How to Create Instagram Highlight Icons

Highlight Icons are kinda the new "big" thing in Instagram, especially for bloggers and businesses. Find out how to easily create them below! 

Instagram Highlight Icons.png

Creating (even if you're not creative)...

Let's talk Highlight Icons. You may have seen these chic lil' things adorning the profiles of some of your favorite brands or bloggers and thought, "hmmm...those look good, BUT, I'm not creative enough," (or "I don't know how," or "they probably hired someone to make them," or insert any other thought you had about creating them for yourself)." Trust me, you might not have a creative bone in your body - but this, you can totally do.

If you're new new to the IG platform, you might be wondering why they're even important or what in the heck "Highlight Icons" even are. Let's back up to our old friend, Instagram stories. Stories are fun pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours. For bloggers and brands, they can be a little less "perfect" that your regular posts and can announce new blog posts, new in-store items or what's currently going on in your world. They're important because well-over 200 million people have taken to watching them daily and that includes YOUR followers. In other words, your potential customers, patrons or readers are looking at stories.

So that leads us to the topic of this email, Highlight Icons. Back in December IG started allowing users to "highlight" stories that they didn't want to disappear. Once highlighted, users can place them in an appropriate or newly named file that will live forever (or until you un-highlight it) on your profile. If you think of your profile as a website for a second, highlights are the various pages within that site viewers can navigate to. If you don't create highlight icons, your highlights will default to the first picture "highlighted" within that topic. That's not a terrible thing, but having a cohesive look and feel will give your profile a much more professional feel. Here's how you can do it, easily and free! In the below screenshot of my profile, the pink circles with words beneath them, are my Highlights.

1) Come up with allll of your topics...5 or more is ideal, but you can start with less and create more later if needed.
2) Head to (canva also has a free app, but the website is SO much easier to use).
3) Once there, and an account has been created, in the upper right-hand corner, click on "Use Custom Dimensions." Type in 1080x1920 and hit "Design." A new page should pop up with your design space and in it, a plain white rectangle.
4) The first thing I like to do is pick a background color. Choose one that fits your theme. If looking at the icons I created above, the background color is grey. To choose, yours, make sure "layouts" is selected on the left-hand side of your design screen, and then click on the very first option, which should be a single landscape rendering. After you've clicked on it, it should now be in what was the plain white area.
5) Select your rectangle and notice in the left-hand corner of your design space, the color box icon has now appeared. Click on it. You can choose any of the default colors, or for a more custom color, just click on the "+" sign and play around with the endless amount of options. In the above icons, I've chosen the middle grey option. Once clicked, your rectangle should then change to that color.
6)  Next, click on the "Elements" option on the left and I always go first to the "Free Photos" option. Type in a word that correlates to your first topic and then select "Illustrations." You will be able to keep a more cohesive feel when you use illustrations versus actual photos. I also tend to think one color scheme looks best. For instance, on mine, I'm only using black and white icons. If you find a illustration you like, but it doesn't match your color scheme, no worries, the colors can easily be changed! 
7) Select the icon you like and poof, it should end up perfectly centered on your rectangle. You can resize if needed or if you would like to change the colors, if the icon is selected you should see the colors in the upper left of your design screen. Just tap on the color you want to change and change it to whatever you would like.
8) Once you've settled on the design, click "Download" in the upper blue-ish colored bar. Make sure either "PNG" or "JPG" is selected. I always download to my Dropbox and then open them on my phone, but if you don't have Dropbox, you can download to your desktop, email them to yourself and then download to your phone.
9) Once you have them on your phone, you will need to create a story and add each of your topics to that story as separate pictures. Once they're live, just click the "highlight" button toward the lower right. Instagram will ask if you want to add it to something you already have, or create a "new" topic. Each of your icon photos should mean you need to select "new."
10) Type in the topic name and viola! Now, you can now highlight future stories and add them to their corresponding topics.

Just a couple of tips: 
1) Don't add words while in Canva, this is done in Instagram.
2) Instagram also makes it circular for you.
3) These are small little labels...keep them clean.
4) The order they show up in your profile will constantly change. The first "highlight" that shows up is the most recent story you've highlighted. That said, if you're thinking about using only two background colors and every other highlight will be a one or the other, it won't work out like that. Keep your background to just one color, or a different color for every single highlight.

That's it! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!