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Social Media Design Tips & Blogs

How to Design Instagram Stories That Captivate Your Audience

Updated on March 17, 2019
13 minute read

Learn how to design Instagram Stories like a pro in this free video workshop with Over & Later! Watch how to use templates, add effects, or design Instagram Stories from scratch on your phone.

Published March 17, 2019

Ready to design Instagram Stories that wow your followers and increase engagement?

If you want to make your brand look great and get more views, you need to think outside of the Instagram app and get creative with other apps for Instagram Stories.

In this free video workshop, you’ll learn how to design Instagram Stories from scratch, create a color palette, and more using the popular design app Over! Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to plan and optimize your stories too.

Watch now for free:

Getting Started: How to Design Instagram Stories with Over

When it comes to growing your audience and showcasing your brand, Instagram Stories is the best place to be!

It’s creative, engaging and with a strong Instagram Stories strategy, it’s easy to get your audience to love what you’re selling.

The first step? Learning how to design Instagram Stories that match your brand aesthetic, captivate your audience, and turn visitors into followers. And that’s where the design app Over comes in!

The best news is that you don’t need any prior design knowledge to get started. Even complete graphic design newbies can create beautiful Instagram Stories!

Thanks to Over’s Instagram Stories templates — pre-designed layouts created by in-house graphic designers that are completely customizable — you can create stories that match your Instagram aesthetic seamlessly and showcase your business in just minutes, using only your phone!

Cut Design Time in Half with Instagram Stories Templates:

Pre-designed layouts can make the job of designing Instagram Stories much easier by taking out all the hard work of figuring out exactly where to place your text, image, or video.

It can be hard to imagine how awesome something will look when you have no visual reference, and that’s exactly why we love templates!

With Over, you can scroll through a feed of beautiful templates which might help spark an idea and inspire your next set of Instagram Stories.

But more importantly, since templates have been created by expert designers, you know that however you customize your template, it will look fresh, new, and interesting when one of your followers sees it. It’s takes all of the guess work out when it comes to knowing how to design Instagram Stories!

Think of your template as your blueprints to your Instagram Stories — you know where the “structure” elements like text, images, and logos can go, but you’ll want to add the personal touches like your brand colors, graphics, and animations to really make it your own.

Here are some of our top tips to customize templates and design Instagram Stories with Over:

Tip #1: Use a Consistent Instagram Stories Template for Your Posts

With such a huge selection of Instagram Stories to choose from in the Over app, we know it can be tempting to use a different template each time. But this could really compromise your branding and might impact how your audience recognizes your posts in the future.

So staying consistent with what style of template you use is important! To help you do that, we recommend saving the templates you love to a folder in the Over app for fast and easy access later.

Once you’ve found your favorites, you can mix and match to create your stories!

Tip #2: Choose Complementary Fonts or Add Your Brand Fonts

Choosing fonts that look great together, or even better, using your own brand fonts, is an easy way to scale up your custom template design.

If you want to add your brand’s fonts with Over, just follow these steps:

  1. Airdrop your fonts from your computer to your phone

  2. Accept the files on your phone to install the files

  3. Open the Over app, and navigate to fonts in any of your draft templates

  4. Your fonts should be installed in the available font options!

For Later’s Instagram Stories, we’ve integrated our brand font, Poppins, to Over so we can design Instagram Stories that match our brand and creative style on our website.

You can also browse the huge selection of fonts that Over offers until you find one or two that suit your brand and aesthetic. Over even has “paired fonts” that can help take the guesswork out of matching different fonts together, but here are some tips if you’re picking out fonts for your Instagram Stories designs:

  1. Pair handwritten fonts with bold angular fonts.

  2. Pair san-serif fonts with serif fonts.

  3. Pair chunky sans-serif fonts with light serif fonts.

Tip #3: Integrate Your Brand Images or Search For Stock Images

There’s no denying that when you design Instagram Stories, your images are one of the most important factors to consider!

