If you’re serious about your brand’s visual identity (which is a given if you’re on the ‘gram, after all), then I’m sure you love the endless ways the social media platform provides us to stay creative.

From applying filters to photos, choosing a background color on your Stories, creating a collage, to the Boomerang, and more, you can let your creativity go to awe the audience.

And then, there are the highlight covers – an incredible way to extend the life of your Stories.

Here’s everything you need to know about Instagram highlight covers and how to get them.

What is an Instagram Highlight?

Before I explain what Instagram highlights are, let’s backtrack a little to one of the most pivotal moments in Instagram’s history – the launch of the Stories.

It was the time that we started experimenting with short-lived vertical content that stayed up for just a mere 24 hours.

Despite the fun and spontaneity of the feature, users have quickly felt that we’d like our Stories to last longer on our profiles.

That’s when Instagram Stories Highlights showed up, and their purpose is simple – to make your Stories last longer.

Highlights are the circles that show up on your profile right after your bio and before your posts.

Here’s one example of a whole bunch of highlights on the WWF’s Instagram.

Example of Instagram highlight covers.

Notice how prominent those highlights are. For one, their placement makes them immediately noticeable. I’m sure you’ll agree that it would be almost impossible for visitors not to see those stories every time they come back to your account.

But the other reason for such visibility is the creative behind those highlights. And this brings us to the next point.

Why You Should Create Custom Instagram Highlight Covers

There are many reasons for adding creative Instagram highlight covers to your profile.

Brand awareness, for one.

I’m sure you know that building a strong visual brand starts with optimizing the profile. For one, your visual identity must remain consistent, from your profile picture, your posts, your Stories, down to smallest details, like Instagram highlights.

Highlights allow you to showcase your most essential Stories.

Creative Instagram highlight covers can help you get your followers to focus on your most essential Stories. And needless to say, just the ability to get them to access and return to your stories is a great opportunity to promote your products, services, or even your team.

Think of your highlights as the window to your shop. You want to get the first impressions right.

Another example of Instagram Highlight Covers.

Increase sales

Your Instagram highlights can also facilitate conversions. Include links to your best-selling products and easy access to your latest announcements to direct your followers to your website.

It’s an easy way for the new followers to find out more about your brand and ultimately turn into your customers.

How to Get Instagram Highlight Covers

You have three options to do so.

#1. Use an Existing Image from your Recent Stories

The process is super simple.

  1. Click on your Stories
  2. Find a Story that you have uploaded in the last 24 hours
  3. Select Highlight at the bottom right corner of your screen
  4. Click ‘New’ to create a new highlight
  5. Name your new highlight
  6. Click ‘Add’ to add it to your Instagram profile

The image is automatically created as a thumbnail from your Story. If you are happy with your content, you have created a highlight cover in just a few seconds.

However, if you want to create a Highlight using older Stories, then you’ll just need to change the initial steps of this process.

In this case, you’ll have to:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Click on the top-right menu
  3. Select Archive to access your story archive
  4. Find the Stories that you want to include in your highlight
  5. Click ‘New’ to create a new highlight
  6. Name your new highlight
  7. Click ‘Add’ to add it to your profile

#2. Use Pre-made Highlight Covers

If you want to be more creative, and go beyond the image from your Stories, then there are many online resources to help you add pre-made highlight covers.

For example, Canva Stories and Adobe’s Spark offer many options that will make your highlights more creative.

Example of custom highlight templates.

Image Source

Here is a video on how to use Adobe Spark to create highlight covers.

#3. Create Custom Instagram Highlight Covers

If you want to create Instagram highlight covers that reflect your brand, this option is for you.

You can use tools like Canva and PicMonkey online or Photoshop for a more professional look that focuses on graphic design.

Keep in mind, the story dimensions that you’ll need to use are 1080×1902 pixels.

A visual editor with a highlights template opened up.

(A visual editor with a template to create custom highlight cover.)

How to Add Custom Story Highlight Cover

Once you’ve created your custom highlight cover, it’s time to add it to your profile.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to update the cover of an existing Instagram highlight cover.

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Click on the Highlight of your choice
  3. Tap in the three dots saying “More” at the bottom right of the screen
  4. Select Edit Highlight
  5. Click on “Edit Cover” to update the image
  6. Add the image
  7. Adjust it accordingly
  8. Click Done

Just like that, your new Instagram highlight cover is now ready.

Best Practices for Creating Instagram Highlight Covers

Now that you’re ready to create your new Instagram highlight covers, here are some practical tips on how to be more creative.

Remember your brand’s aesthetic

Your highlight covers represent your brand. They are displayed in your profile.

Make sure that they match your brand’s guidelines to make your profile look professional.

Think of the colors, the font, the logo that would make them look creative while helping your followers to associate them with your brand instantly.

Stand out with icons.

Whether you’re creating the covers on your own or use existing graphics, you can still stand out with the icons.

You can be minimal with the use of one icon per cover but still, be descriptive.

For example, we’ve used icons in our covers to make it easy to understand what each highlight is about. Question marks are used for the Q&A cover, a light bulb is used for inspiration, and a paper icon is used for the latest news.

Instagram profile showing highlights.

Many brands are following a similar approach to be both minimal and creative.

Be consistent with your highlight covers.

If you’re about to create multiple highlight covers, make sure the branding is consistent.

You can be playful with the change of colors from one highlight to another. However, it’s still useful to have some sort of continuity from one cover to the other.

It makes your profile look more coherent and professional.

Example of a well-designed Instagram profile.

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Experiment with text

Have you thought of adding text to your highlight covers?

Just because you can only see a small thumbnail, it doesn’t mean that you can’t include some sort of text in it.

Several brands and publishers use text to describe the stories and how they differ from each other.

Make sure that the font is not either too small or too large for your cover.

Text-based highlights.

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Creative Instagram highlight covers can help you improve your brand’s appeal.

You can boost your brand awareness, promote your latest products, or even showcase your team.

Start picking the essential Stories and create engaging highlights that will serve as the best introduction to your brand for your followers.

Remember, highlight the Stories that matter and pick content that will last longer.

Enjoy the creative journey, and start picking the best Stories for your highlights!