Instagram Themes – Do Colours Matter?

If you search online for tips on gaining Instagram followers, one of the really common pieces of advice you will get it to pick an Instagram theme and stick to it. For those of you who are as Instagram obsessed as I am, you’ll know what an Instagram theme is and the struggle of sticking to one. If you’re not, you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about and why you should care. The idea of an Instagram theme is ensure the prominent colours/tones in each image posted are the same or similar.

For example this is how my page currently looks, I try to avoid bright colours – instead sticking with black and white.

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But some other people can take their themes far more seriously, sticking to one specific colour or set of tones like these ones:


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This led me to wondering, do these themes and colours really matter? Of course in the grand scheme of things, no, Instagram is a social media platform and the colour of the pictures you post there is not going to drastically alter your life. However if social media is part of your business and therefore your brand it really could matter. Branding is crucial to making a business distinctive from others and building a relationship with consumers. So could the colour schemes of these social channels mean anything? How can brands utilise colour to maximise the efficiency of their social channels at being able to drive sales.

The colour red can signal love, passion, excitement and more. Consequentially, colour schemes centered around red could induce these positive feelings within the consumer. But red, like many colours isn’t only associated with positive feelings. Red is also associated with aggression and danger so if used incorrectly it could just as easily induce feelings of fear or discomfort within the consumer. Similarly, yellow is associated with joy/happiness but also anxiety/irrationality. The tone of the image, language used around it in conjunction with the consumers mood when they see the image can all contribute to whether they feel the positive or negative emotions associated with the colour. One colour with fewer negative emotions associated with it is blue, which is often used within advertising and other persuasive media. Blue is generally regarded as calming and is associated with intelligence, making the brand seem more credible which could make consumers more likely to engage and purchase.

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Tiffany Blue

Due to the duality of feelings associated with images, brands should be careful about how they use colours within their imagery. However it is very common for brands to use colours within their branding strategies, some even going as far as trademarking their exact pantone colour. Some popular examples of this include Tiffany Blue (seen above) or Cadbury Purple. Colour themes within their branding has been extremely successful for them, however it is still important to consider that different colours mean different things within different cultures. As a result, brands should be careful not to use colours and branding in a blanket fashion – rather adjusting according the culture being advertised to. For example, the colour of love in western cultures is red yet in asian cultures it is orange.

What do you think? Are colour schemes a useful branding tool or hinderance?

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  1. The Travelling Consumer

    First of all, your Instagram is amazing! I definitely just followed it. I have never really been too concerned with the theme and I often jump from one to another. I knew having a common topic theme helps gain followers, but I was surprised that a color theme can also do the same thing. I think this can be applied throughout all apps, not just Instagram.
    I’m now starting to notice how Apps design their colors to go along with what their offering. Airbnb is warm red for passion and excitement, Twitter and Facebook are blue (Plus red notifications to be easily seen, since eyes are sensitive to bright colors)

    Here’s a fascinating video that shows how color makes our phones addictive and how we should put it in grayscale in order to limit the amount of time we spend on it.

  2. Philip Ferey

    Very much enjoyed reading your blog. Remembered the proliferation of limited editions, on everything from cars to carpets. Jang, Morris & Chang (2015), examining the differences between Limited Time Scarcity (LTS) and Limited Quantity Scarcity (LQS) focused on the Scarcity Message Effects on Consumer Behaviour. Both LTS and LQS positively affect consumer evaluation, closer analysis suggested that LQS had a greater influence on the consumer’s ability to assign status and uniqueness to the Limited Edition. The status and uniqueness particularly accentuated when the edition is limited to a small quantity.
    Conducting a meta-analysis Lynn, M. (1991), found support for commodity theories proposition: scarcity enhances value. Examples of market practise include, producing limited edition lines, distributing products though exclusive outlets and restricting maximum order size. These three common practises were found to all increase perceived value.
    Lynn, M. (1991). Scarcity effects on value: A quantitative review of the commodity theory literature. Psychology and Marketing, 8(1), pp.43-57.
    Jang, W., Ko, Y., Morris, J., & Chang, Y. (2015). Scarcity Message Effects on Consumption Behavior: Limited Edition Product Considerations. Psychology & Marketing, 32(10), 989-1001. doi: 10.1002/mar.20836

  3. Marilu Louw

    Amazing!! I’m also an avid Instagrammer and know the importance of finding a theme and sticking to it. As an Instagrammer you are your own brand and it is important to be consistent as that is what makes you trustworthy and this is where the selection of a theme is of utmost importance. People don’t want to buy into an idea or concept that is all over the place as it only creates confusion and can make the consumer very uncertain. The psychological effects of colour have always had an effect on our behaviour whether it was to warn us of danger or give us a green light to pass. Recently however it has become an extremely powerful tool to use in marketing and consumer psychology. I found this paper which is an interesting read on colour . Definitely LOVE this post!

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