aesthetic instagram highlight covers

How to Create Aesthetic Instagram Highlight Covers That Win Followers (+ 35 Examples!)

One of the best ways to set your Instagram profile apart is to use aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers — thumbnails that illustrate each Story Highlight category, so visitors to your profile know exactly what sort of content they’re about to see.

The longer you can keep new visitors on your page, the more likely you are to win a follow. With that in mind, using aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers is an important part of your strategy. 

But where do you find these covers? And how can you create Highlight covers of your own that match your brand and win more followers?

In this post, you’ll find: 


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What are Instagram Highlights?

Instagram Highlights are collections of your favorite Stories, sorted by category.

Normally, Instagram Stories disappear 24 hours after you post them. But, you can keep them around by adding them to your Instagram Highlights — the bubbles that appear underneath your Instagram bio.

Instagram Highlights stick around until you delete them, so they’re a great way to make your Story content work for you long after you post it. 

Find the Highlights for an Instagram account from the account’s main page, displayed as circles under the buttons to follow and message the account. With such a prominent placement on the Instagram account page, you can see why you’d want Highlights to have an aesthetic that matches your brand and vibe.

Why are Instagram Story Highlights important?

When you separate Instagram Highlights by category, you make it easy for followers and new visitors alike to explore the content that interests them most. 

For new visitors, Story Highlights make it easy for them to see if you’re posting content that’s applicable to them…which leads them to follow you.

National Geographic’s Instagram Highlight covers

For example, National Geographic uses Instagram Highlight covers to sort the types of Stories they upload. Users can see at a glance if this account posts Stories that catch their interest. 

If you don’t set a custom Highlight cover, Instagram will automatically pull a thumbnail from the Stories you posted. But, that means you’re missing out on a great opportunity to attract more clicks by adding aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers that draw the eye. 

If you skip this step, people may never click on your Highlights in the first place.

How to change your Highlight covers on Instagram

The first step you can take to make your Highlight covers more clickable is to find the best image within the Story itself.

How to change your Instagram Highlight cover

  1. Go to your Instagram profile and tap on the Highlight cover that you want to change.
  2. Tap “More” in the bottom right corner.
  3. Tap “Edit Highlight,” and then “Edit Cover”.
  4. Scroll through the pictures in your Highlight and choose the best one.
  5. Tap “Done”.

But, you can also add a custom Highlight cover from your camera roll.

To add a custom Highlight cover from your camera roll, follow these seven simple steps:

How to add an Instagram Highlight cover from your camera roll

  1. On your Instagram profile, tap the Highlight cover you want to change.
  2. Tap “More” in the bottom right.
  3. Go to “Edit Highlight,” then “Edit Cover”.
  4. Scroll all the way to the left until you reach the beginning of your Highlight photos.
  5. Tap on the photo icon.
  6. Choose a photo from your Camera Roll, then center it in the Highlight circle.
  7. Tap “Done”.

Using this method, you can find, buy, or create aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers, which you can then download to your phone. From there, you can upload them to your profile.

3 ways to find free aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers

If you’re strapped for cash, you can find free Instagram Highlight covers online fairly easily. Here’s 3 places to look for and find free aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers for your account:

1. Google image search

By searching “free instagram highlight covers,” you’ll pull up several million results of aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers that anyone can use. Go to the Images tab and browse the results. 

But take care: Make sure the images you select are actually free to use. Also, check to find out if you’ll need to credit the artist in your Instagram bio. No one likes an art thief. 

2. Pinterest

Like Google, Pinterest hosts a wide selection of Instagram Highlight covers. Some are just for inspiration, but others are free to use.

Pinterest Instagram Highlight covers

Just like with Google, check the permissions before you download free Highlight covers.

3. Personal and business blogs

Bloggers offer free downloadable Instagram Highlight covers on their websites. You can find these by searching “free instagram highlight covers” and browsing the results.

5 places to buy aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers

If you want a wider selection of Instagram Highlight covers to choose from, and if you don’t want to worry about permissions, you can buy Highlight covers for just a few dollars.

Here’s a few sites to start on your search to purchase aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers:

1. Etsy

An Etsy search for aesthetic instagram highlight covers

If you haven’t heard of Etsy, it’s an online marketplace with a focus on arts and crafts. Because many of Etsy’s users are skilled graphic designers,  you can find many stunning digital downloads on Etsy, from personalized bullet planners to social media posts. Therefore, this is a great place to find aesthetic Instagram highlight covers.”

2. Graphic River

Graphic River highlight covers

Graphic River is like Etsy, but completely for online graphics. Like Etsy, it hosts a selection of professional highlight covers for sale. 

