My Advice: Growth tips for Instagram

My Advice By Andrea McArthur

Three prolific Instagrammers share their tried and tested tips for growing your brand on Instagram…

Petrina Turner, Designer. Stylist. Maker. Dreamer. Do-er. Petrina Turner Design // Instagram @petrinaturnerdesign // Followers 21.7k

Petrina Turner

I don’t think it’s any secret amongst those who know me that I love Instagram. As a designer, stylist and maker I am definitely a visual person and Instagram is the perfect medium for me to use as a visual diary to capture inspiration and beauty on a daily basis. And if you really look there is beauty everywhere.

My biggest piece of advice to anyone wanting to grow their network on Instagram is to be authentic. I post about the things that speak to me, and share the things I love. I never really set out to build a profile on Instagram, I just wanted to capture the beauty and my following happened quite organically. As a small business owner I found it a place of incredible inspiration, a place where at any time of the day or night I was connecting with like minds and creative souls. And my tribe grew… and grew… and grew.

I don’t really use it as a marketing tool by design. I think that by sharing what I see, and how I see it, it gives people an insight into how I work and my style. I really love my work as a designer so of course I am often sharing my work, or snippets of it. So I guess in that sense my Instagram account is an extension of my portfolio. I think what I’m really doing is taking people on my journey with me, and that resonates.

And I like the interaction with people that Instagram gives me. More than the number of followers what has really been the greatest gift from Instagram are the genuine connections I have made through it. It has led to inspiration, collaboration, PR and most importantly wonderful friendships. I try as much as possible to respond to the comments left on my images. With the amount I sometimes get I don’t always manage to respond to every single one, but I can assure you that I read and appreciate them all.

So find your true voice and share it. People will listen if it comes from your heart.

Jessica Viscarde, Creative Director Eclectic Creative // Instagram @jess_eclecticcreative// Followers 17.7k

Jessica Viscarde

Tell your story I have always treated instagram as a visual diary and a story-telling tool that has documented my own work and a means of engaging with other likeminded individuals. I really believe that there is a market out there for absolutely anything and everything; you just need to find your people. And you find your people by simply just being yourself. Instagram is a powerful platform for reflecting your style, establishing your unique identity and showing off your creative flair. Everyone has a story that needs to be shared as we all have something to offer and can all learn something from it, so make sure you tell your own story through your visuals.

I started my own hashtag #pocketofmyhome long before anyone was really using them as a means of creating communities or connecting with others. I wanted a place where people could go and celebrate their own homes, not just the ones found in glossy magazines. I wanted to celebrate real homes with personality and create a little space for everyone to go and share their home pictures. Without much promotion at all or having to annoy people with too many competition spam, #pocketofmyhome now boasts close to 25K images from users all over the world! I love hearing that people have connected and become friends through the tag – what a fabulous community!

Be consistent Consistency is the magical, glittery goodness that in my opinion binds everything together and creates a visually stimulating and effective instagram. Consistency can come from using a similar theme/filter or colour way through your imagery, only sharing images from a particular genre (such as travel, interiors, food etc) or working out a mixture of everything but delivered in a consistent way, maybe posting time or your written style.

Consistency gives your followers a feeling of familiarity and builds trust and assures them the style of imagery they will see when they scroll down to your feed. My imagery is all mine, created by myself and our contributors and includes behind the scenes shots, images of my own home and even features my little rescue cat, Peg… as I want to tell my story and part of that is I love cats!

Quality + crediting Instagram is visual so make sure your images are of excellent quality so people actually want to see them and like them. This means no pixelation or blurred images, no selfies in the bathroom or toilet and if you are using apps to edit or reframe your images, pay the extra couple of bucks to have their ads or text removed! I also prefer to share my own work so my followers can get an authentic sense of the work I can create and deliver and who I see whom I collaborate with… In the rare occasion I regram an image, I make sure I credit where credit is due. Make sure you mention the account, not just tag them in (as so many people don’t see the tags) and ensure the credit/mention is in the first line of your message. And don’t forget to credit the photographers, they always get missed out. Just do the right thing and share the love… correctly!

