Instagram + Typography


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Duration: 3 weeks
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Project Brief

Design a series of three Instagram posts that educate, inform, inspire, and/or motivate viewers about a specific social issue. Each post will be an Instagram slide show with up to 10 images.

  • Pick a topic you want to work on.
  • Write a short outline of what you want to say about the topic, and
    what would be the goal of your posts.
  • Research the topic.
  • Plan your campaign. Then write / illustrate your own content, keeping the focus on the text; images and/or data visualizations can supplement.
  • Use reliable sources for your information. You must include source citations in your slideshow.

Design considerations

  • You are working within a small digital space (1200 x 1200 px). How are you using type as text, display and image within this space?
  • Body text size and leading will need to tested on your phone to make sure it is readable on screen.
  • Consider how much type works in this context, and therefore how many images you might need for your written message.
  • How are you using color? And how do your colors meet accessibility standards.


  • Design is typography-centric
  • Design shows a clear system.

Learning Objectives

  • Use social media (specifically Instagram) to effectively communicate social issue topics, employing a text-heavy design.
  • Learn some good research practices on evaluating credibility of online posts.
  • Learn some basics of color accessibility for digital platforms.
  • Gain understanding and experience in effective use of typography in a limited digital space.
  • Understand how a visual system helps create a cohesive look, especially in the context of a 1200 px square space!


  • Digital images of each post with all images included.
  • Digital presentation of your project that shows all posts, and includes information on your topic, your research (sources) your intended audience, your desired tonality, and the goal of the posts;
  • Reflection on overall project to be included in your semester journal.


Additional readings:

It’s not just your feed. Political content has taken over Instagram.

How Black Lives Matter uses social media to fight the power

How Social Justice Slideshows Took Over Instagram

Research resources

UofL's Art Library director gave a presentation and lead a workshop on evaluating sources, tracking back to original sources, and crediting your sources.

Color Accessibility

Used the following websites to read about and check color accessiblity in digital spaces.


Students were very engaged in this project, so it felt like a good way for them to develop typographic skills in a digital space while working on content that they were passionate about. Many students felt this gave them an opportunity to do something meaningful within the context of a student assignment. Student feedback at the end of the project was that they liked combining design and research and working on a topic that was meaningful to themselves. I was impressed with the diversity of topics and their research, which ranged from Inequality in the Latinx/Hispanic world, to gender identity issues, to health issues (diabetes, cystic fibrosis), to the problems of fast fashion, in addition to examples shown.

Bringing in our Art Library director to do a presentation on researching and assessing sources was very important in impressing on them the need for evaluating your sources. This will be something that they hopefully take with them throughout their classes.

As Typography I students, they are at the front end of learning how to deal with "long-form" text type in both print and digital formats. While much of their typography was readable in the Instagram context, in many cases it still could be further refined.

In future versions of this assignment, I would encourage the use of images and data visualizations more, while still keeping typography as a central focus. The projects I felt were the most engaging and successful did include images in addition to text.

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