• Riley Draper

20 Eye-Popping Instagram Feeds and How to Copy Them

If you are someone who spends a lot of time on Instagram, you have likely come across someone who has given their Instagram feed an eye-catching theme. Immediately, they have your attention, and you want to look more at this person’s post, maybe even follow them, all because of a well-design aesthetic choice. If you are an aspiring social media influencer or just someone that appreciates a visually pleasing Instagram account, then you no doubt would want to replicate this effect for yourself.

Luckily, there are plenty of well-known Instagram themes that can serve as inspiration or as outright templates. Don’t feel too ashamed of copying popular Instagram themes — most people aren’t going to notice, those that will probably not care, and originality is far from the best thing you can be going for on social media.

As a heads-up, these Instagram theme ideas are all going to be optimized for viewing on the iPhone or Android Insta app layout — the 3 square-photo Instagram grid. Some of these will still come out looking like a cohesive feed for the desktop version of Instagram or on a larger device such as a tablet, and others might end up looking kinda bad. You shouldn’t worry too much about this either way; Instagram itself is optimized for smartphones, so most people are going to be viewing your new amazing Instagram feed in the app anyway.

If you are interested in other ways to help your Instagram stand out, check out some of these cool story making tips.

1. Line Up The Middle

As the name implies, this theme involves making Instagram posts in a specific order to make it look like there is a line going down the middle of your feed. So, assuming you have posted nine pics to Instagram, to do this, you would have your 2nd, 5th, and 8th most recent posts have a specific look to them that makes them stand out in a line. One of the more popular ways people accomplish this is by having quotes or important information as plain text on a white background, sometimes having the pictures on the same row paired thematically with the center image. The one disadvantage to this is that, to maintain the feed look, you have to make three posts at a time, always in a specific order.

2. Row Theme

This is just the previous theme turned 90 degrees to the side. So, instead of vertical lines, your similar-looking Instagram photos will look a bit like the rungs on a ladder. This has a similar problem to the Line Up The Middle theme in that, to maintain it, you have to post three or sometimes six posts at a time, every time you update your feed. There is a magazine-article-type effect that can be achieved if done well, which has some appeal for a specific crowd. If your Instagram has a storytelling aspect to it, this and some well-curated pics can make for a great way to maintain flow and build suspense.

3. Tiles Theme

Not all of the themes require a rigid layout, and this is one of them. Like the previous two, you typically space out the kind of posts you make on Instagram in a particular way, but they don’t necessarily have to be related to one another to maintain the flow of the layout. So, on the bright side, this one can be a bit less high maintenance. The most common Tiles theme people do is alternate white background quotes with images, creating a sort of checkerboard look. That being said, if you want to flex your creative muscles, you can do all sorts of cool patterns, like placing inspirational quotes or pictures of relevant hashtags in the corners and laying out the real pictures in a cross.

4. Rainbow Theme

On the opposite side of the effort spectrum, we have the Rainbow Theme. To pull this one off, you have to make a fairly large number of Instagram posts where a different color is prominent in each of them, and arrange them in a color progression similar to a rainbow. You can deviate from this a bit and stick to more of a color palette progression than a true rainbow, but the spirit of it remains the same. Because of the amount of work that goes into this theme, you normally only see people do this every so often. Though, if you are stepping away from Insta for a while, this would be a great project to work on and post right before your break, because you’ll want people to get to see your hard work in its intended form for as long as you can.

The last piece of jigsaw puzzle on a blue background.

5. Puzzle Theme

Of the layouts that don’t require serious photoshop, this one might be the most difficult to nail. It requires you to crop all of your individual photos in such a way that when someone views your Instagram feed, it will all look like one continuous image — like the pieces of a puzzle fitting together to make one great image. It is a lot of work and will require lots of trials and even more error, but it looks so good when you finally get it right. Though, there is a serious tradeoff, since making the pictures look good as a whole can sometimes make them look kinda bad individually.

6. White Border Theme

This moves more toward an overall aesthetic trying to be achieved than worrying about the visual appeal of the whole layout, which can give you a bit more freedom as to the frequency and volume of the posts you have to make. This, along with how easy it is to create the effect itself, makes this one of the most popular entryways for people to start working on setting up an Instagram feed theme. There are a handful of photo editing apps you can get for pictures on your phone that can stick a basic white border onto any photo you take, which makes this theme that much easier.

7. Black Border Theme

The close relative and the complete opposite of the White Border Theme. Black Border Themes do not seem to come up nearly as often, perhaps because an overly dark screen creates a moody tone to a profile that not every Insta profile is going for or can pull off. Most of the editing apps mention previously will also be able to add a black border seamlessly onto any of the photos on your camera reel. Serious though, don’t sleep on this theme or the latter. It might not seem like much, but adding a simple border around all your posts makes your whole account feel so much more cohesive and polished.

8. Rectangle Images Theme

Keeping up with the simple but elegant approach, this Instagram feed idea is all about creating some white space in between your pictures to help them stand out from one another. Since Insta crops images into a rigid square most of the time, you’ll have to do a bit of editing to get these to look like rectangles, but in doing so you also get them into the familiar rectangular shape of a physical photograph. Not everyone will consciously think about how the shape reminds them of a real photo, but it can trigger some mild nostalgia for some, and retro appeal for others.

