create beautiful, branded highlight covers for your featured instagram stories

We've recently decided to make our Instagram Stories a little more of a priority. This 24 hour "reel" gives our followers and clients a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes action here at jgdigital as well as taste of our lives as mompreneurs. And, it's not always as pretty as we make it out to be in our actual Instagram feed.

While our goal with Stories is to be a little more candid, we still wanted to keep things on-brand by creating a few templates to serve as morning introductions and common themes, such as Moodboard Monday and Wisdom Wednesday. 

The only downside of creating this content is that it is only visible for 24 hours. Yup, the very next day - *POOF* - it's gone! Enter Instagram Stories Highlights - a cool new feature that allows you to bookmark content and, literally, highlight it for future viewing. While, you can pretty much include anything as a highlight, it's definitely in your best interest to use them strategically to promote your business, products and services.

Some suggested themes might include:

  • Product Reviews
  • Client Testimonials
  • Blog Posts
  • Service Descriptions
  • Food Menus
  • Special Promotions
  • Photo Galleries

We could go on and on...the options really are endless! But, creating a consistent brand image with custom Highlight Cover graphics will help you and your business come across looking perfectly polished and presentable. While we are huge fans of Photoshop and InDesign, you do not need to be a graphic design guru to whip up a batch of these branded templates. Simple head on over to Canva (it's FREE!!) and follow our step-by-step guide below.

Up Your Instagram Game with Custom Instagram Stories Highlight Covers plus a step-by-step guide to creating a template in Canva - for FREE! by
  1. Go to Canva and click on create a design. 
  2. Click on use custom dimensions
  3. Enter 1080 x 1920 pixels
  4. Click on backgrounds and select a color or background of choice. You can choose from the standard options or add a custom color. You can customize the color by clicking the [+] box. Our go-to hex color is #f2e6e0 - which is a pale blush hue. You can also upload any picture if you want to use a styled background instead of a solid color. 
  5. Click on text then click add heading and slide it to the canvas. Type out the title for your IG Stories graphic. Pick your favorite font and contrasting color. 
  6. Click elements on left-hand side and then click shapes.
  7. Search the icons you want to use for the highlight covers you plan to add to your profile. Our highlight covers are Blog, Portfolio, Testimonials, Services and Freebies, but we have a couple of other ideas up our sleeve. We picked cute simple icons that went with these topics. Remember to have fun, you don't have to be 100% literal with your choices. Drag the icon to the center of the post. Canva helps you align things easily! You can also change the color of the simple images to match your style. We choose black. Try to keep the icons a similar size when adjusting them. We tried to keep our icons at a max of 230px.
  8. We recommend clicking the [+] box to add pages with the same background color. When working with multiple pages, we recommend that you download as .PNG files.

Now that you’ve made pretty Instagram highlight covers to use, it’s time to add them to your Instagram! We saved the graphics to Dropbox, and then saved them to in our iPhone photos. There are multiple ways to transfer graphics from your computer to your phone, but we typically use Dropbox or Google Drive. You can even just simply email the files to yourself, open the message and save the images to your phone.

Unfortunately, for now, the only way to add to your Instagram highlights is by uploading them through your stories, so upload each graphic you plan to use and share them on Your Story. The graphics might come across as kind of random, but you can either alert your followers to your updates or just be okay with the fact that the images will disappear within 24 hours. Now you’re ready to make them your highlight covers.

  1. Click [+] NEW on your Instagram profile page. This should be right under your bio.
  2. All of your posted Instagram stories should come up. Click on a cover graphic and any Instagram story you want to add to that highlight. Be careful to click on them in order!
  3. Click edit cover and align the icon how you want it to show as the cover. Then type in the title and click add in the top right corner.
  4. And, voila! You now have pretty Instagram highlight covers. Just repeat these steps to add all of your topics you want to include on your page.