Instagram Highlight Covers: Aesthetic Ideas for More Clicks

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Jun 14, 2024

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It’s quite sad to think that the old Instagram Stories you worked hard on are just sitting in your archive. So, to maximize their potential and give them new purpose, it’s always a good idea to create Story Highlights. That way, they can still show up at the top of your profile. But even then, having Story Highlights doesn’t guarantee that people will rewatch them. That’s why it’s important to create eye-catching, exciting Instagram Highlight covers.

Making pretty Highlight covers is a terrific way to express yourself online and show off your brand’s creativity. At the same time, you get to breathe new life into your old Stories. This gives people a chance to watch them whenever they want. Plus, it adds pizzazz to your page as well since Highlights show up at the top of each user’s profile.

Are you ready to learn how to make and post beautiful covers for your Instagram Highlights? Let’s jump right in!

Someone holding a phone displaying an Instagram page that has Story Highlights with cute, icon-based covers.

What Are Highlight Covers for Instagram?

When you create a Story Highlight, it shows up at the top of your feed, just below your bio. Instagram Highlights covers are small, round, aesthetically pleasing icons that represent each Highlight. Think of them as your cover photo for a collection of Stories. They’re also the buttons other users click on to view the Stories within a Highlight.

These covers can be regular photos. But those with a more creative vision for their feed will typically make their covers. These custom-made covers range anywhere from cute icons and drawings to beautiful, eye-catching typography. These beautiful covers enhance the overall aesthetic of your profile because they’re featured prominently.

Design Instagram Story Highlight covers to give viewers an idea of what to expect when they open the Highlight. For example, if you post a Highlight about your travel adventures, you might use an airplane icon on your cover. You can also choose one of the Stories in the Highlight (maybe at a famous landmark) to be the cover. That way, people have an inkling of what they might see upon clicking the Highlight.

They line up these covers neatly and horizontally. People can swipe through them to see all of your Highlights, making it super convenient to check them out. This makes exploring someone’s different Story collections and finding the right Highlight that much easier.

In a nutshell, stunning covers for Highlights can also entice others to click on them and watch your Stories. It’s a terrific way to maximize your old Story content and still give them a purpose.

A woman holding her phone to view her own Instagram profile, which includes Highlight covers with pretty icons.

How To Make Instagram Highlight Covers From Scratch With Third-Party Tools

There’s nothing wrong with choosing a cover for your Highlight from the Stories within it. But if you want extra oomph for your Highlights, making custom covers is best. It’s a terrific way to make all your Highlights look neater, more cohesive, and more aesthetically stunning.

Are you wondering how to make Instagram Highlight covers? It’s fun and easy, especially if you’re well-versed in graphic design. You can use your favorite creative third-party editing tools to make your personalized covers, like Photoshop.

But if you’re not a graphic design and photo editing expert, look for a platform with Instagram Highlight cover templates. We highly recommend Canva, which houses plenty of beautiful cover templates that can fit every aesthetic style. Just choose a template, customize it in your special way, and download the final icons to your device.

Canva’s templates aren’t just super pretty—they also allow you to customize them however you want. Edit the colors, graphics, text, and more on the covers depending on the look you’re looking for. They also come in pre-set sizes perfect for covers for Highlights, making it convenient for the most novice designers.

A girl editing a photo of a dog using a template on the Canva website.

How To Add Highlight Covers on Instagram

Do you want to choose a charming Highlight cover icon for a set of Instagram Stories on your profile? It’s super easy! All you need is a Story Highlight that is already set up on your profile.

Instagram will generate a default cover for your Highlight, typically borrowed from one of the Stories within it. From there, choosing your personalized covers—maybe the ones you made on Canva—is a walk in the park. Just make sure the covers you want to upload are already in your phone’s camera roll.

Are you ready to go? Here’s how to add Highlight covers on Instagram, step by step:

1. Open the Instagram app and head to your profile.

2. Click on the Story Highlight to which you want to add a cover.

3. Tap More on the bottom-right corner of the screen.

4. Click Edit highlight.

5. Click Edit cover at the top of the page, below the current cover.

6. Instead of choosing a cover from the Stories available, click the photo icon to the left of your Stories.

7. Choose the personalized cover you want to use for that Highlight.

8. Finally, click Done. Now, your new cover should be live!

5 Ideas for Aesthetic Instagram Highlight Covers, Based on Your Vibe or Niche

It’s important to make your covers for Highlights charming and visually attractive so they resonate better with your audience. At the same time, they need to be aligned with your brand personality and overall storytelling. Be as creative as you can when making your covers. The goal is to make them look cohesive, intriguing, and pretty on your page!

Do you need inspiration for aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers? Here are a few creative ideas that might get the ball rolling as you design your custom covers.

Someone holding a phone displaying an Instagram page with Highlight icons that spell out the name “JUNE.”

