How to Create a Captivating Instagram Profile Picture

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It takes mere seconds for people to draw conclusions from a first impression. This begs the question: What conclusions would an internet stranger draw from seeing your Instagram profile picture for the first time? 

If you’re an ecommerce business, you’ll want to make sure your profile picture makes the best impression, based on your product, branding, and target audience. For creators building personal brands, a profile picture that shows off your personality can work best. 

Whatever the case may be, nailing your Instagram profile picture is an essential part of your marketing strategy. This article will cover the basics of how to create a memorable profile picture for leveling up your Instagram presence, with ideas and examples.

Instagram profile picture size and dimensions

To make your Instagram profile picture the best quality it can be, you need to be aware of the appropriate dimensions, so your image isn’t distorted. 

These are the general guidelines to stick to for your Instagram profile images: 

  • Ideal profile picture upload dimensions: 320 pixels by 320 pixels
  • Profile picture display dimensions: 110 pixels by 110 pixels

Keep in mind that your profile picture will display in a circle. So a square photo with a 1:1 ratio will work best. 

12 ideas for creating a captivating Instagram profile picture

1. Illustrate your profile photo

Who says profile photos have to be real pictures of you? Especially with the popularity of avatars and NFT profile pictures, now would be a good time to experiment with an illustrated profile image. 

If you’re not the face of your brand, consider using an illustration or other creative image instead. This can help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed for the right reasons.

An illustration is eye-catching and easy to remember, so people will have no trouble identifying you online. Don’t forget to update your profile picture regularly as your brand evolves, to keep people interested.

Creator @brookgossen is a perfect example of someone using the overall illustration theme of her brand to create a memorable profile image. 

A strong logo can be worth a thousand words. And while a face isn’t a necessary part of a logo, it can certainly help customers connect with a brand on a personal level.

Ecommerce brands can get away with using a logo that helps them be easy to identify. A cohesive brand image is essential for ecommerce businesses, and a logo can be a key part of achieving that.  

A logo profile picture like the one used by  cleaning brand @gocleanco, for example, really stands out in a crowded feed. 

3. Showcase your product

The brand creator isn’t the only element that should appear in a profile image: use your profile image to showcase your product too! 

This is a great way to get people to remember you for what you do and create brand recognition without the use of a logo. 

For instance, you can see creator @annaprice_art’s work in the background of her picture. That’s prime real estate for showing off what your brand stands for or what products you offer. It also doubles as an interesting background that’s hard to miss. 

Try “modeling” or including your products in your profile picture if you’re an ecommerce brand. This can also work well for creators selling merch. 

4. Play with fonts

Want to establish a strong brand identity? Fonts are a great place to start. 

Consider trying out different fonts to see what best represents your brand. Experiment with different styles, sizes, and contrasts to create a profile image that represents your brand well. 

With a little exploration, you can create a look that’s unique to your business by ensuring your fonts send the right visual message. The creator of @beautyisboring does a great job of playing with fonts that stand out. 

While a font profile image might not work as well for personal brands, it can be the right fit for ecommerce brands in industries like:

  • Self care
  • Beauty
  • Publishing and writing
  • Design

5. Swap out the background

Your background is just as important as the main focus of your profile picture. Why? Because it emphasizes your profile image’s focal point. 

Much like creator @serenakerrigan did with hers, choosing a contrasting color as part of your background (blue and peach) can make your profile image pop. Plus, it adds a bit of creative flair that catches people’s attention. 

Pro tip: Having trouble choosing complementary colors that work? Try out free color combination tools like:

6. Go professional

A professional image is timeless. And, depending on the brand image you’re trying to convey, it may help your target audience take you more seriously. 

In this case, creator @investdiva teaches people how to invest. So opting for a professional and sleek profile picture on a black background is an optimal choice. Don’t be afraid to stick to your brand values and visuals, even on Instagram. That way, you make sure you’re attracting the right audience by establishing an authentic presence on social platforms. 

7. Use photo editors

Free image editors like Canva can help you add flair and personality to your profile picture. This works for all types of influencers, creators, or even ecommerce accounts that want to add an extra element of design to their images. 

Creator and marketer @elizabethgoddard_uk does exactly that. The result? A profile picture that speaks to its target audience and is hard to miss. 

Take advantage of design elements like:

  • Emojis
  • Shapes and patterns
  • Brushes
  • Photo effects 
  • Filters
  • Image cropping
  • Background erasers
  • Color palette generators

8. Manipulate the lighting

Don’t be afraid to play with candid angles. They add a touch of familiarity and relatability to your personal brand. 

Accounts like @designmom use both angles and candid shots to create a welcoming feel that speaks well to its target audience. In the end, it’s all about taking the elements that ring true to your brand and using them to guide the creation of your ideal profile picture.

This might take some experimenting. But the more you play with different elements, mix and match styles, and try new formats, the closer you’ll get to an original profile picture that represents your brand well. 

9. Use bold patterns (that match your brand) to stand out 

Your profile picture doesn’t have to be all business. After all, Instagram is a social platform. A place where you can express yourself, create just about any brand image you want, and attract the right audience. 

Consider having fun with patterns if it fits your brand visuals. Creator and coach @thesubconsciousbrand’s profile picture stands out in a lineup because of the bold stripes and colors in the image. 

10. Aim for simplicity

On the other hand, simplicity often works well too. A simple profile picture can help your brand identity shine through. 

To create a simple profile image, avoid using busy patterns or bright colors that may be distracting. Instead, focus on using clean and simple color combinations that will get attention and leave a lasting impression.

Sometimes a simple profile image can include a face, and sometimes it’s all about including a simple logo on a solid background. 

Take notes from ecommerce brands like @on_running.

11. Include your co-founder

Guess what? Profile pictures don’t just have to include one person. Have a co-founder? Create a profile picture that includes both of you as the face of your brand. 

This simple profile picture will help personalize the experience for your followers and make your page more familiar. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your team if you work with one. 

12. Add sophistication with a black and white filter

Black and white is a timeless combination. As a creator or ecommerce brand, use it to your advantage. Not only does it add an air of professionalism to your brand, but it can also be a way to stand out in a sea of colorful imagery.

If the colorful side of the profile image spectrum doesn’t quite go with your brand, try the other extreme and opt for a black and white filter, like creator @kaylabarnes.

How to change your profile picture on Instagram

Whether you’re using Apple or Android, here’s how to change your profile picture: 

  1. On the Instagram app, tap on your profile picture to go to your account.
  2. Navigate to Edit Profile.
  3. Click on Edit Profile Photo.
  4. Select how you’d like to import your image.
  5. Click on Done once it’s finished uploading. 

Beyond Instagram profile picture ideas

When it comes to Instagram marketing, your profile picture is an important piece of the puzzle. It’s one of the first things people see when they come across your account, and it’s what will help them decide whether or not to follow you.

That’s why it’s important to choose a profile picture that represents your brand well. Aim for eye catching and memorable so you make a good digital first impression. It’s one more step in the process of creating a brand with staying power that reaches the right audience.

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