How to Make Your Own Custom Instagram Highlight Covers Free

Want to make a great first impression on Instagram? Learn how to make your own Custom Instagram Highlight Covers free through PicMonkey and Canva:

Well, you might have to up your game when it comes to your account’s highlight covers.

Instagram Highlight Covers, also known as story covers, refer to those snazzy circular elements that you can find right below the bio section of your Insta profile. They exist to incite an interest in your profile’s saved stories among both followers and non-followers.

If used strategically, they can serve as tools that depict what your personal or business Instagram account has to offer with regard to services, products, or simple content.

Highlight Covers for Instagram and It’s Importance

How To Make Your Own Custom Instagram Highlight Covers Free

Highlight Covers for Instagram also act as a great alternative to stories, as unlike the latter, highlights last as long as you want them to instead of expiring within the first 24 hours.

Suffice it to say, we believe that highlighting covers for Instagram is extremely important and can do a lot to boost the stock value of your profile. You might want to learn how to create eye-catching highlight covers.

How to Make Your Own Custom Instagram Highlight Covers Free

Fortunately, making these covers is as easy as a walk in the park. Regardless of whether or not you have the skills of a designer, all you have to do is seek the assistance of online editing platforms like Canva and PicMonkey to create stunning highlight covers in no time.

So in this article, we will walk you through a step-by-step guide to creating Instagram Highlight covers for free with the help of online editing platforms like PicMonkey and Canva.

But first! Let’s look at some interesting facts about the topic.

Market Trends: According to Hootsuite, over 500 million Instagram users make use of stories. A study in eMarketer claims that over 55.4% of influencers on Instagram use stories for sponsored campaigns. In fact, more than 58% of active Instagram users say that they are more interested in a brand when they see it in a story.

A study conducted by Rival IQ on the use of Instagram stories by top brands had an interesting revelation. It was found that an average brand posted Instagram stories at least 11 times per month whereas the top 25% of brands posted Instagram stories more frequently, at least 17 times per month. The least active 25% of brands only posted an Instagram story once a month.

Insta highlight

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) What are the specs for Instagram Highlight Covers?

Answer: It is imperative to choose the correct file types and dimensions. Ensuring that the size is right will help you avert the hassle of adjusting and cropping your cover image. That being said, the dimensions for Instagram covers are the same as the stories. So 1080 x 1920 pixels, within a 9:16 aspect ratio, would suffice.

Q #2) What file format would be ideal for Highlight Covers?

Answer: Aside from dimensions, it is also important that you use the correct file type. It is recommended to export highlight covers as JPG or  PNG. PNG files are ideal because they retain an image’s quality. JPGs are ideal options because they are smaller in size and facilitate hassle-free uploads.

Q #3) Can I update highlight covers without posting to the story?

Answer: Yes, it is entirely possible to add a new highlight cover without first posting it on your Instagram story. However, this wasn’t always the case as not long ago you had to add an image to your story first, and only then was it possible to update your highlight cover.

Q #4) Can I see how many times someone has viewed my highlight cover?

Answer: Unfortunately, it is not possible to find out how many times someone has seen your Instagram story highlights. Instagram only tells you how many people have seen your cover story and who have all seen it.

Q #5) How do you prevent someone from viewing your highlights?

Answer: It is entirely possible to prevent someone from viewing your highlights if you simply follow the steps below:

  • Go to your Instagram Settings.
  • Hit ‘Story Controls’.
  • Select ‘Hide Story From’.
  • Deselect anyone whom you don’t want watching your stories.

How to Create Custom Instagram Highlight Covers for Free

Using PicMonkey to Create Highlight Covers

PicMonkey Home

PicMonkey is the first choice as it is an impressive online photo editor and design tool you can use to create stunning artwork that can later be posted on your social media channels. The platform comes loaded with a plethora of pre-made templates that make it easier to create visually stunning posts for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and, of course, Instagram.

PicMonkey arms you with all the tools you need to create Aesthetic Instagram Highlight Covers. So without much further ado, let’s look at how you can create attractive highlight covers on PicMonkey in a few easy steps.

  • First, sign in to PicMonkey and create an account.
  • In the Upper Left Corner of your account, click ‘File’ and hit ‘Create New’. Choose ‘Blank Canvas’.

create new

black canvas

  • Now, scroll down to the Instagram section and choose “Instagram Story Highlight Covers’. A canvas that is 1080 x 1920 pixels in size will open.

Instagram Story Highlight Covers

  • Click on any of the 4 icons available in the upper left corner of your page to start designing your cover. From the options available (Text, Draw, Graphics, Photos, and Media.), we chose Graphics as an example in this tutorial.



