Instagrammers are constantly finding ways of standing out on the platform. The app is rife with innovation – whether through creative marketing tactics, social media cross-promotion, or fresh, new content ideas.
Being the visual site that it is, it’s no surprise that users came up with the “Instagram banner” – a clever new way of displaying images on your profile.
Below, we dive into what these Instagram banners are, their benefits, and easy steps to making your own.
What is an Instagram Banner?
Ever come across an Instagram feed that formed a larger photo from multiple, single-photo squares? This design is known as a “puzzle grid”, or an Instagram banner.
Rather than treating your profile as a gallery of individual photos; plenty pursue the greater vision of a having one, larger photo composed of multiple photo posts. When done right, it creates an eye-catching visual to scroll through – and sets you apart from other users who decide to stick to the app’s conventions.
Instagram banners have quickly picked up speed in the last few years, with apps that now allow users to instantly create or generate them.
Many high-profile influencers use the Instagram banner design as a more effective tactic of spotlighting their latest works.
Below are some of the best accounts that incorporate this visual style to their feed.
Instagram Banner Examples
These users are masters in turning a traditional Instagram feed into a larger canvas of art.
Whether it’s for image quotes, portraiture, or a seemingly endless scroll of connected concepts and visuals, these profiles have got it down.
Also known as “Micah404”, this user’s profile shines with colorful, street-style artworks that flow from one square photo to the next. Each “9-square grid” holds something new, creating a vertical, visual medley of varying art styles and subjects.
At a superficial level, this is what viewers see – a long canvas of rolling images. Each square, however, has its own meaningful caption and media format. While standard images make up these banners, plenty of videos are incorporated as well.
When tapped, these clips showcase something completely different – often Micah404’s latest 3D modelling projects.
His use of the Instagram banner thus creates a more compelling “grid” experience for potential followers; while still allowing him to feature other, unrelated works of art in each single post.
Skyrocket is an agile creative agency based in Vancouver, Canada – offering services in brand strategy, web development, and digital marketing.
Though most of their Instagram feed features typical, single image posts of their latest products, offers, and company culture; they’ve occasionally dabbled in larger-scale visual ads, typically composed of nine grid squares.
These images often feature a related tagline in bold font, across the images. It’s a creative way of showing off their digital design talents, while at the same time, promoting the company.
If you’re familiar with animated Adult Swim hit, “Rick and Morty”, their affiliated “Rickstaverse” Instagram account was a must-follow for any fans.
Created as an interactive, choose-your-adventure-type activity on the platform, the Rickstaverse feed forms an Instagram banner of a cartoon galaxy. Each grid post contains a number of tags that act as “portals” to different worlds and dimensions – hosted on their own exclusive, private accounts.
Since the experience was created to promote the show’s second season, users were encouraged to follow these profiles for a chance at accessing exclusive sneak peeks and new season clips.
An Instagram banner was the perfect method for creating an interactive map, with each square serving its own, unique purpose.
Why Create an Instagram Banner?
Before diving into the easiest methods of creating Instagram banners, we’ve outlined the visual benefits they add to your feed:
Helps Your Profile Stand Out
One of the most obvious advantages of Instagram banners is their distinct, eye-catching aesthetic.
Since they’re larger in scale, they’re far more effective in catching viewer attention. As most viewers still rely on a traditional gallery aesthetic, banners also make your grid look far more unique and cleverly optimized.
It Diversifies Your Content
If you’re planning to try out Instagram banners, they also provide a stylish break from your usual, single-image (or video) posts. Your followers are sure to appreciate the variety in your content and prevents it from seeming predictable or repetitive.
Since banners are typically more challenging to execute and maintain (especially when you still want each square to stand out on its own); you’re also more likely to impress viewers with your visual efforts.
It Adds Importance to an Image or Artwork
Creating an Instagram banner out of a single visual concept highlights its details and importance.
Micah404’s artwork, for example, wouldn’t have nearly been as impactful if each new concept were framed in its own single square post. Each segment on his Instagram banner did a grand job of showcasing its styles, techniques, and subjects; the larger scale of the image grants a fuller view of the artist’s ideas and every detail involved.
How to Create an Instagram Banner (The Easiest Methods)
Currently, Instagram lacks the built-in tools for creating banners and puzzle grids. Executing one of your own can therefore be a challenge (especially when done manually), though these tried-and-tested methods below can help make the process a touch easier.
Creating an Instagram Banner – Step 1: Using Canva or Illustrator
To start, decide your idea for an Instagram banner. It can help to create a mood board to brainstorm your ideas for a color pallette, brand imagery, and the overall vibe of your banner.
Once you’ve got your design idea, your next step is to execute it on Canva or Illustrator.
Using the Canva Method
Canva is the recommended route for graphic design beginners – given their user-friendly, drag-and-drop functions. And to top that off, it’s completely free!
To start designing your banner, create a new design with one of the following dimensions:
- For smaller banners containing 3 squares, use 3240 x 1080
- For a taller banner that contains 12 squares, use 3240 x 4320
- Or – for or a square banner that contains 9 squares, use 3240 x 3240
Once you’ve chosen your size, it’s time to start designing! Users can choose from Canva’s generous selection of fonts, stock images, and shapes to create a visual that shows off their brand message and distinct style. Play around with the arrangement of photos, icons, and text to create an eye-catching, cohesive banner for your feed.