Engage with your followers Lastly, engage with your followers, talk to them, and get to know them, let them get to know you. You’d be surprised whom you meet on instagram and can connect with. I have an amazing amount of support and have spoken with so many gorgeous people all just doing their own thing. Many of my collaborations have come from connections made on instagram so talk to people; you never know where it may lead.

Madeleine Dore, Founder and editor of Extraordinary Routines // Instagram @extraordinary_routines // Followers 6,953

Madeleine Dore

The nature of my interview project Extraordinary Routines has allowed my Instagram network to grow quite quickly. While a complete bonus, it’s helped to have interviewees with large followings share snippets of the interview and praise the project on their profile.

That said, people are discerning and won’t necessarily follow you on Instagram simply because someone has shared your work. You need to capture their attention when they click through to your profile – make it is as easy as possible for them to identify what you are about, and determine if your aesthetic is for them. From the beginning, I tried to keep the overall look of my feed consistent, quirky, and colourful. My profile description and icon clearly communicate my focus on creative’s routines, a topic that seems to create intrigue. Some Instagrammers who do this well include @oakandink, @chiliphilly and @socalitybarbie.

For me, the offline network I have grown through Instagram has been more fulfilling than seeing the number of followers grow. I was recently out to dinner and I looked at the friendly faces at the table and realised I had met them all through Instagram. I’ve made some beautiful friendships, and it’s as simple as telling people you admire their work, and once you have built some rapport, suggest coffee or brunch. I’ve even nabbed some dates that way! But romance aside, my favourite social media tip is to be social!

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Thank you ladies for providing your tried and tested tips for growing your brand on Instagram. Title image by Eclectic Creative (@jess_eclecticcreative) from Instagram.

Andrea McArthur ( has a passion for all things visual and works as an Art Director and Freelance Designer based in Brisbane. Design is her true love and she goes weak at the knees over strategic branding. You’ll find her sharing on Instagram @andyjanemc.

Interview: Julia Denes of Woodfolk

By Andrea McArthur Woodfolk Accessories

For my final interview of 2013, I am delighted to reveal the story behind a creative new accessories label, Woodfolk.

I discovered Woodfolk at the Finders Keepers Market held recently in Sydney, but it was not long before this that Woodfolk was officially launched at Life Instyle Melbourne. Despite its infancy, word of this stylish label is certainly spreading fast.

Julia Denes is the founder and jewellery designer behind Woodfolk. Julia created the label as a break from the fast moving modern world in which we live, with the aim to bring you down to earth. Woodfolk achieves this through simple design, a gentle colour palette and by using only natural materials and fabric.

All Woodfolk products are Australian designed and proudly made by Nepali artisans, throughout local and remote areas of Nepal. The Nepali artisans use their master skills to create beautiful and quality accessories through traditional carving, natural dying, knitting and weaving techniques.

Julia Denes

What led you down your current path?

I originally studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts at COFA majoring in Photography, before taking off around the world on a two-year travel adventure that took me to 21 different countries. After spending the last six months of my trip in Central America stringing seeds and shells on banana tree vines, I knew jewellery was my calling.

When I got home I straight away enrolled at Enmore Design Centre, got myself an apprenticeship and began learning to hand-make fine jewellery. Over the years I worked for some of Sydney’s most prominent jewellers both designing and making. In 2009 I started my first business Julia Denes Jewellery that specialised in custom one-off pieces.

Starting Woodfolk felt like a very natural progression. The idea was born after feeling the need to work with more earthy materials and all things natural, combined with my love of travel. I worked on the business for about a year before I launched it at Life Instyle Melbourne a few months ago. It’s got such heart to it, I absolutely love working on it and love the response I’ve been getting from stores and customers.

Who do you admire in Australian accessories design?

I have a lot of admiration for natural, authentic, down to earth businesses like Elk, Nancybird and Ink and Spindle, just to name a few. I find it very inspiring the way they run their businesses. I also love and appreciate all the (much needed) real life, motivational work Clare Bowditch is doing.

What has been your greatest career achievement to-date?

