How To Create Custom Instagram Stories

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Know you should be using Instagram Stories, and see other brands doing it beautifully, but you can’t seem to get to grips with how to make your own? Here’s your chance to give your Instagram the creative boost it deserves, and harness the power of one of the most engaged with elements of social media.

Whilst the in-app features allow you some degree of creativity; you can tweak the font style and colour, add gifs, emojis and even music now, so can everyone else. If you want to stand out, use Instagram Stories to support your brand, capture your audience, you’ve got to put some effort and flex your creativity!

Instagram Stories – Why Use Them?

Whilst they only stay live in your main story for 24 hours, you can now add them to highlights, allowing followers to revisit them time and time again. This means you can plan for more than timely content in your stories, you can create evergreen content.

They are great for various things including but not limited to;

  1. Promoting products or services

  2. Sharing insights into a trend or conversation

  3. Directing people to blog content

Instagram Stories – Dimensions & Ratios

1080 pixels Wide x 1920 pixels tall - aspect ration of 9:16

Instagram Stories – Designing Your Own

First things first, you need Canva, a free desktop site and app that will REVOLUTIONISE your visual creativity on Instagram Stories, and social media as a whole.

Whilst previously you had to use custom dimensions on Canva, they now have a template that is set up and ready for you. Simply click on the Instagram Stories template.

Once you are on Canva, click on Create A Design, then in Social Media you’ll see Instagram Stories template, this will open a new window and a blank template the perfect dimensions for Instagram Stories.

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Once you have the black document open you have two choices; firstly you can simply add an image (via the uploader button) and then overlay text onto it, or you can use the pre-made template which has elements added into it to give you a style to follow. When you are first starting out, this is a great option, and even a year down the line, one I use most often as it helps to give me a starting off point.

Each of these templates has a variety of options within them, and although the colours are added in, you can alter them, along with the fonts.

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You can use the huge selection of fonts within Canva, or if you have specific ones for your brand, you can upload them in the font drop down menu.

Once you’ve chosen the fonts, worked out what colours work best, how they should be positioned, you should have a clearly readable, easy to digest slide.

Keep it short and simple, remember they only have 10 seconds to see it, if you need to say more, spread it over more slides.

Below is an example of a series of stories I have created to promote this blog post.


Once you’re happy with your story or series of stories, you can simply download them in one go, I suggest .png over .jpg as the resolution tends to be better even though the file size is a touch larger.

Then I simply Airdrop the images from my MacBook to my phone, however if you don’t have access to that you could upload them to iCloud to access on your phone, or indeed simply email them to yourself then save to your phone camera roll.

Instagram Stories - Uploading

Open the Instagram app, swipe right to open the camera then click the square in the bottom left hand corner or head to your profile and tap your profile picture

2. Choose your image from your camera roll

3. Before you hit send I suggest you also add items such as tagged accounts mentioned, locations and any hashtags that would support your Instagram Stories (remember that they are not clickable or trackable if added in Canva to the design - it’s worth considering this when you are designing the stories, leaving space on the design for these tags)

4. Once you’re ready to go and everything is in place, simply press the ‘+’ button to add the image to your Story

5. If you have more than one story, repeat the steps above and they will upload in order

My final tips are simple';

  • Keep it consistent, fonts, colours and design elements

  • Make it personal, don’t forget you can still add Polls and Questions to your stories that allow people to engage with your stories more

  • Have fun! Don’t get yourself tied in knots worrying about making them perfect, they just need to be on brand for you. Don’t fret about what others are doing, unless it inspires you!

Please let me know how you get on with this and if it helps you flex your creativity!