What is the Instagram Effect?

The Instagram effect is the result of the incredible influence Instagram has on a brand. Of the 3.8 billion social media users globally, almost 1 billion of those are actively posting to Instagram. The filtered, stylised and “Insta-worthy” parts of our daily lives have the ability to create a real psychological  ‘fear of missing out’ . From brunch to brides, puppies to planes; Qantas Digital Communications Manager, Clarabelle Burley says “Instagram allows us to tell really impactful visual stories that move brand metrics”.


Brand awareness

Thus, a simple yet effective way to increase brand awareness is through building earned marketing; creating something special and “Instagrammable” for your customers or clients to share. Paying attention to those extra details of design when considering a fit-out; whether retail, hospitality or office, is priceless earned marketing for your business with measurable Return on Investment. If you can create a point of difference or a space that is worth sharing on Instagram, you will create curiosity for your brand.


Instagram’s reach

With over 500 million active Instagram stories uploaded daily worldwide, there is huge opportunity to get your brand recognised. While Instagram’s market share is significantly lower than Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter, the predominantly mobile app has an influence that outweighs its market share.


Hashtags get noticed

With #design one of the most used hashtags of 2020, we are not the only ones who think there is something here worth capturing when it comes to spaces and fit-outs. If you’re looking to elevate your business with the Instagram Effect, here are our top four ways to create an Instagrammable feature in your fit-out:


  1. COLOUR:

If there is one beautiful thing to take from 2020, it should be the power of colour! Strong contrasting palettes or rich hues that capture nature with rich sophistication, warmth and calmness have a power over the brain that will induce positive feelings within one’s mind. These sensations are constructive and affirmative. For colour to spark the Instagram Effect, it must immediately be impactful and well considered. Additionally, don’t underestimate the power of lighting within a space to influence colour, mood and feeling; after all, colour is nothing without light! But avoid the harsh florescent light at all cost!


My favourite examples from around the world include:

Stylecraft, Singapore

This space is a warm and chic furniture showroom; celebrating colour with a dusty pink exposed ceiling, terracotta island bench and aqua green kitchen splash-back. The ultimate backdrop to highlight the latest trends in interior design.

Posti, Finland

The functional post office that is transforming the way we interact with online retailers to maximise the overall user experience. This store takes colour, surface textures, creativity and functionality to the next level.

Harrods Blue Box Café, London

The instantly recognisable Tiffany Blue is iconic and the café at Harrods, is a full brand immersion and experience. The colour is a signifier that demands attention and instantly creates a brand identity, thus transporting one to a world filled with luxury and delight.

The Coven Coworking Office, St. Paul

Often we think that the Instagrammable fit-outs are reserved for retail and hospitality. Although these spaces do make it easier to push the boundaries, there is room to be creative with colour in office fit-outs too! This space “aims to empower its inhabitants through custom details, bold colours and vivid materials.”



Biophilic design has an incredible influence over ones psychic. Introducing plants into office fit-outs and retail design will have immense positive effects on those who use the space. However, if you’re hoping to spark a reaction, these days you will need to go further than one green wall. To excite the Instagram Effect, think more along the lines of a customised indoor forest!


London’s most Instagrammed cafe

The proof is in the pudding for plants and flowers. London’s most Instagrammed café, Elan Café, will leave you in awe and absolute amazement! The whole space is over the top pink that gives it a cohesive aesthetic and the Instagram charm!


For plants and flowers to have the ‘it’ factor, guests want to be immersed. This could be as simple as a greenhouse meeting room, just like this one at the Joolz Headquarters, Amsterdam. The space is a reflection of their business values and goals; increasing transparency by literally removing walls.




We all know first impressions count. In those first few seconds, human beings will build information that will quickly influence how they feel. Thus, the user experience at an arrival space in an office, hotel or retail store will have an immense impact on how people will relate to your brand. By elevating the traditional welcome experience into something special, one will instantly have the power to increase optimism and confidence in your product.  Additionally, something upbeat that captures the attention of your customers or clients is likely to be worthy of an Instagram story while they’re waiting.

A favourite example of this is The Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany. This is an incredible treetop walk that builds anticipation as soon as one strolls through the entry door to the ticket counter. Giving you a glimpse at what you’re about to experience, the illuminated corridor is a show stopper before you’ve even reached the main attraction!

Yet, when considering your entrance experience, it is important to consider human herd behaviour. Don’t make it too obscure for people to understand where to go first or how the process works, especially when there aren’t many other people around for social clues. When we don’t have those hints and are unsure of what to do it makes us feel awkward and uncomfortable very quickly. Thus, if your reception or waiting area is quiet, use clear indications to let your guests know what to do or where to go when they first arrive.



Overall, the Instagram Effect can be simplified as the ‘WOW’ factor. In an office environment, creating an element of interest to anchor a space is a simple yet effective way to bring a space together, showcase a brand and create a talking point that is worthy of a photo. Colour, style, life, interest and vibrancy have the power to energise the workplace and spark inspiration and creativity for those who use the space.

A mural like this one uses colours that spark optimism and innovation and are a more inspirational way of translating a brand subtlety in a space rather than simply painting every wall.


A hand-painted transformation

Another beautiful and very Instagrammable space, The Arroyo Hotel, set within a 1980s concrete high-rise in the heart of Buenos Aires, was cold and unwelcoming. Transformation to excite a friendlier atmosphere for guests turned the flexible breakfast space / working room / café into a colourful and soulful space by artist Eloisa Ballivian. Definitely worthy of a picture and an attractive feature for this recently renovated hotel!


Show the way

Fortunately, design worthy of a picture doesn’t have to be reserved for the main lobby or attraction as we learned from that creative entry to the Bavarian Forest National Park. Consequently, don’t neglect to integrate your wayfinding into the creative scope. By nature, you’ll want it to capture attention! The wayfinding at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. is a minimalistic masterpiece.


If you still need inspiration for something that is sure to capture the attention of your guests look no further than the Sonos Experience stores that forge the path for an exciting type of retail. The stores showcase the importance of bricks and mortar, attempting to recreate the home listening experience and allowing you to try before you buy.


Awe inspiring

Finally, it would be a disservice to write an article about the Instagram Effect in 2020 without mentioning the mesmerising and awe inspiring LED wave that appeared on the façade of the SMTOWN Coex Atrium in Seoul’s Gangnam-gu region this year. Created by Samsung, the signage is made from approximately 31,000 LED display modules towering over the sidewalk. The wave is just one of many artworks and advertisements to ‘WOW’passers-by.



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