friends with your dedication to using a particular Lightroom preset filter. It’s to build a unified look for your brand.

So, if you’re a recruiting firm for high-level executives, having a playful rainbow grid might not quite fit the professional and serious tone you’re going for. A monochromatic, text-based series of posts, on the other hand…

4. Take advantage of image editing tools

In case you haven’t figured it out yet: Instagram is a visual medium… and it’s hard to put together a great grid unless the individual pictures also are great.

Luckily, there are tons of great photo editing tools out there, as well as expert advice around every corner… for example, our guides to taking great Instagram photos and staying on top of the hottest Instagram trends.

5. Don’t forget: Reels are part of your grid, too

Your Instagram Reels can live on your grid alongside your main posts, so don’t forget to select a suitable Reels cover photo. Or use one of our professionally-designed Reels Cover Templates to create a consistent look for your Reels.

Each of @airbnb’s Reels have a carefully selected cover photo of a rental home, viewed from a street-level exterior. It creates a sense of consistency with your other Instagram grid posts.

Airbnb Reels rental home cover photos

6. Schedule your posts in advance

Keep your gorgeous IG grid active and updated with the help of a scheduling tool that allows you to drop just the right filtered pic (or three) at just the right time. Hootsuite’s dashboard, for example, makes it easy to prep your best photos at your convenience. Get that grid going!

schedule and prep photos on Hootsuite dashboard

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Of course, creating a great grid is just one way to capture attention on the ‘gram. For more marketing tips and tricks to take your account to the next level, check out our ultimate guide to Instagram marketing here.

Instagram grid FAQs

How do you post a 3×3 grid on Instagram?

If you want to do a grid layout on Instagram, you’re going to need to do some pre-planning.

Mock it up in photo-editing software, or use Hootsuite’s Instagram Grid planner integration to preview your layout before it goes live.

(Note: right now, it’s for personal accounts only, but business account functionality is coming soon.)

Create an Instagram grid layout of up to nine images, and then schedule them to go up in the exact right order via the Hootsuite dashboard.

How do I change my grid on Instagram?

Changing your grid on Instagram starts with deciding on your new look. Do you want the posts to all be in a specific, consistent color palette? Should each image on the grid contribute to one big picture? What is your visual goal and how does it tie in to your Instagram brand?

Peep some of our creative inspiration sources above to figure out what you want your Instagram account to look like, or explore 2023’s biggest Instagram photo-editing trends to spark some ideas for your big grid makeover.

Before you start adding your new images, delete or archive anything that you’ve previously posted that doesn’t match your desired look.

Now it’s time to start plotting out your fresh content.

Either mock it up in photo-editing software or use Hootsuite’s Instagram Grid planner integration to preview your layout before it goes live. (Use these Instagram editing tips to give your images a consistent aesthetic.)

Create an Instagram grid layout of up to nine images, and then schedule them to go up in the exact right order via the Hootsuite dashboard.

Start building your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. Schedule and publish posts directly to Instagram, engage your audience, measure performance, and run all your other social media profiles — all from one simple dashboard. Try it free today.

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