Instagram offers brands and influencers several different content types to reach followers and grow an audience. If you’re looking to maximize engagement, you should consider using carousel posts, which are proven to attract more engagement than other types of posts. Carousels are also ideal for storytelling and getting your message out there.

While they can be highly effective, planning and designing a quality carousel does take some effort. To have success, the images in your carousel need to be engaging, informative, and easy to read all at the same time.

Let’s take a detailed look at Instagram carousels and tips you can use to design effective carousels for yourself or your clients.

What Is an Instagram Carousel Post?

A carousel post allows you to include up to 10 images or videos in a single post. So instead of posting five themed photos individually and creating clutter or overwhelming followers with too many posts at once, you can combine them in a single post. Viewers can swipe through to see all of the images or videos.

The ability to post multiple images together allows greater creative freedom. While carousels can be used to share photos, many brands, influencers, and marketers use carousel posts to share text-based content visually. These posts can function like mini blog posts, but with more design involved.

If you follow Vecteezy on Instagram, you know we publish a lot of carousels. They’re ideal for sharing tips, creating mini-tutorials, inspiring followers, and providing the occasional dose of humor. You’ll see an example of one of our carousels below. Users can swipe through to read each step of the tutorial.


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A post shared by Vecteezy – Graphic Design (@vecteezy)

As designers, we love carousels because they allow us to create something special and unique that wouldn’t be possible with a single image.

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Carousel Dimensions and Specs

Instagram offers a few different options for carousels. They can be vertical (portrait), horizontal (landscape), or square. However, all of the images and videos in the carousel must have the same dimensions. The recommended dimensions are:

  • Vertical: 1080 px by 1350 px
  • Horizontal: 1080 px by 566 px
  • Square: 1080 px by 1080 px

Looking for visual elements to use in your Instagram carousels? Browse our selection of free vectors and free photos that will make your design process easier.

Tips for Designing Effect Carousel Images

If you’re looking to use carousels to tell a story, share tips, or provide information to your followers, here are some practical tips to follow when designing the images for your carousels.

1. Choose Your Concept or Theme

It’s critical that your carousel has an overall concept or purpose, rather than simply posting multiple images that only loosely correspond to one another. Viewers need a compelling reason to stay engaged and keep swiping through your carousel. Creating a solid concept is the most effective way to encourage viewers to stay engaged, regardless of whether you’re using the carousel to tell a story, share tips, inspire, or provide humor.

2. Decide How Many Slides Will Be Included

Since you’re limited to 10 images or slides in the carousel, you’ll want to think about how many slides to include before you start designing or laying out out the text. Essentially, you’ll outline your carousel and determine the content to include on each slide, then go ahead and create the designs.

In some cases, you may need to cut it down so everything fits on 10 slides. Remember that you’ll have an intro or cover slide, and you’ll probably also want an end slide with a call to action. So that leaves no more than eight slides for content.

3. Set Up Your Canvas

Carousels often overlap from one slide to the next. For example, the rocket in the embedded post below overlaps from the first slide to the second slide.


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A post shared by Vecteezy – Graphic Design (@vecteezy)

Overlapping can be helpful for subtly encouraging users to swipe and see the following image, and it also adds some visual interest to the design.

When you’re designing, you can use guides in Photoshop, Figma, or another program to separate the slides and then slice the design into different images once it’s complete. The guides make it easy to use overlapping elements in your design.

Canvas for Instagram Carousel Design

4. Grab Viewers’ Attention With the First Image

The first image of your carousel is critical because it’s what users will see as they’re scrolling through their feed. To have an impact, your image will need to capture viewers’ interest and encourage them to swipe through the carousel. If your first image is dull or doesn’t capture attention and interest, your post will not get the engagement you’re after.

  • Use intriguing headlines – Use text in your designs to capture attention and make viewers want to swipe through the carousel.
  • Create curiosity – Whether through text or images (or both), use the first image to create interest, and more users will swipe.
  • Hint at something surprising or shocking – Use the text on your first image to indicate something unexpected that will be revealed later in the carousel.
  • Use numbers – Numbers in headlines can be highly effective for capturing interest.
  • Start with a video – Videos may attract more attention than still photos as users scroll through the feed.

The carousel embedded below uses an image and text to create intrigue and curiosity. The image of the woman indicates shock or a surprising result, and if you’re a graphic designer, it’s hard to resist swiping through to see which five logos are featured.


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A post shared by Vecteezy – Graphic Design (@vecteezy)

5. Include Calls to Action

One of the most effective ways to increase engagement is to tell users what you want them to do. Use the text on your slides and the post’s caption and tell viewers to swipe, follow you, leave a comment, or take some other specific action.

Every Vecteezy carousel includes a few calls to action on the final slide, and we also work CTAs into the captions as much as possible. The last slide is an ideal place for your CTA because it prompts the viewer on what they should do next after they’ve completed the carousel.

Call to Action - Last Slide of Instagram Carousel

6. Develop a Consistent Style

Although there are infinite approaches you could take when designing your Instagram carousels, it’s best to develop and use a consistent style. There are several benefits to using a consistent style, including:

  • Your feed will look better and more professional when someone views your profile.
  • You’ll have more accurate control over your brand’s image.
  • Followers will learn to recognize your style, and your new posts will stand out in the feed.
  • Designing new images is faster and easier.

If you view Vecteezy’s profile, you’ll see that we use a consistent style with all of our carousels. We rotate colors to incorporate variety, but the colors repeat, and the basic design style (including fonts) stays the same.

Consistent Style with Instagram Carousel Design

7. Text Should Be Easy to Read

Instagram users must be able to quickly and easily read the text on your images. Although you may be designing the image on a large desktop monitor, keep in mind that most Instagram users will be scrolling through the feed on their phones. Here are a few ways to improve the readability of your text:

  • Font sizes should be large enough to be easily read on a smartphone.
  • Ensure that there’s adequate contrast between text and background colors.
  • Don’t use too much text on a slide. Less is more.


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A post shared by Vecteezy – Graphic Design (@vecteezy)

8. Create (and Re-Use) Templates

You can drastically speed up your design process and easily maintain a consistent style using templates for your carousel slides. Whenever you create a new carousel, all you’ll need to do is update the template with the new text and images. Thus, using templates saves a lot of time compared to creating each carousel from scratch.


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A post shared by Vecteezy – Graphic Design (@vecteezy)

How to Create a Carousel Post

Once you have the images for your carousel designed, you’re ready to create the post. Let’s take a look at the step-by-step details for how to create your carousel post on Instagram:

  • Tap “Add Post”
  • Select “Multiple-Image Post”
  • Select your images in the order you’d like them to be posted (max of 10 images)
  • Tap “Next”
  • Preview the images, and when you’re satisfied, tap “Next”
  • Add your caption and hashtags
  • Tap “Share” and your post will be published


Now that you know the basics of how to design effective Instagram carousels, it’s time to create your own! Follow these easy steps, and you can increase engagement while also boosting the quality of your posts. Carousels can be effective in many different niches, so be sure to give them a try.

Lead image by javiindy911651.