For those with personal Instagram accounts, Instagram Highlights are modern scrapbooks, offering a clean way to categorize virtually all of the precious moments shared in your Stories.
Creators and influencers, on the other hand, use Highlights to showcase specific themes or topics that they often share with their online audience. For example, they can reveal skin care tips or share photoshoot ideas in one easy-to-locate place on their profile.
No matter how you use your Instagram Highlights, they’re a great way to show a wide variety of what makes you or your personal brand unique. But if you want to go a step beyond simply curating a collection of photos and videos, your next move is to choose a specially designed Instagram Highlight cover.
In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Instagram Story Highlight icons and how to create them.
Step 1. Plan your Highlight covers
Before you start scrolling through the Story Archive, it’s essential to first plan what you want your Highlight covers to be. This way you can organize your personal collections based on your Highlight theme.
For example, if your content is travel-centric, you may want to categorize your Selection by specific locations or types of vacations. Creating a plan first will make managing Highlights (and their covers) much easier.
Match the aesthetics of your account
When planning your Highlight covers, consider your profile aesthetic. If your photos and content are edited to be airy and minimalist, a bright and vibrant Highlight cover will look awkward. If you use white borders on your Instagram photos, consider a nod to that theme in your highlight covers. Staying consistent with the overall theme of your profile is a great way to communicate your personal brand to new followers. And if you haven’t settled on your aesthetic yet, choosing Highlight covers is a great way to start solidifying it.
For example, blogger @paytonsartain plays with the neutral colors often found in her photos, using tones similar to Highlight’s covers. And photographer @kileyshaiphotography does the same, with the colors of her ocean shots mirroring her choice of Highlight covers.
Make sure the cap reflects what’s in the Highlight
This may go without saying, but it’s still a good reminder: make sure the cover you choose reflects what’s inside the Highlight.
Now, if you choose a cover with a basic color scheme, this point doesn’t apply – just make sure the Highlight name is clear, concise and to the point. But if you use an icon or cover with a design, it must accurately reflect the content. Using an airplane icon for a Vacation Highlight or a camera icon for your photography tips will make a lot more sense than using a graphic that doesn’t represent what’s inside.
Probably the most popular way to create Instagram Highlights is to use a graphic or icon that represents what’s inside. We’ll go into detail on how to do this in the next section, but it’s a great way to showcase what your profile is all about.
For example, life coach and enneagram teacher @enneagramashton created numbered icons for her covers to show the content she creates for each specific enneagram type. Meanwhile, digital creator @chelseaasoflate keeps the same sunset-colored background behind all of her Instagram Highlight covers, which feature everything from photography tips to explosive ads.
Keep similar covers
Part of matching your profile aesthetic is making sure your Highlight Covers are similar in some way. You can do this by keeping them all in one color palette or using the same background behind different graphics.
If you don’t, your profile will look messy and chaotic – which might work if a messy and chaotic feel matches your brand. But for a cleaner profile, make sure the highlights match.
Step 2. Design your Instagram story highlight icons
Now that we’ve covered some of our top tips for planning your Instagram Highlight Covers, it’s time to make them!
Fortunately, creating covers is a lot easier than it sounds. You don’t need expert design skills or expensive computer programs to make your Highlights shine – just a little time and a free third-party tool.
How to Make Instagram Highlight Covers with Canva
When it comes to designing Instagram Highlight covers, Canva is the most popular tool available. Free to use on desktop and free to download as an iPhone app, Canva offers hundreds of templates to use as is or modify to create your own.
Here’s how to use it:
- Open the Canva app.
- If you already have an account, log in. If not, register and create one.
- Select “Instagram Story” under the “Create a design” tab.
- Browse through the designs until you find one you like. You can also type “Instagram Highlight Cover” in the search bar.
- Select the design you like.
- Tap the design to change the color and text or add other graphics.
- Once you’ve finished your design, hit the share button at the top right of the screen.
- Select “Save as Image”.
And you’re done! From there, your design will be saved to your camera roll, where you can upload it to Highlights. Repeat the steps above to create additional cover images.
How to design highlight icons with Story Highlight Cover Maker
Another fun (and free) app to use is Story Highlight Cover Maker. With hundreds of icons to choose from, this app lets you design your cover virtually from scratch. You can even choose your own photos to use as a background and add text.
The app is free to download and comes with an icon pack. Additional icon packs are available for purchase.
Here’s how to create a Highlight Cover using Story Highlight Cover Maker:
- Open Story Highlight Cover Maker.
- Select your background
- Press Next.
- Choose the opacity level of the inner circle and its color (if you want it to be different from the background color).
- Press Next.
- Scroll and select your icon or text.
- Press Export.
After following these steps, your newly designed cover will be available in your camera.
What size should Instagram Highlight Covers be?
While the tools mentioned above will automatically size your Instagram Highlight cover to fit the app’s requirements, you can also create covers elsewhere. If you do, make sure they are 1080 x 1920 pixels.
Step 3. Add custom covers to Instagram Highlights
Now it’s time to put it all together. In this section, we will go over the simple steps to add your newly created cover photo to Instagram Highlights.
In recent years, Instagram has made it easier than ever to add a cover photo to a Highlight. Once you’ve created your Highlight, follow the steps below:
1. Open the Instagram app.
2. Tap the profile picture button in the lower right corner of the page.
3. Select the Highlight you want to update.
4. Tap the More button in the lower right corner of the page.
5. Select Edit Highlight.
6. Select Edit Cover.
7. Scroll left and press the image button.
8. Scroll until you find your new cover design and select it.
9. Press Done.
Instagram highlights are a great way to show who you are and what your profile is about. And adding a cover photo will help your followers navigate to the exact content they’re looking for on your page.