The Brief: A social media aesthetic is the overall look and visual theme of a social media account.
In reference to social media, the term “aesthetic” is usually used to refer to the overall visual theme and mood of an account. Most often associated with Instagram, an aesthetic can exist on any digital platform with a visual component. The term can be used in relation to branding, as an account may function to curate a consistent aesthetic to form and hone in on a brand: either personal or professional.
Instagram and other social media aesthetics are often characterized by the color scheme, use of filters, type of content, fonts, emoji use, in addition to an overarching theme.
A carefully curated aesthetic is one way in which someone can display their personality, beliefs, artistic eye, and more.While conventional social media aesthetic trends lean towards clean design with images that would be considered to be conventionally polished and attractive, many younger people are shifting away from carefully curated aesthetics towards more messy imagery and layouts.
Social media aesthetics can be informed by types of images: selfies, portraits, memes, nature photos, food photos, etc. They can also be distinguishable based on color scheme, thematic pieces, the amount of text used versus images, and many other factors. Some of these elements may be intentional while others are more accidental, depending on how closely a feed is customized.
One classic way to glimpse at a social media aesthetic is by looking at an Instagram user’s grid. Here are some samples of different-looking grids from a few Instagram users and influencers.