Design tips

Use GIFs and Stickers in Your Instagram Story Designs

Instagram has an entire library of stickers and gifs that you can use to spice up your Instagram Story designs. In this example, the mattress brand Leesa does a great job of using gifs and stickers to add personality to their stories. Still, proceed with caution. The occasional gif or sticker can help to liven up your Instagram Story designs. However, if you use too many, your design may look messy or unprofessional. So how many should you use? The optimum number will be different for every brand. But to start, take a leaf out of Leesa’s book and use one element per slide.

Prioritize Usability

A stunning Instagram Story design must still be practical. As Steve Jobs, the co-founder of tech company Apple said:


   “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

In this example from the makeup brand Sephora, the text is easy to read and the calls-to-action are presented clearly. The takeaway? Make sure that your Instagram Story designs clearly communicate your messages.

Design to Engage Your Audience

It doesn’t matter how pretty your Instagram Story designs are if they don’t engage viewers. In other words, your Instagram Story designs should make viewers feel involved and valued. ToyShades might not share the most beautiful Instagram Story designs, but they do a brilliant job engaging their followers. In the example below, you can see two examples of user-generated content and a poll. So, don’t worry if your Instagram Story designs aren’t exactly works of art. Just make sure that your designs engage your target audience. Think of design as a way to communicate visually. As the designer, Lorinda Mamo, said, “Every great design begins with an even better story.” What are you trying to communicate? What story do you want to tell? All top companies in the world create vision and mission statements to act like compasses that help them move closer to their goals. These statements are born from their hopes, desires, and values. When you know what you stand for as a company – or as an individual – it’s much easier to create messages that resonate with your target audience. Take the charity Unicef. In the example below, the charity introduces their new #OneLoveOneHeart campaign, explains what it is, and then compels viewers to get involved. Like all good stories, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. So, before you design Instagram Stories, try to identify what you want to communicate and break it down into a short storyboard.

Use the Right Instagram Story Design Dimensions

Sometimes it can be awkward to design Instagram Stories on your smartphone – especially if you’re trying to create professional-looking video clips. So, you may want to use your computer. In which case, you’ll need to make sure that you use the right dimensions. It’s best to design Instagram Stories that are 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high. These dimensions have an aspect ratio of 9:16. Here’s an Instagram Story design template that you can use to help. Simply save it to your computer and then import it into your video editor or design program. It’s worth noting that these dimensions aren’t perfect. This is because the dimensions of Instagram Stories are dependent on the viewing device – and some smartphones have wider or taller screens than others. To learn more, check out our full guide on Instagram Story sizes and dimensions.

Use a Visual Double Entendre

Some of my favorite logos in the world utilize a technique that I like to call a visual double entendre, which is an overly fancy way to say that it has two pictures wrapped into one through clever interpretation of a concept or idea. The WinePlace logo below is a perfect example. This logo takes on the shape of a thumbtack, which suggests “location” or “place,” but it also clearly looks like an upside down wine glass. Logo designs that use this technique come off as clever and memorable. Viewers love the little mind game that you’re playing and are more prone to appreciate a design because of it. In the past, we’ve put together a post of clever negative space logos like the one below. Check it out if you love this type of logo design as much as I do!

Color is Vitally Important

One of the most important considerations for logo design is the color palette. This is not a superficial decision, color carries meanings and communicates ideas. Sometimes you’re pegged to the colors of a brand, but other times you’ll have the freedom to explore. I love the rich palette used in the Zion logo below. The colors here grab you and pull you in, they bring life to the illustration and give further context to the shape of the landscape. That being said, remember that a good logo is versatile and will still function well in grayscale: Beyond a grayscale version, I like to also provide clients with a true single color version, using only black and negative space. This would be a little tricky with the logo above, but definitely possible. Always consider what it is that the logo will be used for and whether or not the various use cases require different versions.

Avoid the Clich

Every few years or so, some new fads come along in logo design. I personally love to study design trends and you might even find me suggesting jumping onto a few bandwagons to keep up with the times, but with logos, I just hate it when a bunch of designers use the same idea over and over. Should you know about the latest logo design trends and understand what’s good and bad about them? Absolutely. Should you follow them to the letter? Absolutely not. The basic archetype above is being used again and again in logo design right now and it’s getting old fast. Why not use a design that you actually thought up yourself rather than ripping off what everyone else is doing? We have an entire article dedicated to showcasing logo design clichés, be sure to check it out to make sure you’re not guilty of uninspired logo design.

Make it Ownable

I don’t believe that “ownable” is a real word, but you nevertheless hear it quite a bit in marketing (marketers love to make up words). The concept is definitely an important one that ties closely to the previous tip. Rather than following the herd and using a cliché design, you should instead strive for something that is uniquely recognizable. I’ve always appreciated the Evernote logo in this regard: It’s really just an elephant head, which doesn’t sound like a very unique concept. However, the way it’s drawn with the curled trunk and page fold in the ear makes it instantly recognizable. As you’re designing logos, consider whether or not your design is generic or unique. Is it likely that others will produce something similar? Remember, your first idea is typically your most generic (it’s also everyone else’s first idea). Try filling a notebook page or two with some rough sketches before choosing which ideas to pursue further.

Everybody Loves Custom Type

While we’re on the subject of being unique, there’s almost nothing that can give your logo a unique feel quite like some awesome custom lettering. Too often we see logo design as simply a trip to the font menu to see which typeface makes the company name look best. If someone is paying you to “design” their logo, they probably expect you to put a little more effort into it. Too often we see logo design as simply a trip to the font menu. Custom type helps to ensure that your unique logo will stay that way. Lowlife designers will rip off your work in a heartbeat if they discover which typeface you’re using, but it takes some real skill to mimic custom hand-drawn type! Keep in mind though that if your logo is famous enough, people will always try to rip it off. This certainly holds true for my favorite script logo: The awesome Coca-Cola script has been stolen countless times in awkward parodies throughout the last few decades.

Keep it Simple Stupid

Let’s face it, not everyone can bust out a beautiful, hand-drawn script on a whim. Just because you’re a designer doesn’t mean you’re an awesome illustrator or typographer (though it helps). If you fit this description, fear not, there’s nothing preventing you from making awesome logos. In this situation, remember these four powerful words: keep it simple stupid! Simple but powerful logos permeate the business world and always prove to be the best icons for standing the test of time. In considering how to construct one of these types of logos, let’s discuss the Apple logo. The silhouette of an apple is nothing special or memorable: It’s that missing bite that takes it to the next level. It gives the logo character, makes it unique, and drives the meaning deeper (computers and bytes, get it?). Without the bite, the apple is boring, with it, the apple is suddenly iconic. Always think about how you can go that extra mile and turn your boring logos into unmistakable brand marks.

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