Make Custom Instagram Highlight Covers in PicMonkey

Instagram Highlight Covers (also known as Instagram Story covers) are those fancy little circles that hang out right underneath your IG profile bio. They're a great way to both save and categorize your stories, plus creating custom highlight covers can make your brand look super polished.

In this article, we'll walk you through how to fast-track your Instagram Highlight cover designs with our templates, create from scratch with a blank canvas, and add your custom cover to Instagram. We'll also share some Insta branding advice, as well as several real-life Instagram accounts with unique highlight cover designs.

On a mobile device? Make your highlight cover on our free app.


Quick steps for making a custom Instagram Highlight cover in PicMonkey

  1. Start with one of our Instagram Highlight cover templates.

  2. Swap out the graphic (if desired) and customize your cover with colors and effects.

  3. Download your final design and upload it to Instagram for the world to see!

That's your lightning-fast how-to. To get started, check out a few of our favorite Instagram Highlight cover templates below. Or keep scrolling for step-by-step instructions on how to design your cover from scratch!

Instagram Highlight cover templates to customize

Simple Petunia

Customize this template

Fitness Watch

Customize this template

Thailand Palms

Customize this template

SPF Makeup

Customize this template

Two-tone Background

Customize this template

How to make a highlight cover from scratch in PicMonkey

1. Open a blank canvas in PicMonkey

In PicMonkey, scroll down to the Blanks section and click See all blanks. From there you’ll be taken to a page where you can choose your blank canvas size. Scroll down and select Instagram Story Highlight Cover to open the canvas in the Editor.

2. Choose a background color

Use the Background Tools menu to select a background color. If you have a branded hex code you want to use, enter it in the text box and click Apply. Otherwise, you can defer to the large selection of common colors.

3. Add a graphic icon and customize

A great place to start in PicMonkey is with our Insta Story Highlights graphics set.

Open the Graphics tab on the left panel to choose from our collection of thousands of icons, or click Add image on the top toolbar to add your own icon (we do accept SVG files, and you can edit their colors after uploading!).

Once you've added a graphic to your canvas, the Graphic Tools menu will open. From there, it's customization time. Use the tools to change up the colors of your graphic or add effects (scroll down to see our tips!). You can rotate, flip, or resize graphics, add shadows or outlines, or...ready for this? Click Fill with image and place an image inside your graphic!

5. Export your Instagram highlight cover

Click Download in the right corner of the top toolbar to save your cover to your computer, then move it over to Instagram when you’re ready. Note that your design always autosaves in Hub, PicMonkey's cloud storage, for unlimited editing.

How to add your custom Instagram Highlight cover to Instagram

  1. Email your design to your phone, or grab it from Hub in the PicMonkey app.

  2. Open Instagram and click the story you want to add the cover to.

  3. Click More in the bottom right corner.

  4. Click Edit Highlight, then click Edit Cover.

  5. Click the image icon and select your highlight cover.

  6. Center your image within the circle.

  7. Click Done to finalize your changes!

If you want to change your highlight cover in the future, just repeat the steps above. Note that you can also use one of the images from your story as a cover. Upload it to PicMonkey first to give it a bit of design flavor-flave!


Create Instagram Story covers on the PicMonkey mobile app

In addition to making Insta covers on your desktop, you can make them on the free PicMonkey mobile app!

Watch this video to learn how:

Take your Insta profile to the next level with any one of our Instagram highlight templates.

Get the PicMonkey Mobile App!


Design custom highlight covers that reflect your brand

The cool thing about custom highlight covers is that they can bring your unique branding to your Instagram. In the mood board above you can see the company’s logo, colors, fonts, etc. that inform the design and grid layout of its Instagram page. Each of the icons features a brand color, making for a professional and polished look.

Need help developing your brand? Start with Brand Building 101: Your Guide to Branding Your Business for Success

Now for some design inspo.


Instagram Highlight cover design inspo

Make a statement with outlined text

The @i_weigh account uses outlined text in their highlights about not being ashamed. It’s a powerful statement and the text treatment helps to highlight that. The image stays on-brand by using the same pink as the other highlight covers.

Get the look in PicMonkey: Highlight your text. From the Text Tools menu, click on Shadow & outline, then add an outline. Play around with the sliders until you've got the look you want.

Go for drama with a drop shadow

On Bumble's account they have a variety of uniquely branded highlight covers. We’d like to draw your attention to the one labeled “First Moves!” The text has not one, not two, but three drop shadows which help give it a sense of movement.

Get the look in PicMonkey: Click your text layer. Find Shadow & outline on the Text Tools menu. Add a drop shadow. Make sure your Horizontal blur slider is turned to zero. Duplicate that text and change the colors of the text and the drop shadow. Get the two text elements lined up slightly off-center and you've got it. Italicize both text elements for some extra movement.

Delight with funky designs

On our IG page (ohheygurl, give us a follow @picmonkey) we’ve got subtle design elements going on right underneath our text. They’re only slightly darker than the background so they add interest without distracting from the copy.

Get the look in PicMonkey: From the Graphic Tools tab, head to the Design category to find oodles of tasteful, interesting elements. Place them slightly off-center from your text, and use the Eyedropper to turn your graphic(s) the exact same color as your background. Then click on your background and change its color to a slightly darker shade of the same color. Voila!

Mask text and graphics for a beautiful, dimensional look

Masking is when an image peeks through another image or text. It’s a quick and easy way to immediately add visual interest, like the State of Alaska Tourism Office did on their Instagram page.

Get the look in PicMonkey: Add your text and graphic elements to your canvas and arrange them how you want them to look. Select all layers of your design and use the Textures tab to apply one texture to the entire design. Your end result: Glorious cohesion.

Pump up the party with some ombre

Betches also used a mask over their Instagram highlight cover icons, but theirs is Ombré and it’s fabulous. The beautiful rainbow of colors really pops off that simple black background.

Get the look in PicMonkey: Highlight your text or icon (whatever element you’re using) and head to the Effects tab. Scroll down to Ombré and select your colors. Adjust the Direction and Fade sliders and boom, showtime baby!

Stand out with bold icons

Netflix is keeping things simple by sticking with their red and black brand colors for bold Insta Highlight covers.

Get the look in PicMonkey: Stick with a dark, rich background color and keep any of your chosen icons a clean white.

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Tanya Friedland

Tanya is a copywriter at PicMonkey, a company that has greatly improved her life by allowing her to Zombify her friends and Santa-ify her enemies. A native Seattleite, she dreams of one day being a contestant on The Price Is Right.