Starting my new business Woodfolk has been my greatest and proudest achievement so far. One of the obstacles I faced in the earlier stages was finding the right people to work with overseas to make the wooden components of my jewellery. I knew I could have gone somewhere like China or India and work with a factory, however that seemed to defeat the purpose of my business. So after lots of research and time spent in Nepal, I found the most lovely, talented family to work with and I’m so happy to be supporting them. I already have my eyes set on a couple of other countries for new product ranges as well.


Describe a typical day at work…

I don’t really have a typical day as I’m running two businesses at the moment and wearing many hats. However, mornings generally start with emails and lots of cups of tea. Days can be filled with stringing and finishing all the wood jewellery; making the ceramic jewellery; getting Woodfolk orders ready and sent; preparing for different design markets and trade shows; liaising with stockists and contacting new stores; creating custom jewellery pieces; developing new ideas to build on the Woodfolk range; all the usual business stuff; and the list goes on. I do like to finish my day with some yoga, pilates or a walk to clear my head – otherwise I start to become a crazy person!

What future plans do you have for Woodfolk?

I have a lot of plans for Woodfolk and see a lot of potential. I’m planning to expand the jewellery line to include more ceramic pieces which have had a great response. A new line of natural style market bags and hand-dyed cotton scarves are already in progress, and I’m considering including some homewares to the range for next year. I’m in no rush though, so I’ll let the nature of this business take its course rather than try and do everything at once.


5 Questions in 5 minutes – Getting Personal:

Studio Sounds, what's playing?

Always something chilled like Ray LaMontagne or Birdy.

What are you currently reading?

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

What are you looking forward to?

My upcoming (and much needed) holiday to Vietnam with my husband.

Can you share your go to resource for inspiration?

Blogs like The Design Files, Design Sponge, Books Kinokuniya on George St in Sydney (such a great book store) and I’m a total Pinterest addict (find my page at

What is your local area's best kept secret?

There aren't many secrets left unfortunately in Sydney but I can share some favourite spots: Bondi Beach Farmer’s Markets every Saturday; Breakfast at Bread and Circus in Alexandria; and afternoon/evening walks in Centennial Park.


If you've fallen in love with Woodfolk like I have, enquiries can be directed via Julia's website, Facebook or follow her on her blog.

Andrea McArthur has a passion for all things visual and works as a freelance Graphic Designer. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. You'll find her sharing design related musings via @andyjane_mc

Interview: Carla Hackett

By Andrea McArthur Carla Hackett

Carla Hackett has taken her love of type and turned it into a blossoming boutique lettering and design studio called Foxglove Lettering. Foxglove is based in Melbourne at Little Gold Studios, a shared creative space where Carla hand-crafts lettering for a range of clients in creative industries, including fashion, music, food, branding, retail, hospitality, magazines, books, weddings and conferences. Carla established Foxglove Lettering with the aim of bringing a warm, unique, human element to a world dominated by digital fonts and design.


What led you down your current path?

After studying graphic design at university and six years’ working at some of Sydney’s top agencies, I escaped to Berlin to soak up some international inspiration. It was a fantastic city to be based in as the living expenses are a lot lower than Australia and there is lots going on there creatively. Not to mention being on the doorstep of Europe for travel fun times!

I went along to a two-day hand lettering workshop with Ken Barber from House Industries. From that moment I was completely hooked! It was the perfect mix of illustration and typography that really appealed to me. After the workshop, I began feverishly lettering a bunch of personal work. I had a side project called Deutsch Doodles where I illustrated funny German words and it lead to a commission where I illustrated Berlin Bingo, a hipster guide to Berlin.

Once I’d had my ‘Bowie years,’ I decided to move to lovely Melbourne at the end of 2012. I’d always wanted to live here and it really was the best decision as I’ve found there is a great supportive community of creative business owners here. I decided to focus on my lettering and move into Little Gold Studios and start Foxglove Lettering in March this year. It’s been a journey to really take a step back and hit a reset button before finding what I am really passionate about.

Since then it’s been gaining momentum. I had a little boost of inspiration in March, winning a scholarship to go to Clare Bowditch’s Big Hearted Business Conference. Clare saw my chalkboard in my video and asked me to be the first BHB Inspiration Bomb artist. It was that fantastic exposure and going to the conference that really solidified in my mind that I was on the right path to doing what I love and making a living.