With Over, you can include your own branded images and videos into your template designs. Or you can easily find gorgeous stock photos using Pixabay in-app.

One trick we use to find the right stock photo for a specific feel or style is to actually search by theme instead of searching for the exact image you need. For example, if your style is beachy and boho, then search boho in Pixabay and select an image that suits to add to your template!

Tip #4: Add Some Animation Elements to Your Instagram Stories

Animated video is big in the design community right now and using them in your stories will give you an instant wow factor.

If you don’t have an in-house graphic designer to help you with animations, you can use Over’s media library of graphics and animations to customize your templates!

Just remember to always find animations that complement your overall Instagram aesthetic and brand style! Learn more about how to animate Instagram Stories here.

Tip #5: Find Your Brand Color Palette For Instagram Stories

And on the topic of your Instagram aesthetic, you want to make sure that while you’re customizing your Over templates, you design Instagram Stories that integrate your brand color palette!

Sticking to a color palette in your Instagram Stories is key to building brand memorability — whether you have a business or you’re building a personal brand, keeping that color scheme consistent is key!

It’s super easy to change the colors of your font, background, and other elements in your template.

Simply tap on the element you’d like to change – like the background or text box, and select color from the options at the bottom of your screen.

Here you can select colors from the same color palette associated with the template, or tap the color wheel for more options.

To fine-tune your color, you can drag the color scales to edit the selected color, or type in the precise color code you want.

If you don’t have a specific color palette, then here’s a neat trick to help you find one:

In the search bar in templates, search for a color palette. Over has created a library of color palettes based on current trends and brand styles, so when you see something you like, simply tap it to open it.

Each block here is a color in this image or design and represents a color in the palette. But here’s the best part – you can save this palette to use in other designs.

First, check to see if the blocks are locked in the template and simply unlock them in the layers.

Then tap on a block to edit it, and then tap on a color.

This will open all the colors in the design — each of these dots is a color in the palette. Now, to save this palette, tap this arrow here, and it will open the palettes tab. Simply tap “save palette,” give it a name, and save it.

Tip #6: Add Some Interesting Design Elements To Your Instagram Stories Template

Remember that the key to growing your following with Instagram Stories is to stand out from the crowd!

And what better way to do that than to design Instagram Stories with cool and edgy graphic elements like bokeh and glitch effects on your posts!

Over has a bunch of these graphics packs ranging from glitter to bokeh, light leaks, and glitch effects that can be used with the Blur tool.

Here’s an example on how to use the bokeh effect:

Start with your image in your template, then open the graphics library and search for bokeh. Pick the bokeh colors you prefer, then increase the size to fill the page.

Now scroll all the way to the blend tool. Then scroll over to lighten or screen, and voila!

You can do this with a few other graphics packs of this style, like light leaks.

Brands are already using these kinds of effects to get creative with their stories and stand out from the crowd. Check out how Ariana Grande used the glitch effect in one of her Instagram posts!

Hopefully, with all these tips you’ll be able to start customizing and creating your own Instagram Stories posts!

And once you’re feeling confident and ready to design Instagram Stories for your brand with Over, it’s time to start planning and scheduling your content calendar so you can reach more of your audience!

The best news? You can download Over for free!

How to Plan, Schedule and Post Your Instagram Stories with Later

You’ve created your beautifully designed Instagram Stories in Over, so you’re ready to start planning your content calendar for Instagram Stories!  

Posting regularly on Instagram Stories is key to building an audience and increasing your views, and you can plan your stories just like you would plan any other social post in your content calendar.

To make your calendar planning easy, think about creating Instagram Stories themes for different days of the week. Check out how like @Everlane has their regular Transparency Tuesday Instagram Stories posts:

Or similarly, @Flytographer has a weekly Wedding Wednesday — they share their best wedding-themed content at the same time each week so their followers know what to expect, and when!