3. JuliPresets

JuliPresets store

JuliPresets is an online store where you can buy presets for Adobe Lightroom. Although they don’t sell done-for-you Instagram highlight covers, they do sell presets that make it easy for you to create Stories (and covers) that pop.

4. CreativeMarket

CreativeMarket Instagram highlight covers

CreativeMarket is another online marketplace focused on graphic design, and like the other stores listed here, it’s a great place to find pro highlight covers. 

5. Fiverr

Fiverr highlight covers

The downside to using free Instagram Highlight covers or buying pre-made icons is that they aren’t original to your brand. Fiverr fixes that problem, since you can hire creatives to design brand-new icons for your business.

Or, if you’d rather make them yourself or create them internally, you can do that too! Here’s how.

How to create aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers from scratch

One of the easiest ways to create your own Instagram Highlight covers is to use Canva, a web application that you can use to create custom designs and graphics. It’s also available for iOS and Android.

Canva’s homepage

The free version has a ton of templates and designs. If you decide to upgrade to paid, you’ll also get the ability to download graphics with transparent backgrounds.

Here’s how to use it to make an aesthetic Instagram Highlight cover for yourself:

  1. Click “Create a design” in the top right corner
  2. Select “Custom Size” in the bottom left of the popup
  3. Create a design that’s 1080 by 1920 pixels — the same as Instagram Stories
  4. Click “Elements” on the sidebar
  5. Select a background design or a solid color
  6. Select “Graphics” in the Elements bar, and search for the design you want
  7. Pick a simple design and center it
  8. Adjust size, color, and opacity until you’re happy with the result
  9. Press “Download” in the top right corner

And ta-da! You’ve just made your very own aesthetic Instagram Highlight cover that matches your brand or vibe.

To get your Highlight cover from desktop to mobile, just email the design to yourself, or message yourself on Facebook or Instagram. Then download the image to your Camera Roll, and upload it to your Highlights reel. 

Pro tip: To keep colors consistent across your branding, it’s a good idea to copy the hex code of the colors you use here and keep them in a document for future use. 

You can also find your Highlight cover under “Your Designs” on your Canva dashboard. Click the three dots at the top right of your cover, and press “Make a Copy” as an easy way to make internally consistent designs.

35 IRL aesthetic Instagram Highlight cover examples to inspire you

If you’re not sure what your Highlight covers should look like, here’s some examples to inspire you. We’ve broken them down by niche — find the ones that best match your business.

Instagram Highlight Cover Examples in the Travel Industry

1. Travel Goddess International

Travel Goddess Intl Instagram Story Highlight example

2. Black Girls Travel Too

Black Girls Travel Too Instagram Story Highlight example

3. Crosby Grace Travels

Crosby Grace Travels Instagram Story Highlight example

4. Carrigan Whiteley

Carrigan Whiteley Instagram Story Highlight example

5. Travel Noire

Travel Noire Instagram Story Highlight example

Instagram Highlight Cover Examples in the Fitness Industry

6. Rosie McGrail 

Rosie McGrail Instagram Story Highlight example

7. Beach Body

Beach Body Instagram Story Highlight example

8. KA’OIR Fitness 

KA’OIR Fitness Instagram Story Highlight example


TRUCONNECT Instagram Story Highlight example

10. Tamara Fitness

Tamara Fitness Instagram Story Highlight example

Instagram Highlight Cover Examples in the Fashion Industry

11. Marie von Behrens

Marie von Behrens Instagram Story Highlight example

12. NARA

NARA Instagram Story Highlight example

13. Grece Ghanem

Grece Ghanem Instagram Story Highlight example

14. Amy Julliette Lefévre

Amy Julliette Lefévre Instagram Story Highlight example

15. Pernille Teisbaek

Pernille Teisbaek Instagram Story Highlight example


16. Disguised Toast

Disguised Toast Instagram Story Highlight example

17. Ninja

Ninja Instagram Story Highlight example

18. Markiplier

Markiplier Instagram Story Highlight example

19. Game Grumps

Game Grumps Instagram Story Highlight example

20. Kelsey Impicciche 

Kelsey Impicciche Instagram Story Highlight example

Instagram Highlight Cover Examples in the Lifestyle Industry

21. Chelsea Kauai

Chelsea Kauai Instagram Story Highlight example

22. Rach Parcell

Rach Parcell Instagram Story Highlight example

23. Gal Meets Glam

Gal Meets Glam Instagram Story Highlight example

24. Jack Morris

Jack Morris Instagram Story Highlight example

25. Zoë Sugg

Zoë Sugg Instagram Story Highlight example

Instagram Highlight Cover Examples in the Food Industry

26. Baked by Benji

Baked by Benji Instagram Story Highlight example

27. Anna Jones

Anna Jones Instagram Story Highlight example

28. Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi Instagram Story Highlight example