Who do you admire in the industry?

There are some amazing letterers who inspire me greatly. They’ve managed to carve a niche career with this specialty skill. Jessica Hische, Erik Marinovich, Mary Kate McDevitt, Jon Contino and Dana Tanamachi. And locally Gemma O’Brien, Dave Foster and Luke Lucas are producing phenomenal work. My studio buddies at Little Gold inspire me everyday with their energy and passion for their creative businesses. It’s amazing to be around.

Do you think hand-lettering is having a resurgence? Why?

Definitely! I think there is a real yearning for hand-crafted things in this digital age. The nostalgia and ephemeral nature of chalk has its own appeal nowadays. My mentor is a former ‘Ticket Writer’. She made a career out of hand lettering signage for department stores in the 1950s and 1960’s. The sign writing courses have cut most of the hand painting part of the course - it’s all done on the computer. I want to learn this skill so that it can live on!

Can you talk about the difference between hand-lettering and other type-related terms?

By definition, lettering is drawing. Lettering is closer friends with illustration than typography. Let’s also just clear up that calligraphy is writing and typography is a predictable and repeatable system of letters - a typeface.

What has been your most favourite project in recent years?

Earlier this year I got to work with my great friend Irena Macri from Eat Drink Paleo who runs Australia’s most popular paleo recipe site. Irena commissioned me to art direct, letter and illustrate the book's cover, chapter introductions and feature pages. All images were chalked by hand and photographed alongside the ingredients and prepared dishes. The best part was getting to eat all of the healthy delicious food once it was photographed!

Eat Drink Paleo

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I ride my bike to my studio in Brunswick where I’ll make my Aeropress coffee. Just this short bike ride and sitting down at my desk is a trigger to switch into creative mode. I try to do most of my creative work first up when I have energy and do some business/admin stuff later in the day. My days could be quite varied, some days I could be out on an on-site chalk job, some days I could be lettering on paper or lettering on my chalkboard, or lettering with paint and a brush! It depends on the project. But as long as I have picked up a drawing instrument everyday, I have practiced my craft so I can get better and learn. There’s also emails and business stuff to stay on top of and posting behind the scenes pictures to Instagram and Facebook!

What future plans do you have for your lettering business?

I really want to keep honing my craft and practicing lettering in all forms. This will mean making time for personal work amongst client work. I feel some great momentum happening, and I’m super excited for more great opportunities for collaborating with interesting brands and Creative Directors on some super fun projects. I’m also learning the ways of combining creativity and business so that I can continue to make a living doing what I love.

I’m working on producing a small range of hand lettered greeting cards as a side-product with my soon to be letterpress printing skills. I eventually would like to run workshops to teach people the process of lettering. I’ve had a few enquiries already!

Wedding Stationery

5 Questions in 5 minutes – Getting Personal:

Studio Sounds, what's playing?

We have rdio set up on a mini iPad in the studio so everyone can control the music from their computer so we always listening to our collection on random rotation. But in particular we’ve been loving the new Snakadaktal - Sleep in the Water. We also love 60’s girl band ditties!

What are you currently reading?

Manage Your Day-to-Day by 99U. It has some fantastic interviews with people like Seth Godin and Stephan Sagmeister on how they manage to do great creative work in these times of many distractions.

What are you looking forward to?

I am super excited to be doing a letterpress workshop with Amy from St Gertrude Design. Amy is going to teach a few designers how to use her 100 year-old press ‘Gordon’ (who moved in Little Gold Studios two months ago) so that eventually we can print our own designs. This is an inaugural workshop and will be open to other designers in the future.

I’m also looking forward to getting back to nature in late December down in Tasmania. We’ll be camping at Freycinet National Park with some hiking, relaxing, sampling the local wine and food, and also get over to the amazing Mona for some art inspiration.

Can you share your go to resource for inspiration?

I have some fantastic lettering books from Louise Fili - ‘Scripts’ and ‘Vintage Type and Graphics’ full of her personal collection of vintage lettering and my 1959 Photo Lettering Catalogue full of original hand-lettered typefaces that Don Draper would have used!

