It feels like Instagram is constantly updating and changing, but I’ve got to say, I love the new Instagram Story Highlights feature. But are you wondering how tons of bloggers and influencers are changing their story highlight covers? If done right, it can make your highlight reel look extra put together and organized. Many Instagrammers also use a specific color or color scheme to match their “Instagram feed theme.”
To watch my video tutorial, scroll down!
Step 1: Open Canva. At the top of the screen on the app’s interface, you’ll find template options. Scroll over to and select the “Your Story” template. This sizes the image to fit your Instagram story perfectly.
Step 2: Select the “Blank” template. Once it opens, tap the white background. Here, you’ll have the option to choose one of the default colors or your own. If you’re wanting to use a specific color or use the slider, tap on the “Used” plus sign. Experiment with the sliders until you have the color you want, or tap on the hex color (the # followed by a bunch of letters/numbers. They’re made up of six digits, and represent colors when used in HTML, CSS, SVG, and other computing applications) if you know the code you want to use. Now, all the colors you choose with the slider or hex will show up in the “used” color section above the defaults.
Step 3: Now that you have your background color, tap on the + sign circle in the bottom right hand corner of Canva’s interface. There’s a few fun options here, but for highlight covers you really only need to worry about text and/or graphics (clipart). It depends on what you want your cover to look like when it shows on your Instagram profile.
If choosing text: Click on the text “T” box, and then click on “Add some text of your own.” Type the word you’d like to show in your highlight cover. I went with “Home” (for anything I might post to my IG story about our house or home decor). Once that’s added, it’s fairly easy to change the font (Canva has SO MANY to choose from!), size, letter spacing, etc. I like to make sure my text is centered.
If choosing a graphic: Say you’d like a little graphic of a house to show up as your cover thumbnail instead of text. Click the plus sign in the bottom right hand corner again, and choose “Graphics.” Search for the graphic you’re looking for.
Graphics that are free to use will say “Free” on them. Ones that cost will have what looks like three coins stacked on top of each other (or a tiny hamburger menu) with the number of “credits” you’ll need to purchase it. Each credit costs $1.99. Most of the design elements I’ve seen that cost credits are only 1 credit. Purchasing the credits are easy, but you won’t have the option until you’re done with your design and are ready to share it. The awesome thing is that Canva will allow you to save a draft of your design to your camera roll so you can see exactly what it would look like (you could even upload it to your story to get a rough idea) but it will include a watermark. If you pay to use Canva, you will have more options for photos and graphics. I was able to find cute graphics for all of my Instagram highlights besides one — the one I used for “Pregnancy.” Since all the rest were free, (and the app itself is free) I felt justified paying $1.99 for the one I wanted.
Once you’ve chosen your graphic, you can also change its color. However, some graphics don’t allow you to change the color and will only give you a transparency option, so look out for that. I found a cute little house graphic and turned it white. I like choosing white text or graphics for my highlight covers, since it shows up really well against the colored background and looks clean.
You can change the size of your graphic by dragging the corners of the box its in.
Step 4: Save your design! To save it to your camera roll, click “Share” in the top right hand corner. It will prepare your design, and bring up options for you to share/save it. Click save image, and BOOM! It’s in your camera roll. The design will now show up in the “Your Designs” section of the app. If you want all of your covers the be the same color, you can go back to it later to make more and just change the graphic or the word displaying as your text. Or, you can write down the hex color code and make a new one if you want to stay super organized.
Note: this would all be pretty easy to do with other apps like Over or WordSwag, but I like Canva the best for its font and graphic options. Canva can also be used on desktop, if that’s more your style!
Step 5: Upload your design to your Instagram story.
Then, you can either use it as the cover to an existing highlight or to make a new one. If using it for an existing one, click on the highlight, followed by the three dots and “More” in the bottom right hand corner. Click “Edit Highlight.” Your cover will show up in the “Archive” section, unless you’ve previously highlighted it from your Instagram story.
If using it for a new highlight, just click the “New” + sign at the beginning of your highlights on your profile. This will bring up your story archive. After choosing your cover, you can edit your cover to add a title and change the size by zooming in (if you didn’t like the size you chose in Canva).
That’s it! The most recently updated story highlight will show up first in your “reel.”
Watch my step-by-step video tutorial on how to make your Instagram highlight covers cute below.
Get a closer look at my highlight reel @sonyjoubert! (On mobile.)
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