If you’ve been using Instagram for the past three years, chances are you know of, have seen, or have used an Instagram Highlight. It’s the place at the top of your Instagram bio where all of the stories you’ve shared can live forever. When it comes to Instagram highlights, they are an easy way to direct new followers to the content you want them to see first, and the best way to do that is by adding covers to your highlights. Instagram Highlight covers tend to be the first image or video from the collection of Stories you highlighted, however, you can easily change this. And as these highlights are placed right below your bio, we highly recommend making your covers as fun, eye-catching, or on-brand as possible. Make it a photo, solid color, branded image, fun icon, or whatever you fancy—just make it yours!
How to create your own Instagram Highlight covers
Now, making a cover isn’t always necessary. Sometimes an image from the Story is the perfect cover photo for that highlight and your brand. But other times, when you want to make your highlight covers look uniform and on-brand, you’ll need to make your own.
Before you get nervous and tell us you don’t have any design skills, let us introduce you to our favorite little friend (and many Social Media Managers’ bestie): Canva. Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design tool that has a variety of templates, including everything you need to create your own unique and fun Instagram Highlight cover. At the top, search for Instagram Highlight cover and you’ll discover a handful of templates you can choose from to add your own designs to. Don’t see any templates on Canva that you like? Lucky for you, we created a few that you can use there that might spark some inspiration! View them here.
When it comes to creating a Highlight cover that is as effective to your audience, you need to work on making them appealing as possible. But how do you do that?
Make a unique cover to fit your brand aesthetic
First of all, think about your brand! Are you going for a cute aesthetic, or perhaps more of a creative aesthetic? Whatever it is, make sure it feels right for your brand. Do you have a specific color theme you usually stick with? What about the imagery? Do you have a logo? When it comes to creating a highlight, make sure you’re making it look like the rest of your brand or it’ll stick out … and not in a good way.
Make an interesting name for your cover
One of the best parts about Instagram Highlights is that you can name each one! This gives the viewer a clearer indication of what the content they’re about to view is actually about. When creating your highlights, be sure to give some thoughts on what you’re going to name each. It can be something funny, something cute, or even a general name like “Travels.”
Whether your brand is cutesy, quirky or informative, making sure your Instagram highlight has an appropriate name can help people remember your brand. When building a brand, you want to make it instantly recognizable. Think of one of your favorite brands – does their name stand out? Maybe they use different word techniques such as alliteration (think Kardashians here) or, maybe they create familiar words whilst integrating their brand name? Whatever it is, make sure it’s unique to you and your brand.
No matter what your brand’s USP is, make sure it’s making its way into your wording. You want your brand to be the name that springs to mind when being asked for a recommendation. You want it to be easy to find and memorable for potential new customers.
If you’re stuck for ideas, why not have a breather and brainstorm? No one thinks of their best idea straight away so don’t stress. Take a long walk or have a bath. Take your mind somewhere else and it’ll find its way back to the answer you’ve been searching for!
If you’re in need of inspiration, look no further than Estrid. This brand really knows how to target its millennial/Gen Z market and uses humorous, one-word titles for their Highlight covers. This fits with their brand as well as making the user curious about what each one could mean – and they’re going to click on them to find out!
Make sure your covers match
Because these covers are going to be right next to one another at the top of your Instagram feed, you need to think about the whole look and not just on an individual basis. How do they all look next to one another? Are you going to make them all the same icon but different color backgrounds? Are you using the same fonts across all? Are you going to name each one something similar? Be sure to spend time thinking of the whole layout and what it will look like all together.
It’s also important to make sure this adheres to your overall brand image from the rest of your Instagram feed. Try not to start using a new color palette or new designs without changing the rest of the setup. You need to make sure your feed is coherent and uniform. This way, your brand will be instantly recognizable to new and old customers alike. Bonus points for setting out your Instagram feed in the same form as your website – that’s the next step!
Make your Instagram Highlight cover informative
You only have a few seconds for a user to decide whether your content is something they’re interested in so you’ve gotta make it count! Giving as much information and context about your content is what will draw in users.
For example, the most popular video-based content is ‘How to’ content so making sure the title of your video is on the Instagram Highlight cover is a necessity. You want to make sure that the user has enough information to be intrigued about your content – and watch it! Keep the title short, snappy, and to the point. You don’t need a mountain of information, just enough to get them to click on your Highlight.
The Tate Instagram has a great example of having informative titles on their Highlight covers. They tell you what you can find in each Highlight as well as having an image that correlates to the title. The color scheme fits with their brand and makes it instantly recognizable – full marks all around!
Make your Instagram Highlight cover fun!
Although social media can be a great tool for sharing information, it’s all about having fun as well! Even if your account covers more serious content, it’s still important to make people want to consume it. Making your Highlight cover bright and inviting makes it a lot more likely for users to engage.
