2021 Instagram Story Size and Design Tips

We’ve talked about Instagram in the past because it’s an exceptionally powerful marketing tool for businesses. There’s no better opportunity to organically reach the masses and turn fans into followers and future customers than with a rock-solid Insta presence. Millions upon millions of people use Instagram everyday, with brands a large part of the action.

Carving your place in the Insta world is all about building blocks. We know, we know, you’re ready to post those flashy pics and tell visual stories like a champ. Make sure your profile is celebration-worthy first. Then, and only then, you can worry about the content.

Today, we’re demystifying Instagram story size and showing you how to design beautiful stories with PicMonkey’s editor. What are IG stories, you ask? Let’s take a look. 

What is an Instagram story?

Instagram launched its stories feature in 2016. Many saw it as a direct response to Snapchat’s success (and at the time, IG CEO Kevin Systrom agreed). Snapchat copycat or not, Instagram’s stories changed its landscape. Today, you can create stories as pictures or short videos that last on your profile for 24 hours. 

If your account is private, only your followers can view your stories. If it’s public, anyone on Instagram can sneak a peek. You also get to see who watches your stories, and you can save your favorites as profile highlights if you wanna keep ’em past the 24-hour limit.

The picture perfect Instagram story size is 1080 x 1920 pixels. Notice something? That’s a vertical-friendly image. Keep this in mind when crafting your next great story with your phone. If you go horizontal, Instagram might crop your photo/video and...well...let’s just say it could lose its visual attractiveness.

Luckily, with PicMonkey’s editor you can create perfectly sized Instagram stories in no time. Here’s how.  

Create an Instagram story with a pre-sized blank canvas

An easy way to find story size perfection is by using PicMonkey’s pre-sized blank canvases. We’ve taken the hassle out of sizing. When you’re in the editor, just click Create new > Blank Canvas > Instagram Story.

Crop an image to the right Instagram story size

When you have the right image but maybe not the right size, upload it to PicMonkey’s editor (make sure it’s a high-resolution photo) and use our Crop Canvas tool. Click Crop Canvas, and set your Aspect Ratio to Instagram Story. Once you’ve positioned the grid where you want it, click Apply and your new resized image will display.

If your image already has the right aspect ratio but is simply too small or too large, just use our Resize tool. Click Edits > Resize.

Make an Instagram story with a design template

Want the correct size plus a head start on design? Use one of our gorgeous Instagram story design templates. If you’re in the editor, simply click Templates and search for Instagram Story. Once you’ve selected a template, upload your own images and customize with colors, text, and graphics. (Be careful though...you don’t want too much text in an IG story. We’ll talk about this later.) 

Using Smart Resize to output your image to other sizes

We offer PicMonkey Pro Subscribers a special tool for getting the job done fast and efficiently. With Smart Resize you can instantly output a single image to multiple other image sizes. It's smarter than a regular resize function because it adjusts placement of the design elements to fit perfectly in the dimensions of each image. 

Just check your desired sizes and hit Copy & Resize. All images appear in your Hub, AKA PicMonkey’s cloud storage. 

More Instagram image sizes (2021)

Social media image typeDimensions in Pixels
Instagram Post1080 x 1080 (1:1 ratio)
Instagram Profile Photo360 x 360
Instagram Landscape Photo1080 x 608 (1.91:1 ratio)
Instagram Portrait1080 x 1350 (4:5 ratio)
Instagram Story1080 x 1920 (9:16 ratio)
IGTV Cover Photo420 x 654 (1:1.55 ratio)

  Need sizes for other social media accounts?

3 Instagram story design tips

Looks like you’re about ready to go produce some fantastic Instagram stories. Before you get going, let’s leave you with a few Dos and Don’ts of Instagram story creation.

  • Text usage

Do use text if deemed relevant. Short-form copy only. Don’t overpopulate your stories with words. Instagram is a wholly visual platform for visual storytelling. Each story can only be 15-seconds long, so you don’t want to leave viewers reading huge chunks of text. You can use hashtags in your stories, just be intentional about them.

  • Story frequency

Do post stories on a schedule. Since they’re an engagement tool, it’s worthwhile to post multiple times throughout the day. Like text usage, though, don’t overpopulate your feed with 50 unique story clips. You’ll more than likely discover that viewers aren’t watching all the way through, and it’ll double the effort you have to make in order for each of your stories to be maximum-level engaging. 

  • Content ideas

Do find balance in your content, offering viewers what they can’t find in your regular posts or by taking a look at your profile. A look behind-the-scenes at your brand, reposts of all the great things people are saying about you, teasers for upcoming content, and stories with extra personality are all viable options. 

Think of Instagram’s stories like extra credit. They’re an added element for raising your Instagram grade to a final 105% average. Use things like polls and questions to engage your viewers and receive feedback. If you’re a business account with at least 10,000 followers, you can also add a link to your story. This is super helpful if you want viewers to see more content of yours. 

Don’t focus solely on self-promotion. Whether a personal or business account, viewers see right through overly sales-y content that’s only focused on selling instead of providing any other value. Find that balance, yo. Give your viewers valuable content and you won’t have to try so hard with a subsequent call-to-action.

Want more insider knowledge on achieving massive Instagram success? Give our Instagram articles a browse.

Level up all your social media with a PicMonkey subscription. 
Joe Wolff

Joe Wolff is a Chicago-based writer and novelist. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking fancy things and then ruining the plating, running so that his tall and awkward frame isn't wasted, and allowing Chicago sports teams to determine his mood. He's a proud graduate of the University of Florida, whose sports teams tend to do a much better job of mood regulation.