Reverse Engineer – Anthropologie

This week we were asked to reverse engineer a social media brand that designs their content well on social media platforms. I chose Anthropologie because I have followed this brand on Instagram for a few years now and really like the content that they post. I will explain some of the reasons why in this post.

What are the brand design strengths?

Anthropologie has done a wonderful job of posting content that has a similar style. That style is mostly warm, soft, feminine colors with bold colors as the focus of the image. During a season, they will often stick to one bold color to feature in each photograph. The things that they post feel more like fashion and photography inspiration than an intrusive advertisement. The brands strength stems from the fact that they draw in a community of travelers, photographers, and designers first instead of enticing people with commercials and advertisements.

What are the brand design weaknesses?

It was difficult for me to determine any weaknesses in the design because the content that they post is very high quality. One thing I did notice however is that it isn’t always easy to see what product they are trying to advertise. Another item will be the main focus or there are sometimes too many items in the photo.

What is the brand trying to accomplish with its design?

I think that the main goal of the content posted by Anthropologie is not just to sell their products but to create an entire lifestyle for the Anthropologie community with their products. They accomplish this sense of community well by selecting posts from customers that are tasteful and match the style of the brand, then repost it on the Anthropologie Instagram page.

How has the design used…


Although many of the photographs appear to be natural and in the moment, a lot of the photos have an intentional composition. This one shows movement by her pretending to blow out the candles. And the flames show movement as well. This is totally natural, right?


While Anthropologie often breaks the rules, there are often photos that show the fundamentals or simplicity of a photo. This photo is centered and shows most of her body.


As I mentioned earlier, one of this brand’s strengths is that they will often use a highlight color, according to the season, to contrast the other softer colors. This winter’s color is a bright red-orange color and is featured in several of their Instagram images.


This brand creates lines sometimes by lining up similar items or posing the body in certain ways to create a line extension. This is also shown in the previous example where the legs show a horizontal line.


This example of layout shows how you can lay items out diagonally rather than just vertically or horizontally.

Golden Section:

This layout is sometimes difficult to notice but I think this is a pretty good example of “off-centered hierarchical flow” (


Rule of Thirds:

The posts on both Instagram and Facebook pay close attention to using the rule of thirds. The compose the main subject to usually be placed on the right.











What metrics will be used to determine if the brand has been successful?

Likes are the best way on Instagram and Facebook to determine if a specific post from the brand has been successful. To determine if the brand as a whole is successful on Instagram, I think the number of followers determines that success. Anthropologie currently has 3.2 Million followers.








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