Social media is a game-changer for creatives. It has transformed the way we live our lives, how we connect with our audience, and how we market our brands.
But maintaining a strong social media presence can feel like an uphill battle, especially if you’re a small business without the luxury of a dedicated online team. So what’s the secret to making your social media content work for you?
It’s all about the styling!
A sprinkling of carefully curated content can generate a buzz online. Sharing high quality images of your work helps foster a positive perception of your brand and builds loyalty and customer retention. Taking a little extra time to create stunning and styled visuals is 100% worth the effort.
So, how do you make your posts stand out from the crowd? Here are some styling tips to ensure your designs resonate with your audience and your social media accounts look incredible.
1. Embrace a fabulous flat lay
Nailing how you arrange and style your content is instrumental to social media success. What’s the best way to make your designs pop? Say hello to the oh-so-popular flat lay style.
To put it simply, a flat lay is basically a photo taken of your items from above – a bird’s eye view, if you will. But the real magic lies in the styling: how you arrange your items and props to provoke more interest.
There are a few different ways to create an effective flat lay image in order to tell a visual brand story and bring your business to life.
Style #1: Linear
Are you a fan of clean, coordinated perfection when it comes to design? A brilliant flat lay styling option is to follow a geometric and orderly approach. This almost mathematical style is ideal for those who like to keep it simple, as it puts the focus straight on your product or design.
Arranging props in a symmetrical fashion like the clever creatives pictured above sends a message to your audience that you are professional, organized and proud of your designs, which ultimately builds a relationship of trust. Seeing things lined up in such a cohesive way also evokes calming, positive feelings from your audience.
Style #2: Organic
If the linear style is too uniform for your brand aesthetic or you’re just looking for a more casual style, then the answer to this could lie in a natural, organic and piled-on flat lay approach.
This visually stunning and versatile style is all about creating an arrangement to complement and contrast your designs.
It uses an attractive focal point (your product, packaging or design) alongside some cleverly placed styling elements or props. Just check out the examples below for how using well-thought-out props and colors can showcase your designs to perfection.
Arranging your items to make them look like they just fell into place is so effortlessly chic, your audience doesn't need to know how long it really took to get the arrangement just right!
To recap: your social media styling checklist:
- Props. Think carefully about which elements you use to help set the scene. Everything should be chosen for a reason, such as furthering your packaging design story or as a homage to your overall brand personality.
- Backgrounds. Backdrops play an important role in styling, but it’s important that they don’t overpower your key items. Solid colors or subtle textures work best! Re-use your favorite backgrounds again and again to create a cohesive theme across your social media channels.
- Dimensions. Which social media platform will you be uploading your content to? Different platform posts require differing sizes or shapes, for example, the classic Instagram square. Get the most out of your image by planning ahead and avoiding any need to crop or edit later on.
- Keep it simple. The key is not to overwhelm. Your focal point should be complemented by any additional props or backgrounds, and not be competing with them.
2. Choose clear and complimentary colors
A clear color scheme is a key ingredient to social media success. If you’ve already defined your brand colors, these will most likely be prominent in your social media content, and if not, the time to make it happen is now! Producing images that keep to your brand’s specific color palette creates a cohesive online identity.
According to color psychology, colors in branding and design are used to represent different moods, emotions and messages. Bold and bright, or soft and subtle, your choice of color palette is used to reflect your brand identity – so why not match the rest of your social media stylings to the same theme?
Light shades and pastel colors instil a gentle and welcoming tone to their viewer. Laid-back brands can utilize these same shades in other elements of their styled imagery (such as packaging, props or backdrops) to further their message of elegance. Just check out the creatives below with their seamless and sophisticated styling.
Are your brand colors more on the bright side? Embrace this vibrancy and create a bold social media aesthetic. Bright color choices signal a clear brand identity: you are not afraid to stand out from the crowd! Setting your designs alongside props or a backdrop that is equally as fun can result in bold, unique social media content like these stunners below.
Whatever you decide, be sure to always incorporate your brand's colors, fonts and logos to accurately reflect your brand identity.
3. Seek out the natural light
You've sorted your designs, props, colors and styling and now you’re ready to shoot. Our final tip when creating aesthetically pleasing content is to take advantage of natural lighting.
Getting the perfect lighting for your images can be as easy as shooting content by your windows or taking your designs outside on a clear day. Photographers around the world will tell you that the best light is natural light – but why?
- It’s happiness inducing. Natural light just looks and feels different. Images are more pure, warm and inviting, like a dose of dopamine for your customer’s eyes.
- Forget the flash. Artificial light such as camera flashes can flatten an image and make colors look different than they do in real life. When it comes to showing off your designs in their literal best light, bright and balanced natural sources is the way forward. Natural light feels life-like and consistent for a visibly soft image.
- Work with golden hour. Nature's Instagram filter, any picture taken at this magical time of day is sure to be extra pleasing for the eyes. Whenever the sun is low in the sky, like dawn or dusk, it gives off a golden light that produces flattering and rich images. Utilize it, it’s free!
- Play around with light. Is the sunlight too bright? Then move into the shade to diffuse the intensity. Want to add an extra layer to your content? Incorporate shadows for interesting texture across your images. You can play around with light to create different textures, colors and feelings.
4. Go Behind The Scenes of Social Media Styling
Is anyone else curious to see the process behind a brand’s creative posts and designs, or is it just us?
Spoiler: It’s not just us. People like to see the human face they’re buying from, so inviting your customers behind-the-scenes is a big step towards being more transparent and building trusting relationships.
Peeking behind the curtain shows the hard work that goes into each piece you’re creating, which increases authenticity and helps build your likability.
Providing content that documents the inner workings of your business, your design processes, or your team and how they work together is like giving your followers VIP backstage passes. Show off the face and the workspaces behind the designs to the people in your online community. This helps let your personality shine!
While shooting this content, just remember that like all your other posts, styling, natural light and choice of color still play a vital role.
This behind-the-scenes content might be a great opportunity to break up your usual style of design content, but it should still match your overall aesthetic as cohesively as possible. Take this image of designer and home decorator Lemonni – we just can’t get over how seamlessly it fits in with the rest of her social feed!
In a world that is increasingly digital, brands that are the most human will definitely stand out from the crowd.
That’s A Wrap
So there you have it: that’s our insider guide to styling stunning imagery as a creative for social media.
Using striking visuals that make your brand unique is critical when creating connected experiences and driving brand performance, no matter your social platform of choice.
Check out our amazing creative community for swoon-worthy inspo all year round. We can’t wait to see what you post next!