Go bold with color! Now, this doesn’t mean that if you have a muted color palette you need to go and change it all. But it’s got to look inviting enough for the user to want to find out more. Color is an easy way to grab attention so if it works with your aesthetic then use it as much as possible!
If your account is all about you then make sure some of that personality shines through on your Highlight cover. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious person or you’re covering content that might be slightly less upbeat. Users are still looking to be engaged with you or whatever it is you’re selling. People have short attention spans at the best of times but that only diminishes further when they’re on social media!
The artist Chris Simpson rarely takes anything seriously – and the same goes for his Instagram Highlight covers! His art is full of the ridiculous so it only makes sense that this would be reflected in his social media. His account is a great example of how you can be successful in having fun and adhering to your own personal brand.
Make your Instagram Highlight cover fit you and your brand
If you’ve got a color or logo that is instantly recognizable, it belongs somewhere on your Highlight cover. This is the easiest way users are going to recognize that this Highlight belongs to you. Or, if they’re new to your content, the easiest way to recognize you in the future.
Or are you the brand? If your content is based around you or your talents, make sure they’re showcased front and center in the Highlight cover. The easier it is to know who you are, the more likely you are to be recognized in future content, and the more likely you are to get that all-important follow in the future.
Captions might arguably become less important when it comes to Instagram Highlights but making sure it’s all on brand is still important. Do you have a catchphrase you always use? Or a favorite emoji? Make sure you include it – every little bit helps!
This is a great thing to keep in mind when making future Stories too. Many brands or social media personalities use a certain font when they’re writing their Stories, so make sure you have this in mind for future content creation.
A great example of sticking to your brand is Lima Lima jewelry. Her entire account is made up of a simple color palette that she uses on her Highlight covers. Not only does it make her account look neat and uniform, but it’s also super simple to do! All you need is one template and then you can copy and paste, changing your titles along the way. It couldn’t be easier!
Make your Highlight cover high resolution
Making sure your content looks like it’s been made professionally can have a positive impact on your content’s performance. Worried you don’t have the right kit? Don’t be! There’s no reason to invest in a super fancy and expensive camera or editing software. Simply getting the lighting right in your content can make the world of difference. We’ve all seen influencers go on and on (and on …) about ring lights but they really do make a difference.
This is particularly true if your content is mainly videos with you or other people as the subject matter. Getting the right lighting can make it look like your videos were filmed in a film studio with a full crew rather than just you and your iPhone.
If you’re a bit strapped for cash, try and film in sunlight. Of course, direct sunlight might be a bit testing on the eyes but be wary and the sun could be your lighting best friend. We’ve all taken some glorious golden hour selfies so why not use that delicious time of day to create some gorgeous-looking content.
Dial down the background
You know how when you see professional photos being taken, they stand in front of an all-white wall or surface? Well, you should be doing the same! Not only does it make it easier to edit your photos, but it also looks a lot cleaner and more professional.
If you’re just starting out and are a bit strapped for cash, there’s no need to splurge on a fabric backdrop. Why not use a white wall in your home? Or if you don’t have one, maybe a pal does. Even if you purchase your own tin of paint and give your walls at home a bit of a revamp.
But if that’s still stretching the budget out too far, the cheapest way to make your videos look more professional is by removing any clutter from the background. That might sound obvious, but we’ve all taken a selfie without realizing the washing is making an appearance! Clear out the clutter and your content will shine through.
9 Instagram Highlight Covers to inspire you
Cute Instagram Highlight Covers
Cute highlight icons and great use of brand colors in Greetabl’s Instagram highlight covers!
It Cosmetics makes all of their Instagram Highlight covers to match and fit their brand’s aesthetic.
Bright, colorful, and uses her own branded icons, Eleanor Bowmer has some of the cutest Instagram Highlight covers we’ve seen!
Aesthetic Instagram Highlight Covers
Informative and very much on-brand, Enneagram Ashton makes it easy and convenient for followers to learn more about their type with her titled Instagram Highlight covers.
While each cover icon is different, the overall style and aesthetic are the same making Refinery 29’s Instagram highlights one of our favorites.
Mixing her own stunning photos with other graphics is very on-brand for Hey Claire and fits the overall aesthetic of her Instagram account.
Creative Instagram Highlight Covers
Documenting her stories in a visual diary, Beatrice Rigby uses her Instagram Highlight Covers in one of the more unique and creative ways we’ve seen.
The clothing brand Saturday by Megan Ellaby uses their own print designs as their Instagram Highlight covers.
We love how Kinfolk creates a new highlight for each new issue of their magazine.
Now that you know how to make your Instagram Story highlights look amazing, learn even more on our blog
on how to make your stories and IG even better.