How to Design Instagram Stories: 7 Tips to Wow Your Audience!

Want to design Instagram Stories that wow your followers? It’s not as easy as it looks!

If you want to design Instagram Stories that catch the attention of your followers (and make your brand look great), you’ll need to use all the features at your fingertips.

With fun, new features being added regularly and all sorts of Instagram Stories hacks available, it’s now easier than ever to create well-branded stories that are sure to impress your followers!

Here are 7 tips to help you design beautiful Instagram Stories that your followers will love:
design instagram stories

How to Design Instagram Stories to Match Your Brand Colors

Instagram Stories is a great place to show off your brand’s personality, but it’s important to keep your brand in mind when you design Instagram Stories.

An easy way to keep your Instagram Stories recognizable and on brand is to work with your existing brand color palette.

But what if Instagram doesn’t offer your brand colors in its color presets?

You can easily access more colors by holding your finger down on one of the suggested colors, which will open up a full color wheel.

A great tip to design Instagram Stories that look super professional is to work with the existing colors in your photo or video.

For example, if you’re posting a photo of a desert landscape, using a harsh color like red for your text doesn’t really work.

Instead, a great tip for beginner designers is to use the existing colors in your photo or video. 

Lucky for you, the eyedropper tool lets you access every color within your Instagram Stories content, so you can perfectly match your text, writing, or doodles to your image or brand colors!

How to do it:

  1. Tap the pen icon or the “Aa” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to open the brush or text tool
  2. Tap the color dropper icon on the left of the color palette, a color dropper tool will appear on your screen
  3. Hold your finger down on the screen and move the color dropper around on your image or video to select a color pixel from your Instagram Stories content
  4. When you’re satisfied with the color choice, release your finger and begin typing, writing, or doodling

Using the eyedropper tool, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a great looking story!

Learn how to use all the hidden Instagram Stories features in our free Instagram Stories course!


How to a Create Rainbow Text in Instagram Stories

If you want to make your Instagram Stories more colorful, you can create an eye-catching rainbow text effect, or an ombré effect using your brand colors. 

design instagram stories

How to Do It:

  1. Open an image or video inside Instagram Stories and type out your text.
  2. Tap on your text to select and highlight (to do this on an iPhone, tap on the text and choose “Select All” which will highlight it).
  3. While your text is highlighted, press and hold one finger down on the color palette tool at the bottom of your screen, this will open up the entire color spectrum.
  4. Keep your finger held down on the color spectrum and at the same time use another finger to press on the right side of your highlighted word.
  5. With one finger held down on the color palette, and one on your highlighted text, begin to drag both fingers toward the left side of your screen at the same time.

design instagram stories

You’ll see your text begin to change color, letter by letter, as you drag your finger across the color spectrum! You can move your finger faster or slower for additional color variations, or alternate the direction that you drag your fingers across the screen to achieve an entirely different result.  

Have fun and play with various speeds, color palettes, and directions until you get an overall look that you love. The best part is this technique works with all of the Instagram Stories Type Font options!

How to Design a Drop Shadow Effect in Your Instagram Stories

Once you’re comfortable with the basics of adding text into your Instagram Stories you can get creative and make your content feel more professional with a few simple tricks.

You can add more dimension and depth to your text by layering it to create a drop-shadow look.

design instagram stories

How to do it:

  1. Tap the “Aa” icon and write out your message
  2. Next, tap the “Aa” icon again and write out the exact same message using a different color
  3. Arrange the top layer of text so that it’s slightly off-center from the bottom layer of text



How to Design Fonts in Instagram Stories

By mixing the various fonts available within the Type tool, or by using text in tandem with the pen or brush tools, you can give your Instagram Stories a modern typographical look.

Using just the fonts in your Instagram app, you’re able to mix and match fonts to design Instagram Stories that look super professional and creative.

design instagram stories

How to do it:

  1. Type out each word or line of text separately (this way you can easily move text around and change the size and font of each line individually)
  2. Change the fonts on specific words in order to emphasize them
  3. Play with your text size and placement until you get a look that you like
  4. Helpful guidelines will appear to show you when your text is centered and aligned

Try pairing complementary fonts, or alternating text with writing or doodling to make your stories really stand out! Use a mixture of fonts, highlights, lowercase, and uppercase letters to make your stories more interesting.

Tip: Using a stylus for writing or doodling makes the process much easier!

How to Hack Your Phone Keyboard For More Instagram Stories Design Elements

You can easily add more interest to your Instagram Stories by adding various symbols and punctuation marks from your phone’s keyboard and using them as design elements.

design instagram stories

How to do it:

  1. Tap the “Aa” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to open the text tool
  2. Using your keyboard, select a symbol (the following examples make use of a bullet point symbol and the “approximate” symbol as design elements)
  3. Change the size of your symbol or punctuation by using the slider on the left or by pinching or pulling two fingers on your screen.
  4. Add additional elements like text, stickers, etc

design instagram stories

Simply by adjusting the size and placement of certain symbols and punctuation marks, you can add more personality and interest into your Instagram Stories!

Take your Instagram Stories to the next level by learning everything you need to know about using Instagram Stories for Business in our new course!


How to Pin Text, Stickers, Emojis, and GIFs into Your Instagram Stories

Did you know that instead of just layering design elements on top of your Instagram Stories, you can actually pin text, stickers, emojis, and GIFs into your videos and boomerangs — so they show up at the perfect moment?

By pinning creative elements into your Instagram Stories videos, you can surprise your viewers and keep them engaged!

design Instagram Stories

How to do it:

  1. Record your video then add creative elements like text, stickers, emojis, or GIFs
  2. Tap and hold your creative element  
  3. Use the slider bar at the bottom of the screen to scroll through the video to find where you want to pin your creative element.
  4. Move the creative element to your desired location in your video and tap Pin

How to Save Time Designing Instagram Stories Using Templates

You can quickly + easily create multiple templates for your Instagram Stories with a design platform like Canva. Creating Instagram Stories templates not only saves a ton of time, but it also helps you share more Instagram Stories on a regular basis!

design instagram stories

How to do it (on the desktop):

  1. Open Canva, the choose “create a design”.
  2. Select “Use Custom dimensions” and type in “1080 x 1920” pixels
  3. Design your templates (start from scratch or use Canva’s library of templates)
  4. Name and save your templates (this makes it easy to create future stories in advance)
  5. When you’re ready to use your template, download it to your computer then transfer to your phone
  6. Open your template in Instagram Stories
  7. Add any additional design elements and post

design instagram stories

With the Canva app, you can design Instagram Stories right from your phone, or while you’re on the go!

How to do it: (on the app):

  1. Open the Canva app
  2. Select the “Your Story” canvas option across the top
  3. Design your templates (start from scratch or use Canva’s library of templates)
  4. When you’re ready to use your template, download it to your phone
  5. Open your template in Instagram Stories
  6. Add any additional design elements and post

As you can see, you don’t need to be professional designer to create Instagram Stories that pack a visual punch. With a few simple tricks and a little bit of creativity, you can create Instagram Stories that help you stay top of mind with your followers and keep them coming back for more!

Ready to learn even more ways that Instagram Stories can help you grow your following and make more sales? Watch our free Instagram Stories for Business course now! 

Written By

Stephanie Gilbert

Stephanie Gilbert is the CEO of Small Talk Social, a boutique social media agency for lifestyle brands & the founder of CEO Yeah!, which provides IRL (in real life) adventures for online bosses. You can follow her on Instagram at @stephjgilbert


Her mission is to empower creative entrepreneurs to build a life + a business that they love– via online business mentorship + in-person retreats. Follow all of her adventures