If you want to make your Instagram story highlights stand out and keep your feed on-brand and aesthetically beautiful, use custom story covers.
Instagram story highlights appear under your bio. They are a fantastic way of keeping your story content in front of your audience and also collating the information you share in stories, into different topics.
For example, let’s pretend you’re a creative blogger. You could have separate highlights for:
Latest blog posts
Behind the scenes snippets
Your portfolio of work
Each highlight can have it’s own cover.
The good news is, now (unlike days of old), you don’t have to post your custom cover to your Instagram story first. You can choose it directly from your camera roll.
I’m often asked in my Instagram workshops how I add these covers, so here’s a quick tutorial.
How to Create Custom Covers for Instagram Highlights
There are tools such as Canva with ready made icons that you can use. Or an app such as Wordswag which will enable you to create really nice text based story highlight covers.
However I like to go completely custom and create mine in Photoshop.
Jump to Step 4 if you already have your covers and just want to upload them to Instagram.
Step 1: File Size
The image size for Instagram stories is 1080 pixels x 1920 pixels or importantly, a 9:16 ratio.
Step 2: Add Icons
In Photoshop, I created one file and have different icons and backgrounds on different layers.
I use vector illustrations that can easily be resized without loss of quality. However PNG files with a transparent background are also perfectly suitable.
If you can’t create your own vectors or PNG images, Adobe Stock, Creative Market, Envato Elements and The Noun Project have some really good graphic icon resources. Note: they aren’t free. However I must say, I’m happy to pay for resources because I’m less likely to see the same icons being used elsewhere!
Step 3: Create a Set & Save
I use the ‘Save For Web’ option in Photoshop and save my covers as JPEGs to Dropbox, which I have connected to my phone.
Noteworthy tip: When designing your custom story highlight covers, make sure they work as a set. In Photoshop I sit the files next to each other to make sure all of the icons are similar sizes, the colour palette is on-brand and the set feels cohesive.
Step 4: Download your new covers to your phone
Time to grab your phone. Once your new Instagram story highlight covers are on your mobile device’s camera roll, you can upload them to Instagram.
Step 5: Go to your Instagram profile page
Click and hold the highlight with the cover you want to change. A menu will appear.
Step 6: Select Edit Highlight
Step 7: Click the ‘Edit Cover’ text
Step 8: Click the camera roll icon
Step 9: Select the custom cover you have just saved from your camera roll
You can reposition and zoom into the image, but if you have set up your covers cohesively in your app or editing software, you shouldn’t need to do this.
Click done until you are taken back to your profile. Voila!
If you found this useful, tag me on Instagram @georgiestclair so I can see your custom Instagram highlight covers. I’d love to see them.
Or if you are looking for more Instagram advice? Read this simple no nonsense guide to using Instagram hashtags. More tutorials coming soon !