The Instagram Aesthetics And Trends You’ll Be Seeing In 2021

Perfectly curated feeds are so last year.


Whether you’re dead set on having an Instagram aesthetic or prefer to not take the platform too seriously, there’s a good chance that you’ll have noticed certain Instagram trends taking over the app. With many of us spending more time than we'd like to admit on social media during lockdowns, a lot of these trends appeared and disappeared quicker than ever, but there are a few that we expect to stick around for 2021. So, whether you’re looking to get ahead of the curve aesthetically, engage your audience, or simply have a bit of fun, these are the Instagram trends you’ll most likely be seeing on your feeds this year. 

The anti-aesthetic photo dump
Think of photo dumping as some kind of organized chaos. It’s a seemingly random selection of images, designed to give off an air of ‘I’m too cool to care about Instagram.’ It’s out of context, unfiltered, and often unappealing. It’s Bella Hadid flaunting fashion week moments in the most casual way imaginable. SZA slipping in an artful nude. Or for us, it’s a way to clear out our camera roll. But Instagram isn’t real life, so we’re here for anything that makes it feel less stuffy.


A post shared by SZA (@sza)


Activism is in
Gone are the days when Instagram punished your posts for being text-heavy. Text-based carousels really came into their own last year, helping to educate and raise awareness of social issues and helping to provide resources for anything from supporting the BLM movement to looking after your mental health in lockdown. When done right, these can be super helpful, and as brands become more socially conscious, we’re expecting to see a lot more of these in circulation (let’s hope they’re not just performative.) If you’ve got something to say, apps like Canva can help to create super easy and eye-catching graphics. 


Reels aren't going anywhere
Love ‘em or hate ‘em Instagram's answer to TikTok, Reels, is here to stay. There’s even a shortcut for discovering Reels on the Instagram homepage. So what does this mean for the platform’s aesthetic? Well- things are about to get more creative, thanks to Reel’s extensive editing tools. The feature also lends itself well to fashion content, so if your fave influencer isn’t already all over it, expect them to be soon. 


We can’t shake the 90s
Thanks to the success of community-created Instagram story filters, the 90s aesthetic has seen a huge resurgence on Instagram. Now the callback to yesteryear can be seen on our feeds. We’ve seen everything from Windows interfaces to nostalgic Nokia phone screens, but if you’re wanting to hop on the trend yourself, you can find a huge amount of 90s inspired filters on apps such as Storyluxe.


Going with the grain
Your fave Scandi influencer’s go-to style. Lofi photos are in this year. Think noise-enhancing dust and grainy snaps on a darkened background to give that film photo effect, and recreate it for yourself with apps like VSCO or Afterlight


A post shared by JOSEFINE H. J (@josefinehj)


Up next, where beauty is headed in 2021.