If you’re just starting out with Instagram Stories strategy, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re beginning to plan out your content:

#1: Create a Storyboard For Your Instagram Stories Posts

A great way to get started is to create a quick storyboard of your Instagram story to make sure it flows.

By outlining a beginning, middle, and end to your story, you can make sure to cover all the important points, while still making sure everything flows naturally. It’s also a great way to save time, share more stories, and stay consistent!

Once you’ve planned and created your content, it’s time to add it to your posting schedule.

#2: Schedule Your Instagram Stories Posts in Advance

Did you know that you can schedule Instagram Stories with Later? It can help you save a ton of time!

With stories scheduling, you can sit down and plan, shoot, design, and schedule all of your Instagram Stories for the entire week at once. This will help you create better stories, and you won’t have to be stressed wondering about what to post each day!

To schedule your Instagram Stories with Later, just upload your photos or videos to your Media Library, like you would for normal posts.

Next, click on the Stories button from your calendar view, and drag and drop your content onto the storyboard tool.

From here, you can visually plan your stories with the storyboard tool and rearrange them as needed, or add more stories.

You can also add a caption or a URL if you’re including a swipe-up link, which is super handy for saving custom URLs. Your caption or URL will be copied to your phone when it’s time to post.

To schedule your Instagram Stories, select the time and date from the drop-down menu beside the Save Story button.

When it’s time to post your story, all of your content will be sent to your phone through a push notification, making it easy to post to Instagram Stories in seconds.

Open the push notification and click “Publish Story from the Later app”

If you’re publishing multiple stories, you can even upload them all at once to make it even easier!

When selecting your Stories content, just hit “Select Multiple” to choose all your story slides in order, and then click next.

From here, you can add links, GIFs, or stickers for each slide, and when you’re done, click the next button to share to your story.

Planning and scheduling your Instagram Stories won’t just save you time, it can also take a lot of the headache out of creating a successful Instagram marketing strategy and ensure that you’re posting your very best content!

#3: Add Instagram Stories Highlights to Your Profile

Your Instagram Stories highlights are also a great way to highlight your new collections, or save your stories by category, so all the work you put into your stories can live for longer than just 24 hours.

If you’re not sure what categories of highlights you should have, think about the landing pages on your website: if you’re an online women’s store, you might have a highlight for your newest collection, best sellers, a FAQ highlight, info about shipping, and a fun “about” highlight where you can introduce your business and the people behind it!

Check out how @gotoskincare uses highlights to showcase their hero products, tutorials, and tips for their  skincare collection:

Don’t forget: You can upload cover photos that are on brand and go with your Instagram aesthetic, and these can be easily made with Over too!

#4: Track and Measure Your Instagram Stories Performance

Finally, if you want to create a winning Instagram Stories strategy, you need to have a clear idea of how to measure your performance.

You can view your Instagram Stories analytics in the Instagram app on your phone, or you can use Later’s Instagram Stories analytics!

And unlike the analytics in the Instagram app, which only saves your stories metrics for 2 weeks, you’ll be able to analyze up to 3 months’ worth of Instagram Stories with Later!

Important metrics that you’ll want to track include impressions, exits, and your completion rate.

While Instagram Stories analytics provides you with the data, it’s up to you to keep testing and tweaking your content strategy!

Testing different types of content and Instagram Stories features can help you identify trends, monitor “wins,” and help you create a fine-tuned Instagram Stories strategy that your audience loves!

And with the knowledge, you can return to the design stages and continue to improve your Instagram Stories templates and themes with Over.

So there you have it — you now have everything you need to design Instagram Stories with Over and start strategizing your future content for your profile!

Instagram Stories is showing no sign in slowing down, so if you’re not already creating and posting branded stories, now’s the time to get creative with your designs and making posts that wow your audience!

Want to grow your business with Instagram Stories? Now that you know how to design gorgeous stories, it’s time to work on the strategy behind creating and posting them. Watch our free Instagram Stories course now!

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