It started as a photo sharing app and has exploded to become one of the most influential forces in today’s digital world. We’re talking Instagram (aka. IG, Insta, the Gram). In October 2010 Instagram barrelled into our lives unlike any other app on the scene. Ever since, Instagram has radically redefined how we connect, interact, shop and consume information. With filters and carefully crafted photos, Instagram revolutionized how businesses build and position brands. It also changed how we communicate with consumers and how we use aesthetic for personal and professional expression.
With more than 1.36 billion users and counting, it’s not surprising Instagram also reframed art and design, bringing it to the forefront of our daily lives.
Let’s dive into 5 ways the Gram changed the world of design:
1. Think small!
In the early days, Instagram only allowed square-framed content that matched the display width of the iPhone. It was a major distinguishing feature of the platform. With time, these dimensions were refined, but as more people began viewing content on mobile devices (over laptops and desktops), brands saw the benefit to ‘think small.’ Suddenly, they had to prioritize design to best suit a handheld experience. This meant:
- Simplifying design to eliminate clutter
- Making digital products more readable on smaller screens
- Crafting strong, recognizable icons and logos to ensure consumer recall
It’s a designer’s job to communicate what the brand values, what the brand offers and to describe what the consumer experience will be. In a world of short attention spans, designers now have to accomplish all of this with small images compelling enough to capture a user’s attention within a 0.25 second social media scroll.
2. Art is on the scene and on the screen.
Where design was once in the background of our general awareness, Instagram brought it to the foreground of our collective consciousness. Today, more than 815 million users worldwide are curating their lives on social media. The same is true for businesses, working to present their brands in a consistent and distinguishable way—one that resonates with consumers. The impact this has on art and design is tremendous. We celebrate and appreciate great design more than ever before. A great design will pique interest, gain followers and elevate brand awareness with audiences who are increasingly savvier and more discerning. It has everyone asking, “Is this Instagram worthy?”
3. Let’s get digital.
While advertising was once reserved for print, radio and TV, Instagram has forged a new path in the digital era. With Instagram, brands can connect with consumers in fiercely targeted ways. Combine the right strategy with compelling visual content and the opportunities for engagement and conversion reach heights that brands only ever used to dream of. This evolution has transformed the impact of creative marketing. What once was static is now live in living colour.
4. Stay on trend.
Reels are all the rage. Instagram Live is ‘pandemic chic’ and In-App Shopping is where it’s at. Social media is fueled by trends. Some come and go (RIP IGTV) and some are here to stay (dance mashups). When it comes to design, the agility of Instagram allows brands to stay relevant or ‘of the moment’ by hopping on to the latest fads. This also means designers need to constantly keep the pulse of what we still stan, what’s the G.O.A.T and what’s just plain old cheugy.
5. Express yourself.
Where art was once only available in galleries, Instagram puts it in the palm of our hands. Instagram gives artists and designers a unique opportunity to give a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at their processes. Showcasing their work opens the doors for promotion and education, making art and design more accessible than ever before.
For more than a decade Instagram has grabbed our attention. It’s revolutionized the way we consume creative marketing and how we interact with our favourite brands. It’s ever-evolving nature means designers and strategists continue to pivot and stretch their creative muscles to keep the pace.
If you have questions about how to use Instagram and social media to take your brand to the next level, g[squared]’s creative team has the answers.