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How to Create Instagram Story Highlight Covers


If you've been on Instagram lately, you'll know what we're talking about when we say "Instagram Story Highlights".

In the last few months, Instagram has made some changes to their interface - including a feature that allows us to save and categorize our archived Instagram Stories on our profile. You might've even seen some accounts personalizing their covers to create a more cohesive look and feel (which we highly recommend for businesses and freelancers!). 

And the fabulous part about it all? They're super easy to create! We're talking 10 minutes tops!

1. Login to Canva


Canva is by far one of our favorite programs to use for quick & easy graphic design work. If you don't have an account yet, get one ASAP! It's free after all!

Once you're in, the first step is to "Create A Design". Click on the button on the top right corner that says "Custom Dimensions" and use the dimensions 1080 x 1920 px. These are the exact dimensions for Instagram Stories.


2. Pick Your Background Color


This one is simple - pick a background color for your cover photo. Ideally, if you have a color theme to your Instagram photos, you'll choose that color.












3. Pick Your Categories


Depending on what your Instagram Stories are typically about, pick 3-4 categories to start with. Some examples include:

  • ​Travel

  • Health

  • Recipes

  • Favorites

  • Outfits/OOTD

4. Find a Symbol


Once you have your categories finalized, it's time to find your symbols. Find your way to Elements > Illustrations. This is where you'll find a symbol that's relevant to the category. There are lots of options on Canva, so if you know of an object that would be perfect, type it into the search bar at the top. For example, for travel, you would search for an airplane.

Once you find the symbol you want to use, place it onto your image. We recommend resizing and centering it similar to the image below. We recommend bigger over keeping it very small. You'll be able to resize your icon in Instagram, and if you keep it too small, it might show up pixilated in the end.

Pro tip: if you can't find a symbol that you're in love with, you can also Google Image search for one. Just make sure you type in "transparent background" into the search bar and double check to make sure the image you want to use has a grey and white checked background - like this one.









5. Copy Your Image & Repeat


Next, once you're satisfied with the symbol and the overall look of the image, click the two boxes to the right of your image. This will copy the canvas you're currently working on which ultimately allows you to be more consistent in how your images look. Copy the image however many categories you have. For example, if you listed 3 categories, copy the image so you have a total of 3 copies. 


All you have to replace here is the symbol for your other categories! Just repeat the symbols step above. 

6. Export & Import


Finally, all you have to do is export all of your images, transport them to your phone (we typically just text them to ourselves!). 

Now, on your phone, save the images to your camera roll. Then, open Instagram and import all of the images as an Instagram Story (the downside here is that these images will have to remain on your Instagram Story for 24 hours). 

Once they're imported, add the images to their respective Instagram Story highlight and set the icon as your cover photo! Don't be afraid to resize the icons!​

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hi there!

I'm Michelle!

When I'm not snuggling on the couch with an addicting reality TV show or lounging poolside with my laptop, I help ambitious freelancers (like you!) launch their freelance social media management business & achieve their dream life.

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