I love seeing behind the scenes work of other letterers and artists on Instagram. On the web, I follow Friends of Type and Type Everything blog amongst others. But there is lettering and type all around us everyday that I find really inspiring.

What is your local areas best kept secret?

It’s probably not so secret with the Brunswick hipsters, but when I found Dejour Jeans I was so excited! $50 jeans in lots of colours with free tailoring? Yes please! I must also mention Los Hermanos for great Mexican food and the cute little Save Yourself designer boutique in Sparta Place that sells my favourite Lime Crime lipsticks.


After reading all of this type and lettering goodness I'm inspired to pull out the brush pens and chalk! If you would like to contact Carla please see all her details below.

Carla Hackett / Foxglove Lettering Website: Email: Instagram: @carlahackett Twitter: @canarycarla Facebook: /carla.hackett.lettering

Andrea McArthur has a passion for all things visual. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. Andrea works as a freelance graphic designer in Brisbane by day and lectures in graphic design by night. You will find her sharing design related goodness via @andyjane_mc

Bricks and Mortar: Saint Gertrude Design & Letterpress

By Catherine Harvey There is something intrinsically beautiful about letterpress that everyone seems to love. Perhaps it's the tactile nature created from the combination of ink on a soft cotton stock. Or maybe it's the knowledge that letterpress is a centuries old art form that is mastered by so few. Whatever the reason, there has definitely been a huge increase in the amount of letterpressed paper products being produced over the last few years.

As a designer, I notice the reactions of clients when they feel something that has been letterpressed and it's generally always the same - moving their fingers over the print whilst 'oohing' and 'aahing'. It is this tactile quality that surpasses many other printing techniques as a favourite of mine. And it seems I am definitely not alone. Amy Constable also shares this love and has taught herself all about this impeccable artistry over a number of years while running her business Saint Gertrude Design & Letterpress.

Photo - Catherine Harvey

Photo - Catherine Harvey

At a time when there wasn't a great deal of information on this centuries-old printing technique, Amy bought herself a 800kg letterpress (affectionately known as Gordon) and began the process of educating herself on the history of letterpress and the knowledge required to actually be able to use the press. Now let me tell you about Gordon… the best word to describe him is impressive. He commands attention and respect from the moment you see him - maybe this is primarily due to his large size or perhaps the fact that he's a very good looking press! The other thing about Gordon is that he is quite daunting and after watching Amy show me how he works, I have a new found appreciation for the skills required to operate a letterpress machine. It is indeed manual labour that requires a lot of love, time and effort. But the results you can achieve are clearly worth this effort.

Photo - Catherine Harvey

Amy started Saint Gertrude Design and Letterpress in 2009 and since that time has primarily been involved in creating beautiful wedding stationery. From save-the-date cards to custom designed invites, Amy knows how to achieve the perfect stationery for your big day. In addition to this, Amy has also recently created her own retail collection that includes cards and prints inspired by children's stories.

It all seems to be happening for Amy - including possibly holding some Letterpress Workshops in the future at her new studio.

Amy's new range of prints. Photo - Catherine Harvey

Photo - Catherine Harvey

And this isn't just any studio. Amy and her press now reside in Little Gold Studios (how good is this name!?) in Brunswick. The studio is filled with natural light, lots of plants and is the ideal environment for a creative to thrive. The space is shared by like-minded creatives from a range of other disciplines and I was instantly impressed with how the space had been so beautifully decorated. Let's just say I wanted to leave my job and move in, it was that good.

Photo - Catherine Harvey

My afternoon with Amy (and Gordon) was a pleasure and I can only recommend that if you get a chance to attend one of Amy's letterpress workshops, then do. It will be memorable, inspiring and, like Gordon himself, impressive.

Saint Gertrude Design & Letterpress Little Gold Studios 13 Little Gold Street, Brunswick, Victoria 3056 Email:

All photos by Catherine Harvey.


Catherine Harvey lives and breathes design. Working at one of Melbourne’s top studio’s, she is rarely ever away from her computer. She loves to keep up to date with the design industry in a global and local context and follows too many blogs to count! You can follow her findings here.