How to create custom Instagram Story Highlights covers

Use icons to create sleek covers in less than 10 minutes

Ieva Andriuleviciute
The Iconfinder Blog
5 min readMay 9, 2019


In this tutorial, we will demonstrate how to create your custom Story Highlights covers using Canva and icons from Iconfinder. You can skip the intro and jump straight to any of these sections:

  1. How to create custom Story Highlights covers
  2. How to update Highlights covers on Instagram
  3. How to find great icons for your covers
  4. Examples from other companies

Here is how the result is going to look like:

Highlights is a great tool to present the key information to your customers and showcase the best of you, whether you are working with your personal or a business account.

Instagram uses the first photo you add to the highlight as the cover image. If you are working with Instagram professionally, that’s typically not what you want. The consistent layout is what creates the first impression of your Instagram page, and Highlights appearing at the very top of it can make it or break it.

Creating covers using Canva and Iconfinder

In this tutorial, we will use an example of a café that wants to showcase their menu using Instagram Highlights.

You can easily achieve great-looking results using the free versions of both of the products.

Step 1

Go to Canva website. You’ll need to create a user account or log in using Google or Facebook.

Step 2

Click “Create a design” button and choose “Custom dimensions”.

In the size boxes, enter “1080 x 1920” pixels (you can always double check social media image sizing in this helpful guide). Then proceed with “Create design”.

Step 3

Now it’s time to get your creative juice flowing.

Go to Iconfinder and use the search to browse for icons. Alternatively, you can scroll down and look through the categories to find full icon sets in specific themes.

If you are creating Highlights covers for a business account, make sure the license allows you to use icons for commercial purposes (all premium icons and some free icons are licensed for commercial use).

We headed directly to the Food & drinks category and found this colorful food & beverages set.

Step 4 (optional)

Remember that you can recolor icons on Iconfinder using the free online editor. Just click a little pencil next to the icon and proceed to the editor. You can later download the adjusted icon directly from the editor.

Step 5

Download your selected icons in PNG format, size 512 x 512px.

Step 6

Drag an drop the PNG file to Canva. You can resize the icon a little bit by dragging its corners. Canva also displays handy guidelines for center-aligning the icon.

Step 7

Now it’s time to adjust the background. Select the “Background” tab in the left panel. You can either choose one of Canva’s patterns or go for a solid color.

Step 8

We’ll go for a solid color by clicking the “+Solid color” menu and inserting a HEX code of our brand color.

Try to maintain a good contrast between the icon and the background color, as the cover will appear in small size on your Instagram page. Low contrast might make it look less clear.

TIP: Check out Color Hunt for some trendy color combinations for your icon and background.

Step 9

Click the “Add the new page” button and repeat the previous steps to create the remaining covers.

Step 10 — exporting the images

When you finish creating the covers, click the download icon in the top right corner and save the images in PNG format

If you are exporting multiple images, Canva saves it in a zip folder. You then have to extract the folder and save the images to your phone.

Updating the covers on Instagram

To add the new covers to your Highlights, click the Highlight you want to update and click again on the “More” ellipsis. Then select “Edit Highlight”.

In the new window, click “Edit Cover” under the Highlight preview. Then click on the image icon to open your Camera Roll. Finally, select the image you want to use.

Remember to scale it and adjust it with your finger gestures, so it looks center-aligned. When you are ready, click “Done”. Then repeat the steps with the rest of the Highlights.

Here is the result:

A tip for finding great icons for your covers

To find some cool icons for your covers, we suggest you explore Iconfinder’s categories. You can find them at the bottom of the home page.

Scroll all the way down on the homepage to find icon categories

When you pick a category, you can filter the results to see only free or premium icons.

Examples from other companies

Here are a couple of great examples of how some other companies approached their custom Story Highlights covers.


Dribbble uses icons and subtle gradients for their Highlights cover images


Behance keeps the branding straight by using its custom typography and colored overlays


Canva chooses a simple icon and solid background combination

That’s it!

If you have any questions about creating your custom Highlight covers, feel free to ping us in the comments’ section.