Those who subscribe to a Premium account are granted access to even more design options and templates. For more free stock images, you can always import saved files from other free stock sites, such as Unsplash or Pixabay.
Using the Illustrator Method
If you’re already familiar with Adobe Illustrator then you may wish to stick with their software instead.
To start designing your banner, set up a blank grid. The humber of squares you add will depend on your design. Create an individual “art board” for each square – this allows you to export each single tile once you’re done designing.
Once you’ve got your grid and art boards, it’s time to put your ideas onscreen. Start by applying your desired background, followed by basic elements and shapes – and finishing off with your focal (or “hero”) images.
When adding in your “hero” photos, take time to arrange them appropriately so that each tile is given its own featured image and subject matter. While not mandatory, having a focal point for each tile (or most tiles) helps your banner posts stand out as their own, individual images once you begin uploading.
Along with your “hero” photos, be sure to overlay your main text and brand logos as necessary.
Save each individual image when you’re done. To export them as JPG files, select File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy).
Those using Illustrator get to save the following step – which is to use a third-party app for “slicing”/”splitting” your designed grid.
For either method, if you’ve already got an existing design or photo on-hand; you can always import this into your empty design, and resize as necessary.
Creating an Instagram Banner – Step 2: Using an Image Splitting Tool
If you followed the Canva method, then your next step is to use an image-splitting app to create your individual tiles.
Those who’ve followed the Illustrator method can skip this step.
As mentioned, Instagram banners have gained popularity in recent times, spurring plenty of handy image-splitting tools. We’ve listed some of the best ones below.
PhotoSplit is available on both Android and Apple devices, and offer simple functions to slice up your image in seconds.
Users are given three splitting options: creating a 3×1, a 3×2, or a 3×3 banner. Simply select your design from your phone’s camera roll, and move or rotate it on your chosen grid as desired.
When you’re done, split your image into individual squares. The app then displays each single tile in the order they should be posted (with a corresponding number). Tap each of these tiles in sequence to post them on Instagram, or save them to your gallery.
Additionally, PhotoSplit preserves the quality of each image, keeping your banner in the highest resolution possible. Users can also send any image to the PhotoSplit editing suite as they browse online.
9Square is another popular tool for splitting images, though is far more generous in their grid sizes – allowing users to create 3×1, 3×2, 3×3, 3×4, and 3×5 grids.
Just upload your design to the app, and select the grid size you’re after. Adjust the frame as desired to include all necessary details.
Once that’s done, the app splits your photo and numbers them in the appropriate sequence for posting. Similarly to PhotoSplit, you can tap each of these tiles to post them directly to Instagram, or save them to your camera roll.
9Square is yet another simple tool that preserves the quality of your image – keeping each tile crisp and high in resolution.
Pic Splitter for Instagram also offers a variety of flexible options; including the ability to add background colors and stylish frames to your designs.
Simply load your image onto the app, and select from the range of grid sizes and styles. Tap the “frame” icon to add any additional colors and artistic framing.
Users can create grids of up to a 3×3 size. You can also create grid patterns by selecting and de-selecting tiles on your image in the editing suite. As with the previous tools, you can scale and crop your design as necessary.
Once you’re done, you can select a tile size and output for your final grid. Then, upload your images to Instagram enjoy your new banner!
Creating an Instagram Banner – Step 3: Upload Your Images to an Instagram Scheduler
While not absolutely essential, scheduling your banner images can come in handy when you’ve got multiple designs ready for upload.
Below are some of the most popular scheduling apps – with visual tools to help you preview your feed before publishing.
Titled the “#1 Marketing Platform for Instagram”, Later’s selling feature is its content calendar; a visual planner that helps users prepare and plan their overall feed before setting options for automatic, direct publishing.
Best of all, it’s completely free – and incredibly user-friendly! Users can also preview their banner in a simulated Instagram feed, ensuring everything ties in nicely with the rest of their profile.
Later’s platform offers intuitive drag-and-drop functions, making content scheduling as efficient and effortless as possible.
The Preview App
The Preview App is a worthy competitor of Later’s tools, offering advanced scheduling, editing, and analytics options.
As with Later, users are offered a drag-and-drop content calendar with a corresponding Instagram feed preview. Users are able to plan an unlimited number of Instagram posts, all for free.
Additionally, the app provides tools for finding and applying the most effective hashtags, and a simple-to-use analytics tools for monitoring your profile growth.
Third-party schedulers are especially helpful for those planning to upload multiple banners; as their preview tools help you determine how well each design fits in with the other.
Create an Instagram Banner Today!
With over 95 million photos uploaded to the platform daily, it helps to have content that stands out. Instagram banners are perfect for spotlighting clever concepts and designs, and keeps your feed interesting amongst a stream of standard video and image posts.
Using our discussed tools and methods, try adding a banner or two to your feed – your engagement numbers may surprise you.