One of the biggest struggles brands have when it comes to Instagram is establishing a consistent visual identity. You can tell when a brand is still figuring this out because they turn their Instagram account into a testing ground. Sometimes it can work out well, and sometimes it looks like The Island of Doctor Moreau. Also, sometimes you get it right away and you never look back. For girleatworld, a simple idea has turned into almost 100K followers nine months later. And she’s an incredible example of visual storytelling that all brands should pay attention to.
Girl Eats World
No, I’m not talking about a potential spinoff of the classic 90s show from TGIF.
The picture started it all. A simple photo of an ice cream cone in the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany proved to be a template for an incredibly successful series. girleatworld’s style of having local cuisine pictured in the foreground of an iconic location has resonated with the Instagram community, garnering tens of thousands of fans and creating her own brand.
But why does it work so well? Allow me to explain.
Any photographer will tell you about the importance of composition. Taking an eye-catching photograph isn’t just about the subject, it’s about the image as a whole. As you can see below, GirlEatsWorld does a fantastic job of not only capturing the subject (her food), but also uses the background to complement her.
A photographer would also say that these pictures don’t obey the rule of thirds, but that’s ok. Her photos have a beautiful sense of symmetry. Food is always centered and in focus, only taking up about 20% of the space, while the destination surrounds the subject in the background. This balance is also reflective of a larger theme that while things like food are a small part of an enveloping cultural identity, they’re still one of the more tangible aspects of culture. Am I getting too philosophical? Let’s move on.
Visual Identity and Consistency
Consistency is essential when it comes to establishing a recognizable brand. That’s why every time you drink from a can with the Coca-Cola label on it, you know exactly how it’s going to taste. Take a look at the image below. This is just a small cross section of the images from the account. Even though each piece of food and every location is different, it still has an unmistakable identity. When users are flipping through their feeds, these images stands out, and that is hugely important when it comes to Instagram.
Beauty in Simplicity
If you break these photos down to their core elements, they’re not that complicated. Sharing pictures of food on Instagram is by no means an original idea. Neither is sharing pictures of destinations around the world. They don’t require expensive equipment or Photoshop or celebrities. They just require a unique piece of food in a unique part of the world. That’s one of the reasons she’s gotten so many of her followers to contribute.
The style has resonated so well that her fans are replicating it. She noticed so many people doing it that she invited followers to use the #GirlEatWorld hashtag (it was previously #WeEatWorld, but she has since changed it to better connect to her brand). Here’s just one example, but she get enough submissions that she could make an account just of pictures of her fans. That’s how popular her brand is.
There you have it–a few lessons in visual storytelling. If you’re looking for more inspiration, enjoy more images from girleatworld. I’ve included ten of my favorites below. I also suggest you follow the Instagram account. She loves to include interesting facts about the food, places, and people featured in the pictures. Enjoy!
Bread Roll at Neuschwanstein Castle
Coconut in Cambodia
Stone-baked Crackers in Myanmar
Hello Kitty Donut in Tokyo
Rice Cake in Korea
Mini Taiyaki in London’s Chinatown
Curry Puff in Singapore
Vietnamese Coffee in Saigon
Pudina Paratha at the Taj Mahal
Pimm’s in London
Still need more beautiful pictures of food on Instagram? Check out one my other blog posts: Storytelling with Food: 30 Brilliant Examples by Instagrammer Lee Samantha