AUGUST 26, 2018


Are you designing for Instagram? Whether or not you like it, you should be.

Ross Mitchell, Greg VanderPol


If you are not living an Instagramable worthy life, are you really living at all? Every day, millions of people, mostly in the under-35 crowd, consider this question in some way. Or at least how their life may be made into a splashy, FOMO inducing image for one’s friends, frenemies, celebrity crushes, high school classmates, and ex boyfriends or girlfriends.

Amongst other cultural shifts, the very idea of leisure has been transformed. Traditionally, those with wealth, power and status (or wanting to convey as much) have  engaged in conspicuous consumption of luxury goods.  More recently, we have seen the rise of conspicuous demonstration – the collection of unique experiences as a form of showing off.

When designing art exhibits, for instance, curators are taking Instagram into account. Jordan Ferney the founder of the Color Factory, a San Francisco exhibit that features such instagrammable moments as a pit with 207,000 plastic yellow balls, stated that his goals with the exhibit were to make sure “It would be conceptual; very photogenic and do well on social media; and be an experience that you couldn't get anywhere else."

Similarly, new restaurant concepts are often designed around Instagram. According to Yelp data, there was a 3,000 percent increase in using the search term Instagram to find a restaurant from 2015 to 2018.

You don't have to go far in neighborhoods such as Los Angeles’ Korea Town before you encounter businesses reflecting this trend.  Colorful, highly designed ice cream, donuts and other photoworthy consumables offer a first rate instagram experience that may be more important the actual act of consumption.

Clearly, companies of all sorts could benefit from thinking more about how Instagram factors into the experiences they design. Beyond restaurants and art exhibits, though, what are some other Instagramable experiences to consider creating for your brand?


Pop Up Shops

Traditional retail is boring. Pop-up, one of a kind, catch it before you miss it, shopping experiences are fun. According to Ad Week, numerous brands are utilizing Instagramable moments in their pop up retail environments to attract customers.

Brand Experience Pop Ups

A popular trend for promoting new films and TV shows is the creation of Instagramable pop up experience tie ins. To promote the Steven Spielberg film, Ready Player One, marketers created an interactive recreation of some of the films locales at the corner of Hollywood and Vine.

One of a Kind Experiences

Brands would be wise to dig into their entire ecosystem to formulate experiences that simply cannot be replicated by others, which in turn will drive traffic to them. In fact, entire companies, like IfOnly, are now forming around the idea of providing one-of-a-kind experiences. As Pitchbook explains, IfOnly can provide things like “A hot air balloon ride, a selfie with pop singer Charlie Puth and an Alaskan dogsled expedition.” AirBnb is also betting heavily on experiences, with Fortune pointing out that AirBnb’s experience service is growing much faster than its core offering.

Shared Spaces

Instagram is also having a major effect on shared spaces. Hotels, malls, and other retail locations should be acutely aware of how instagramable moments can drive traffic to sites. Smithsonian magazine has dubbed the changing physical space to accommodate selfies the “Instagramization” of the world.