  • After choosing the graphic of your choice, you can use all the tools available on the left side of your screen to further polish your cover. You can resize or move your chosen graphic across the page, change its color, etc. You can click on the Canvas area and choose to change the background color as well.

color change

  • Once you are satisfied with your cover, hit ‘Download’, choose the file type, and have the cover image saved on your device for upload on Instagram later.

PicMonkey is Free for the first seven days. After that, it will cost you $72 annually to use its most basic plan. There is a pro and a business plan available as well, which are priced at $120 and $228 per year, respectively.

We recommend using the app’s free trial to get a taste of its services before you decide to subscribe to one of its plans.

Visit PicMonkey Website

Using Canva to Create Highlight Covers

canva home

Canva is another free graphic designing platform that is frequently used to create Instagram highlight covers. Canva’s video and photo editing service can be used via any Mac, Windows, Android, or iOS device. You get hundreds and thousands of templates to create social media posts, logos, illustrations, and more.

Canva’s amazing template library harbors designs that can create highlight covers for your Instagram profile in just a few easy steps. Let’s see how:

  • Sign up and create your Canva account.
  • On the home page, Select templates > Instagram Stories > Highlight Covers.
  • Choose any of the given templates or opt to create a blank Instagram story highlight cover. We have chosen a blank canvas here.

given templates - Instagram Highlight Covers

  • On the left side of your open blank canvas, you will find a plethora of options to tweak, design, and embellish your Instagram highlight cover any way you want. Here, from the ‘Elements’ section, we chose to insert a triangle shape on our cover.


  • For further edits, you can use the same toolbar to add colors, switch your canvas’s background, add photos and videos, etc.

Instagram Highlight Covers

  • If satisfied with the end result, simply hit the ‘share’ button available in the upper right corner of your screen and select download. Your cover is now ready to be uploaded to Instagram.

Instagram Highlight Covers

Canva can be used for absolutely free if you don’t mind the limited features. To access more advanced editing features, you can opt for its Premium plans which start at $12.99 per month.

Upload Your Instagram Highlight Cover

Now that you’ve created your Highlight cover, it is time to upload it onto your Instagram profile.

You can follow the below quick guide to make your job considerably easier:

  1. Save the image on your phone or computer.
  2. Open your Instagram profile and go beneath your bio.
  3. Edit Profile > Story Highlights.
  4. Select any one of the stories shown and hit ‘Next’.
  5. Select ‘Edit Cover’ to adjust the size of your image.
  6. You can name the Highlight cover by tapping the highlights field with a flashing cursor and selecting ‘Add’. Congratulations, your Instagram highlight cover is now live.

Useful Tips

If you choose to leave story highlights saves on your IG profile, then you need to make sure they can attract the interest of your audience. The only successful way to do this is to create highlight covers that are pleasing to the eyes.

The following tips helped me accomplish this without any hassle and can do the same for you:

#1) Stick to an Aesthetic

Instagram lays heavy emphasis on visual aesthetics. So it should be a no-brainer that you need to focus on a strong visual style to create highlight covers that can grab your audience’s attention. The best way to do this is by sticking to a single aesthetic style.

For instance, instead of having different styles for each of your covers, make sure all your story covers have a homogenous look. This will undoubtedly make your collection of stories easier to comprehend and also visually stunning.

#2) Emphasize Clarity in Design

Remember, highlight covers usually have a very small viewing window. You need to capitalize on that by employing designs that are clear and comprehensive. I recommend using simple design tactics like putting icons on your highlight covers so audiences know what the highlight cover is about even before viewing it.

#3) Integrate Your Brand’s Unique Style

In many ways, your Instagram account is an extension of your brand’s identity. So you must go above and beyond to make sure your highlight covers to complement your brand’s specific style with respect to the colors, fonts, or design choices you make.

For instance, if you have an Instagram profile that produces comedy content, then your highlight covers should be zany enough to convey the energy that is a staple of that genre.

#4) Be Mindful of the Covers you Include

At the end of the day, it is your decision how many highlights covers you want to populate your IG profile. We’ve seen profiles that only use a handful of covers and we’ve seen profiles that use a plethora of them. You should only have a few covers on your profile at a time to avoid overwhelming your audience with options.


You want to enhance the value of your Instagram profile; you gotta focus on stories and as stories expire in 24 hours, employ highlights to incite interest for your brand among followers and non-followers. A stunning highlight cover is a great way to get maximum eyes on your profile and, as a result, on your brand as well.

As far as creating these covers goes, it is extremely simple due to platforms like PicMonkey and Canva. You can create aesthetically pleasing highlight covers in no time without paying a dime if you use any of the two mentioned platforms.

You don’t need to be a wizard in graphic designing to make wonderful covers that perfectly convey the message of your brand. We strongly recommend you sign-up to Canva and PicMonkey right away, use the tools they offer, and let the magic happen.