1. Minimalist Covers for a Clean Look

Going for a minimalist look for your covers is awesome if you already have that vibe on your feed. Minimalist Highlights are perfect for those who want to maintain a simple, pure, low-key, “clean” aesthetic. They’re also great if you don’t want your Highlights to overshadow the rest of your feed.

Minimalist covers typically use light colors, from nudes and whites to pretty, feminine pastels. You might also want to feature line art, sleek geometric shapes, and plenty of negative space in your icons. You could also experiment with simple and subtle patterns, like small polka dots or light stripes. The goal is to make it look clean and uncluttered while still being interesting and inviting.

2. Simple Iconography Related to Your Niche

One of the most common creative techniques for covers for Highlights is using cute iconography related to your niche. Doing this adds more texture to your brand storytelling and strengthens your association with your niche or industry.

Displaying simple, easy-to-digest icons also allows people to get an idea of what could be inside your Highlight. With one look at your line-up of covers, viewers can quickly identify the Highlight they’re looking for. It makes navigating your Highlights less intimidating and more user-friendly, especially if you have plenty of them on your page.

Fashion businesses, for example, can use icons like clothing hangers, dresses, shopping bags, and more, depending on each Highlight’s contents. Fitness influencers can use icons like dumbbells for workout content, shoes for fitness merch, and a salad for nutrition content.

You can also use this technique for your job or business. For example, real estate Instagram Story Highlight covers might include cute houses, keys, and “for sale” sign icons. For travel agents, icons like airplanes, passports, or landmarks to represent different cities make for the perfect Highlight covers.

Pro tip: When choosing icons for your covers, make sure they have the same art style. This creates a more cohesive look across all your Highlights. Make sure they’re easy to digest, too—nothing too overwhelming. Line art icons and cute, hand-drawn symbols are perfect for this.

3. Covers Focused on Typography and Text

Another route you can take is covers focused on typography. Instead of using icons to hint at what your Highlight is about, spell it out for your viewers with text. Basically, “label” your Highlights directly on the custom cover. Of course, elevate it with beautiful, aesthetic fonts or handwritten calligraphy to make them more visually striking.

Typography-focused covers are perfect for brands and creators who are more professional, pragmatic, and nonsensical about their social media presence. It’s direct, straightforward, and helps viewers find what they’re looking for at a glance.

A blogger might want to label their covers according to each content pillar. These might include words like travel, food, fashion, family, and more. Businesses, on the other hand, could create covers with phrases like “FAQs,” “how to order,” “contact us,” and more.

Someone holding up their phone, which shows the Canva editing screen with the words “YOU CAN!”

4. Pink Instagram Highlight Covers for Feminine Accounts

Of course, Highlight cover strategies aren’t limited to icons or typography. You can also create your line-up of covers based on a specific color you love. It can be your brand’s signature color or one that you feel best represents you.

For example, if you have a more feminine brand personality, consider creating a collection of pink Instagram Highlight covers. They’re perfect for brands for women and female content creators trying to emulate “Barbiecore” or the coquette aesthetic. They’re fantastic if your main target audience is women who are likely to respond positively to this type of aesthetic.

Pink covers add an extra touch of softness, vibrancy, and youthfulness to your page. To make them look even more fun, play around with icons and images within your pink covers. Consider prints and icons like hearts, flowers, stars, dresses, and other ultra-femme symbols that look good in pink.

A woman in a hot pink dress holding a guitar and standing in front of pink balloons and a life-size Barbie box.

5. Black Instagram Highlight Covers for an Edgy or Luxe Vibe

Another popular, color-focused route users take is black Instagram Highlight covers. Black is such a malleable color. Using it on covers lets you create a vibe that is either sleek, chic, and luxurious or edgy and moody.

Grungy brands with a tough, gothic, and dark look and feel might like making black covers for their Story Highlights. These include streetwear brands, tattoo shops, rock bands, and more. Black creates a rebellious, mysterious feel, enticing potential followers to explore your Highlights. Icons such as black musical notes, shirts, tattoo designs, and more are perfect for these brands.

At the same time, black also works super well for those who want to give off a sophisticated vibe. Covers showing black marble and leather bags, for example, emulates elegance and luxury.

Entice People To Watch Your Old Stories With Cute Instagram Highlight Covers

Make the most out of your old Story content by showcasing them on your profile as Highlights with beautiful covers. This makes them more enticing to click on and watch, so you can get more views out of your Stories. It’s perfect for personal milestones, business FAQs, customer reviews, and many more!

Do you want more people to see your profile, feed posts, and Stories with the cute Instagram Highlight covers? With Path Social, you can cast a wider net and reach a bigger audience.

At Path Social, we harness the power of AI to promote your content to your niche target audience. This boosts visibility and discoverability for your profile, allowing more people to stumble upon it. Before you know it, these people will not just watch your Story Highlights but also give your page a follow. So, what are you waiting for? Hit us up and gain more followers in your Instagram community today!