Share inspiration and keep your Instagram followers engaged with this easy guide to custom Instagram highlights covers.
Instagram highlight covers (a.k.a. Instagram story covers) are those snazzy circles that live under your IG profile, inviting followers (and would-be followers) to check out your brand’s saved stories.
They’re useful for organizing content and giving customers a snapshot of what your business has to offer, whether that’s a product, service, sale, or even a vibe.
Instead of expiring at the 24-hour mark like regular stories, highlights last until you take them down. Given their prime real estate and potential for longevity, you’ll want to make those highlights count. The right story cover will help.
Here, we’ll explore various tips for designing your Instagram highlight covers, sizing, and design tips galore!
Tips for Designing Your Instagram Highlight Covers
If your goal is to get users to watch your highlights—which, duh, why else would you save them?—then you need to entice them with an attractive highlight cover.
1. Stick to a Look
Aesthetics are everything on Instagram, and in order to establish a strong aesthetic, you have to be consistent.
Rather than use, say, a photo for one cover, an illustration for another, and an icon for the next, stick to the same style across your Instagram story covers.
Doing so will make your collection easier to follow and more visually appealing.
2. Be Clear and Precise
Each highlight cover has only a small viewing window, so it’s essential to make the designs clear and easy to read.
Icons and other simple designs are ideal for highlight covers because they’re easy to see at even the smallest sizes.
3. Organize Your Highlights
It’s up to you how many highlight covers you want to include on your IG page. Some accounts feature only a handful, while others have upwards of 10.
The more content you have, the more story covers you may need—but, keep in mind that too many covers can quickly become overwhelming. Curation counts.
4. Incorporate Your Brand Voice and Style
If your brand is vibrant and cheerful, for example, your highlight covers should reflect that same energy.
For some guidance on which colors to choose, consider color science. Not sure what that means? No problem. Refer to this quick tutorial as you go.
The Right Way to Size Your Instagram Story Covers
Instagram story covers are small, and it’s crucial to have the correct file types and dimensions so that the design reads well. Starting off with the proper height and width ensures you don’t need to crop any of your design.
The Instagram highlight cover dimensions are the same size as Instagram stories: 1080 pixels x 1920 pixels or within a 9:16 aspect ratio. Only a small portion of the highlight cover will be shown on the profile page, so you need to keep all your cover designs the same dimensions for consistency.
When you’re ready to export your design, it’s also important to know which file types to use. Highlight cover designs should ideally be a JPG or as a PNG. While JPG files are smaller in size and are ideal for online uploads, PNG files can also work because they retain image quality.
For more on these specifics, be sure to check out the blog post below next!
10 More Instagram Highlight Cover Ideas
Now, for design! Here are 10 Instagram highlight covers to get you started.
1. Highlight Your Relationship
It’s called Instagram highlight, isn’t it? Consider these covers as the preface for the content you sport under that category.
Pairing a simple icon or graphic with a floral circle frame is all anyone needs to see to know what type of lovey-dovey images will soon follow.
2. For the Fitness
If you’re an online influencer or just big into fitness, why not make an Instagram highlight cover specific for it? Show reels of you bench pressing your personal record, doing particular education videos, or offer goals and inspo you’re working towards.
Decide what type of color palette you’re aiming to achieve, as well. Make every highlight cover the same color or different, depending on what feels best. Choose colors to convey messages based on how you want followers to feel.
3. Beverage Enthusiasts
While you want to be careful promoting alcohol on social media, the food, wine, and beer industry is massive. For that reason, why not pair unexpected design elements together, like an explosive red cloudy graphic with a clear white beer icon?
If you’re looking to offer an instant experience to followers, this is the way to do it.
4. Texture + Nature
Not sure where to start? Get inspired by Shutterstock’s textures to make your design pop!
5. Flowers on Flowers
If you don’t have a particular concept in mind for your highlights, feel free to organize them by color or theme.
For example, one might be sunflowers with color-matching elements, whereas another might be yellow daisies, then white orchids, then red roses.
Ultimately, you want at least one binding force, or don’t! It also makes a difference whether or not you have a professional vs. personal account—design accordingly!
Feeling the flower vibe? Take your design to the next level with Shutterstock’s floral backgrounds!
Note: For your design, you don’t need to put your handle on your design unless you want to, as you’ll only be showing the main central part of the design. In other words, the handle won’t really show up anyway in the cover, so if you want your name shown, make sure to put it smack dab in the middle.
If you worry about folks taking your design (highly unlikely in this format), just put a friendly note in your bio to have them ask for permission first.
6. Insert Side Designs
If you’re looking for an immersive experience, try a side design instead of one that’s center-aligned. That way, you can see how much will appear to viewers versus how much you’re leaving off.
Add a geometric shape-like circle graphic with your title and done!
7. Color Gradient City
So, about those color gradients. Gradients are the easiest way to add dimension to a design and they’re perfect for Instagram. Clean and simple.
To explore your own journey with gradients, check out Shutterstock’s gradient background options here!
8. Artsy Face Features
For lifestyle influencers, skin care professionals, or boutiques, this boho-like vibe is perfect for your Instagram highlight covers.
You could duplicate this design for each in different colors and have an incredible profile face lift.
9. Music & Podcasts
If you’re into music or podcasting, sponsor your latest EPs or episode releases under this cover. Especially if you’re in the influencing world, public speakers should always have free resources available to the public.
10. Abstract & Artsy
If you’re an artist, writer, poet, or even fashion/jewelry brand, this cover’s for you. Pair an abstract face graphic with a background texture for the ultimate abstract vibe. Layer on text or effects or leave it as-is for an ominous and intriguing look.
Remember, you only have a smidge of space to get your point across, but you don’t have to do it all in one cover. That’s why you have multiple opportunities to tell a cohesive story.
No matter what, going from no Instagram highlight covers to some will instantly increase your page’s look. Plus, it’ll give you ideas as to what new content to put out to keep things intentionally themed.
A Quick Guide to Uploading Your Cover
Once you’ve created your own Instagram highlight cover, it’s time to add it to your Instagram profile!
- First, save your image to your phone, if you haven’t already.
- Then, go to your profile and tap the + button on the top-right corner. Click Story highlight. You’ll be prompted to pick your saved image before proceeding.
- Tap your image cover, then hit Next in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen.
- Hit Edit Cover, select your image, adjust it as needed, and click Done.
- To name the highlight, tap in the Highlights field where the cursor is flashing. Then, hit Add, and that’s it. Your Instagram highlight cover is live!
Want to update or scrap a highlight? Tap and hold the circle, and a menu will pop up prompting you to Delete the story, Edit it, or Send it to another user.
What can you anticipate from your new and improved Instagram page?
- Fresh, cohesive look
- Increase in followers
- More engagement
- Inspiration for new content
- Refined and condensed brand color palettes
Now it’s your turn to flex your Instagram creativity! With Shutterstock Flex, you’ll have all-in-one access to our massive library, plus the FLEXibility you need to select the perfect mix of assets every time. It’s time to get ‘gramming!
License this cover image via GaudiLove.