29. Julius Roberts

Julius Roberts Instagram Story Highlight example

30. Tieghan Gerard

Tieghan Gerard Instagram Story Highlight example

Instagram Highlight Cover Examples in the Marketing Industry

31. Elna Cain

Elna Cain Instagram Story Highlight example

32. Stefan Georgi

Stefan Georgi Instagram Story Highlight example

33. Nesha Woolery

Nesha Woolery Instagram Story Highlight example

34. Gary Vaynerchuk 

Gary Vaynerchuk Instagram Story Highlight example

35. Roberto Blake

Roberto Blake Instagram Story Highlight example

Now that you know how to keep people on your profile with aesthetic Instagram Highlight covers, what’s next? 

Since eyes are on your business bio, make the most of that space! Invite visitors to DM you for a special offer — a quick way to turn new followers into leads. can help you follow up with these leads immediately with InstaChamp — a full suite of Instagram-approved automation tools that help you streamline your direct messages, comments, story mentions, and more. 

Put a CTA (call-to-action) in your bio like this:

Larry Kim Instagram bio

And when followers message you, they’ll instantly receive a response like this one.

Larry Kim’s Auto-Response to DMs tool

See this tool in action by DMing us “hello!” at our Instagram profile (from the Instagram mobile app only). 

To get this feature on your own Instagram profile, try out InstaChamp for free and see what you think.

Want more Instagram Marketing tips? To stay up-to-date on SMS Marketing, Instagram Marketing, Growth Marketing, and more, consider subscribing. You can sign up using the form on the right-hand sidebar.


Grow Instagram followers and engagement with new tools for influencers, artists, brands and D2C businesses. Sign up to be the first to use tools that generate elite engagement via Instagram DMs.

FAQs about Aesthetic Instagram Highlight Covers

What are Instagram highlight covers?

Instagram highlight covers are small icons or images that are used to represent and categorize the different stories you’ve shared on your Instagram profile. They appear at the top of your Instagram profile and allow you to showcase your best content and important information.

Why should I use aesthetic Instagram highlight covers?

Aesthetic Instagram highlight covers can help you maintain a consistent and visually appealing profile. They allow you to create a cohesive look and feel for your Instagram highlights, enhancing the overall aesthetics of your profile and making it more attractive to your audience.

How can I create aesthetic Instagram highlight covers?

There are several ways to create aesthetic Instagram highlight covers. You can use graphic design tools like Canva or Adobe Photoshop to design your own covers from scratch. Alternatively, you can find pre-designed templates online or hire a professional graphic designer to create custom covers for you.

What elements should I consider when designing aesthetic Instagram highlight covers?

When designing aesthetic Instagram highlight covers, it’s important to consider elements such as color scheme, typography, icons or images, and overall visual consistency. Choose colors and fonts that align with your brand or personal style, and select icons or images that represent the content of each highlight category.

What size should Instagram highlight covers be?

Instagram highlight covers should be sized at 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels (a 9:16 aspect ratio) to ensure optimal display on Instagram. This size ensures that the covers appear sharp and clear on both mobile devices and desktop.

How do I add Instagram highlight covers to my profile?

To add Instagram highlight covers to your profile, follow these steps:
Open your Instagram profile.
Tap the “+” button below your bio.
Select the stories you want to add to a highlight.
Tap “Next.”
Choose a cover image for your highlight or upload a custom cover image.
Edit the highlight name if desired.
Tap “Add” to create the highlight and add it to your profile.

Can I change or update my Instagram highlight covers?

Yes, you can change or update your Instagram highlight covers at any time. Simply follow the steps mentioned in the previous answer to edit an existing highlight and choose a new cover image or design.

Where can I find free or affordable aesthetic Instagram highlight covers?

There are various resources available online where you can find free or affordable aesthetic Instagram highlight covers. Websites like Canva, Freepik, or Etsy offer a wide range of pre-designed templates that you can customize to suit your needs. You can also search for “free Instagram highlight covers” or “affordable Instagram highlight covers” to find other options.

How can I make my Instagram highlight covers stand out?

To make your Instagram highlight covers stand out, consider using unique and eye-catching designs, incorporating your brand colors or personal style, and ensuring consistency across all covers. Experiment with different fonts, icons, or images to create a visually appealing and cohesive look for your highlights.

Do Instagram highlight covers affect engagement on my profile?

While Instagram highlight covers themselves don’t directly affect engagement on your profile, having aesthetically pleasing and well-organized highlights can make your profile more visually appealing and engaging to your audience. They can help showcase your best content, highlight important information, and create a positive impression on visitors to your profile.

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