How to Create Beautiful Instagram Highlight Covers

Last Updated on May 5th, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Create beautiful Instagram Highlight Covers

Instagram Highlight covers are a perfect way to impress your audiences at first. In your Instagram profile, you can find Instagram Highlight covers are right below the bio section. They provide audiences with a polished look for your Instagram Highlights and draw attention to your best Instagram Story content.

Covers are a simple win for any brand that banks on aesthetics. (And on Instagram, that’s everybody.)

The good news is that even in case you don’t have a graphic design department in your back pocket, they’re easy to make.

3 instagram profile pages: Cult Gala, Cosrx, Porter

In this article we’ll provide you with all the steps to create your own Instagram highlight covers.

However, just like Rupi Kaur says, every journey begins with a single step. So let’s begin with the basics.

The way to create an Instagram highlight

  1. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the steps to create your own Instagram highlight covers.

    However, just like Rupi Kaur says, every journey begins with a single step. So let’s begin with the basics.

    The way to create an Instagram highlight

    Firstly, create highlights to maintain your best Story content at the top of your Instagram profile permanently.

    1. Tap Highlight in the bottom right corner in your Story
    2. Select the Highlight you want to add your Story too.

    Instagram story of a dog with a heart symbol above it. Dialog below shows "Add to highlights"

3. Another way is to choose New to create a new Highlight and write its name. Then tap Add

Naming a new Highlight in Instagram: Photo is of a dog smiling at the camera and highlight's name is "Houndstooth." Big blue button that says "Add" at the bottom.

The way to create a new Instagram highlight from your profile

Alternately, maybe you have an idea for a whole new highlight and need to add some different Stories at once.

Here is a step-by-step guide to creating a new Highlight form your Instagram profile:

  1. Choose the +New button on your profile (the big plus sign).

Instagram profile of the dog Princess Rosie highlighting the New + button

3. Choose the Stories you need to add to your new Highlight.

4. Tap Next and name your new Highlight.

5. Select your Highlight cover, and tap Done.

Don’t have a highlight cover yet? Read on.

The way to create an Instagram highlight cover

Secondly, we will explore how to create an Instagram highlight cover.

Instagram will allow you to use any image you want for your highlight covers. However, your brand deserves better than just ‘any image.’

This space is prime real estate for converting lookie-loos to followers: you need a vibe.

Of course, in case you’re crunched for time, apps like Canva Stories or Adobe Spark have pre-made covers that you can customize and use.

But for those of you who need full artistic freedom over your Instagram brand, these steps will show you the way to build an Instagram highlight cover from scratch (or almost-scratch). Don’t worry in case your Photoshop skills are rusty, we’ll be using Canva’s simple, free web tool.

  1. Create a free account on com or login to it in case you have an account.
  2. Create a new image that has a suitable size for Stories.
  • Click Create a design and then custom dimensions to enter the suitable size.
  • You need your cover’s dimensions to be 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels tall.

Canva dashboard highlight "Create a design" and "Custom dimensions" buttons on the left-hand side menu









3. Download free icon set from Hootsuit

Optimize your profile and set your brand apart from the competition.

4. Unzip the file and select your favorites. (You should use them with or without our professionally designed backgrounds.)

dropping and dragging the icon files into photoshop

5. Upload your icon to Canva

  • Click Upload an image or video and select your preferred .png file. Alternately, you can drag and drop. (One at a time, tiger.)
    Uploading an image to Canva

Pro tip: in case you can’t see your icon on your canvas after you’ve uploaded it, don’t worry: it’s most likely because the icon is white lines on a transparent background. We’ll fix this in the next step.

Dragging icon onto Canva template

6. Create your background

  • Click Bkground on the left sidebar. You may select a color or one of Canva’s free images. (Here your icon will show up, depending on the background.)

Instagram highlight cover in Canva dashboard with a free "roses" background provided by the tool

7. Make as many highlight covers as you need

  • Choose Add a new page then you can replicate the background. Continue to upload another icon for each new page.

Canva dashboard: on the right is a Story highlight with roses background and suitcase icon, on the left is 3 more icons ready to go

Pro tip: You need some variation, however not too much, so you should use filters on your background images to change them up a bit.

4 Instagram Story highlight covers in the Canva dashboard with varying shades of rose backgrounds

8. Download your highlight covers from Canva

  • Click Publish, then Download.

Select a type fro your file (PNG or JPG are both fine). Then click the Download button.
highlighting the "publish" and "download" buttons on Canva (top right and bottom right respectively)

  • Your covers might be downloaded as a zip file to your hard drive. Unzip the file and now, you can transfer them to your phone via email, or Airdrop, or your other ways.

Pro tip: Now is a good time to ensure your Instagram account has your Story archive enabled. That is essential if you wish to return and see your old Stories without downloading them to your phone.

9. Edit your existing highlights to add your new covers

  • You no longer have to add an image to your Story (the place all your followers will have to swipe past it) to make it a highlight cover. Instead, you may just edit the highlight directly:
  • Go to your Instagram profile.
  • Tap the highlight whose cover you’d like to change.
  • Tap More in the bottom right corner.
  • Choose Edit Highlight.
  • Choose Edit Cover.
  • Select the image icon to access your phone’s photo library.
  • Select your beautiful cover.
  • Tap Done (actually, tap it three times.)

Voila! Your on-brand Instagram highlight covers are now gracing your profile and unifying your look.

Princess Rosie's Instagram profile with new Instagram highlight covers

5 ideas for using Instagram highlight covers and icons

Now that you know the simple way to make your unique highlight covers, we’ve got some time-saving tips to make them as effective as possible.

First, show the essence of your brand’s aesthetic

Your brand has its unique colors, font, capitalization, and even some favorite emojis. Your highlight covers are the right place to show off your brand identity through these things.

That said, remember that less is more. These little portholes are pretty small, after all. And clarity is key.

Second, don’t be afraid to experiment

Your Instagram highlights don’t need to do all the things. But they can do one thing very effectively.

For example, Red Bull’s highlights used to be fairly conventional (e.g., Events, Projects, Video, etc.) However now they give each of their athletes their highlight. Take a look! They just use faces, names, and emojis. Intriguing.

Create Beautiful Instagram Highlight Covers

Meanwhile, the New York Times takes Stories literally. They populate their highlights with exhaustive yet readable primers on complicated political subjects. Moreover, they create fun, snackable Stories about appealing subjects.

Create Beautiful Instagram Highlight Covers

Either way, their cover style is completely consistent, which helps make the wide reach of their topics more manageable.

Third, be constant in your organization

There are completely no rules in terms of organizing your Instagram highlights.

However, some brands organize their highlights like they would their website (e.g., About, Team, FAQ). But some brands manage by collection or product (e.g., Winter ’20, New Arrivals, Makeup Line).

I’m here to let you know that however you choose to organize, keep in mind to approach it from your audience’s perspective.

In other words: if they know what they’re going to see, they’re more likely to tap.

Fourth, highlight the Stories that matter most

Ask yourself what’s most essential to your audience. What are they here to see? This season’s collection? Today’s schedule? Or something useful for the longer-term, like, for example, the way to pair your flagship earbuds?

For an instant, The Met prioritizes potential guests. It shows a helpful guide to this week’s exhibitions at the top of its highlight reel.

Create Beautiful Instagram Highlight Covers

Finally, Convert your audience to customers

With the best covers, you may introduce new eyes to your greatest shoppable Stories and swipe-up content (in case you have an Instagram for the business profile with more than 10,000 followers).

For more recommendations on selling products using your Instagram Stories, take a look at our complete guide to Instagram shopping.


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