The art of the Instagram story

By Emma Naille

If you haven’t noticed yet, Instagram stories are now a ~thing~. And while I am still learning the art of the Instagram story, I thought I could offer some advice if you need some new inspo or are just now diving into the depths of story-making. There’s a lot of fancy stuff you can do with it, but you can also keep it simple.

The most important thing is to find your style. For example, my sister is an Instagram story QUEEN (and a lot of these tips I am stealing from her), but she also spends forever on her stories, which I am just too impatient for. You first have to figure out what vibe you are going for and decide whether your stories are going to be an art form or just simple snapshots of your day.
Courtesy of Laney Naille



The first important aspect of Insta stories is the text. You can add text to your story by tapping once on the screen and then change the font with the button on the top (which will say “classic” because this is the default font). You can also add a colored or gray box to the background of the text by clicking the “A” button at the top left of the screen.


Another way to add color behind the text is to use the marker tool. I usually increase the weight of the marker and use the eyedropper tool to pick a color from my picture/gif/video and then swipe over the text to add a colored background that is a little softer than the box.


Courtesy of Emma Naille


You can also put squiggles or waves behind the text if you want to be fancy. Another way to play with the text is to try out different sizes and placements. You can change the size of the text by pinching with two fingers over the top of it and can drag it around. If you put the text near any of the sides, a blue line will appear showing you the border.

Another thing you can do to make the text really pop is mirror block letters. To do this just write something in all caps in one color, then type it again in another color and arrange the letters, so they offset each other.

Courtesy of Laney Naille


Location and Tags

To add your location, hashtags, or to tag someone in a story, tap on the face icon at the top right. Once you choose the location, hashtag, or tag, you can change the style by tapping on the text. I use the gray style because it is more inconspicuous.

Gifs and Stickers

Gifs and stickers appear in the same menu as the location, mentions, and hashtags. Gifs and stickers are an easy and fun way to add some pizzazz to your story without having to be super artsy.


You can also draw on your story with the pen tool. There is a pen, marker, chalk, and neon-looking setting for drawing. You can also change the colors of your drawings using the colors at the bottom of the screen, or by picking up a color from your image using the eyedropper (I like doing this because it gives your story a more cohesive look). Simple details you can add to your stories to make them pop is to add arrows and outlines.


Another feature of the insta story is highlights. These are previous Instagram stories that people can view on your profile. You can organize your highlights in several different ways such as month or category (like friends, food, places, etc.)
Courtesy of Kristin Johns


To add a story to a highlight, save the story and then click “edit highlight” and it will give you the option to add one of your archived stories. You can use images off of Pinterest for your highlight covers, or you can create your own using Canva. Some different options for making your covers is to have each highlight a different color or to have them all the same color with a different icon representing what the highlight is about.



Instagram stories are also a great way to advertise different events or fundraisers you want people to participate in. One way to advertise is to use one picture and then keep adding text to that picture so that as people click through your story, new words appear with each click, directing their attention to what you want them to read. You can also use Canva to make it look more professional by adding backgrounds or special text.


The best way to improve your Instagram story skills is to take inspiration from others. Here are some Instagram accounts that I look at for inspiration:

Faith Lee (this is a friend of mine and she is so cute, go check her out!!)

Zoe Sugg/Zoella

Jess Conte

Kristin Johns

Poppy Deyes

Katy Bellotte