9. Mixed Border Theme

This will urge you back towards the Instagram strategy of making the physical layout of your feed look good. The reason for this is if you start jumbling up what kind of border or shape your photos with no real strategy, it can come out looking horrible. But, you don’t have to put an incredible amount of thought into the whole thing. A safe bet would be to have two basic borders presets — vertical and horizontal, black and white, etc — and just alternate between the two. You could maybe stretch it to three different borders, but you then have to start putting more thought into how and when you make posts.

A majestic landscape in Santa Magdalena with a filter.

10. The One-Trick Filter Theme

This theme is recommended for someone who either wants to put the least amount of thought into the process, is terrified to try anything more complex, or a combination of the two. Every single picture you post on Instagram will use the same filter, every single time. This might sound like you are shooting yourself in the foot a bit by becoming “samey” or “predictable,” but the opposite is more true than you’d expect. Instead, that kind of becomes your filter, your signature look. You don’t even necessarily have to use one of the preset filters given to you by Instagram. If it helps you feel any better, if you have any photo editing experience, you can even design a unique filter to apply to all of your photos to make sure that it is truly yours.

11. Same Color Background Theme

Not everyone is going to be able to use this theme because it demands that you always have the exact same background color. It is a great option for things like small businesses that want to showcase their products. To make things easier on yourself, you might want to set up a booth or some kind of set-piece to make sure the background is as consistent as possible. Most people stick with an all-white background since that looks so clean, but you can opt for whatever color you want as long as it helps the objects you are taking pictures of pop.

12. Bright and White Theme

This one is like a combination of the previous two themes. Instead of assuring you have a super consistent background, you instead focus on getting one bright color as a prominent feature in all of your pictures. Again, white is sort of the standard when it comes to this because it is easier to find white and near-white stuff than it is to find, say, a bunch of yellow objects to base your aesthetic on. You can edit your photos if it helps get them to the necessary brightness to maintain your look, just be careful with the saturation levels.

A hand holding an iPhone with dark mode setting.

13. Dark and Moody Theme

The inverse of the Bright and White theme. All the same, principles apply here, and once again, for some reason, this doesn’t seem to be as popular in comparison to an all bright theme. It might be a result of more and more people defaulting to the dark mode of Instagram, which makes this theme pop a lot less. On the other hand, you don’t have to be quite as precise in your color matching, since it is much harder to differentiate darker shades on a screen than brighter ones.

14. Black and White Theme

Despite what you might expect, this is not just a blend of the last two themes. This is a lot more simple, you just make sure that all the pictures in your Instagram posts are in monochrome black and white. Everything being black and white makes it a lot more impactful, so you shouldn’t choose this if you are going for a silly or humorous mood on your profile. The best part of this theme is that it is pretty easy once you get down to it since nearly every photo-taking app in existence has a black and white option.

15. Color Coordinated Theme

This theme is like the Black and White theme in that you find one, two, maybe three colors that you make sure to feature all the time in your Instagram photos. You don’t want to get much more beyond that. The idea is to get a consistent color palette that you follow as diligently as you can, and it will eventually become recognized as your colors. Plus, everything blending well helps your feed flow and convince people to keep scrolling.

16. Block Colors Theme

This sort of combines the principles behind the Same Color Background and Color Coordinated themes. You want to have bright, bold, and eye-catching colors that dominate the majority of the pictures you post to Instagram. Contrary to Color Coordinated, you get a lot of mileage out of using a wide variety of colors that contrast across your posts. This is one of the more prominent themes people have taken up on Instagram because it is quite fun to work with such wild color schemes. Plus, this theme lines up well with a heavy pastel aesthetic, which in itself draws in quite a few people.

A minimal blank search bar on pink background.

17. Minimalist Theme

Of all the themes, this one is probably the hardest to give true specifications for. There is no hard and fast rule or feature that immediately signals something as minimalist, it is more of an overall style thing. It’s hard to define, but you know it when you see it. As a general rule of thumb, you want the pictures to be simple and have one thing that is a sole, clear focal point. Even selfies can be minimalist as long as you have a simple look and a neutral background.

18. Monotheme

Most of the themes outlined on this list are focused on achieving a visually pleasing aesthetic more than anything else. Monotheme is a bit of the exception since it is more about the actual content of the pictures more than it is about the look. You pick a “thing” that you make posts about, and pretty much only that “Thing.” This is a common theme used by brand ambassadors and bloggers. Ideally, you still keep the visuals of the individual posts similar just for the sake of consistency, so don’t go too crazy with it.

19. Flatlay Theme

If you aren’t familiar with the term Flatlay, it means to take a picture of something while directly above it. If done well, you can create a layered picture that lets the viewer learn a lot. You don’t see too many people devote their entire accounts to just Flatlay pictures. That’s partly because people don’t always view things from the top, so it can be disorienting over a long exposure. Plenty of people dabble into the format though. If you want to be ambitious and go all-in on the Flatlay theme, then you should probably focus on things that people tend to view from above naturally, like shoes or artistic food plating.

20. Doodle Theme

The final theme is one you can have a lot of fun with, so it will be a good idea for people that might have anxiety with these projects. The only strong rule here is that every picture post you make on Instagram is edited to have a bit of drawing over the top of them. This lets you flex your creative muscles quite a bit, and maybe even develop a unique style that becomes associated with your content. If you are already an artist, this is the perfect theme to help make your Instagram account stand out.


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