Imagery and Our Brains
Visual design and imagery are interesting. Our brains are always working overtime taking in subconscious cues from the design around us whether through package design, fashion on a passerby or even our favorite social media influencer’s grid. Because imagery and style are emotional, you must create a positive gut feeling in your viewer or customer.


Imagery is Emotion
Brand strategists have studied neuroscience and psychology to create a deeper understanding of how our brain works as it relates to brands we love and choose over and over again. I love that design and photography are used as a tool to create something beautiful, but taken a step further, design is a tool combined with strategy to make real impact on the world and on customers.

Believe it or not, most of our decisions are based on emotion. Neuroscience is now helping people like you and I understand how the brain works as it relates to branding. We are learning that what the customer perceives isn’t always a reality. Dan Ariely a professor of behavioral economics at Duke University said: “Our pre-conceptions of reality actually affect how we interpret reality.” Meaning, the way we first experience a brand or the associations we make with a brand shape how we see the brand and product. Your instagram matters, and it is a huge touchpoint that has the ability to make or break you.


Your imagery should reflect your USP and tone
In a minute, I will introduce tone words to you, but let’s take it back to last week where I wrote about the USP. Your USP is you one main compelling difference. Hi mom!!!


You need to be intentional with your grid
Look at your favorite social media influencer’s grid. Do you see any consistent themes with theirs, for example- colors palettes, fonts, filters? Do their images incite any emotions in you? Is their grid complex or simple? Does it convey a message? Do they alternate photos in a meaningful pattern? Judging by their social media, what do you think they are they known for? Now look at yours. Does your social media seem random and haphazard, scattered or indecisive? Are your colors consistent and are your images clear and communicative?


Here is Carly Cristman, she has a very subdued, gray and white aesthetic. She is definitely displaying a luxurious lifestyle featuring places like Paris and Chicago rooftops whilst wearing a limited color palette with plenty of white. She is mainly featuring outfits and lifestyle shots. When considering your brand, a very important aspect to consider will be your tone words. They can help guide you as you create your brand. The tone words that I think Carly’s brand conveys are Classic, Luxurious, Subdued, Stylish and Calming.

Your Instagram grid is creating a gut feeling in your viewer. You can (and you must) control how they are seeing you based off of the tone you develop for your Instagram. And remember to keep it consistent.


How can I be emotional with my grid?!
What feelings do you want to convey with your instagram? Are you the summery L.A. girl or maybe the dark and mysterious fashion guru in NYC. When you start to get clear on how you want to be seen, you will be able to form your tone words. Your tone words will help create a guideline for you to measure your photos up against each and every time you post. So Carly Cristman may ask herself “Does this photo lend itself to my tone words of “Classic, Luxurious, Subdued, Stylish, Calming?” If she can’t say yes, she simply won’t post them. It also helps to get an app like Preview to see how your grid looks when you choose a new image. Preview is meant to help plan your grid out. It has been a great tool for me when I need to see what my grid looks like with a potential new post.


Pick your tone words
Here’s where you get to work. I want you to pick 5 tone words for your Instagram feed. Download the pdf and choose 5 words that define what you want to say with your Instagram brand. Don’t fear opposing words, this will keep your brand interesting. Say you want to choose feminine yet edgy, that’s fine! (A lot of my Instagram features this sort of aesthetic.)

Download here.


Translating your tone words to visual images
Once you have your tone words done, start getting a collection going of images that fit your tone words. Having these tone words will help keep your Instagram brand consistent. Take a look at some grids here and the tone words I have created for them below


Friendly, Bright, quirky, fun and exciting.


Seasonal, Warm, Hand Crafted, Comforting, Natural


Edgy, empowering, simple, bright, intellectual


This exercise is fun and enlightening, and I hope you find it very useful. We covered everything
from what branding is, to the USP and design that follows. Steve Forbes said “Your brand is the
single most important investment you can make in your business.” At Bad Bitch Branding, we
couldn’t agree more.

You can always email me at for more info or questions. I offer
Brand Strategy Coaching and design services! Talk to you bitches soon!