Design and Layout • How-To How to Design an Instagram Story in Adobe Photoshop

Establish a polished, consistent look for your channel.

Starting with one template, you can create many designs, looks, and layouts. Add content to an Instagram story template in Adobe Photoshop.

Headshot of Lidia Lukianova

Hi, I’m Lidia Lukianova. I’m an artist and a designer at Adobe. My favorite projects include illustration, identity, lettering, and animation.

Before You Start

I created a template in Photoshop that features a mix of layouts you can use to practice these techniques.

Step 1: Start with a Template

I designed sample story layouts on separate artboards. Each artboard is 1080 x 1920 to match the dimensions of an Instagram story. Later you’ll update the placeholders with your own text, graphic, or photo.

Six artboard layouts with black, gray, white backgrounds, shapes, and text

Step 2: Shape Your Image

Circular images are fun and stylish, but photos are generally rectangular. This is where clipping masks come in handy. I created a gray circle on the first artboard. To fill this shape with a photo, select the ellipse in the Layers panel and then drag an image onto the artboard so that the new image is just above the ellipse layer. Right-click the image layer and choose Create Clipping Mask. Use the Move tool to position the image within the circle and use Transform, Control+T (Windows) or Command+T (macOS), to resize it.

Move tool upper left, artboard shows circular image of person holding red flowers, flowers layer clipped to ellipse layer

Step 3: Change Your Type

I used filler text to visualize where titles and short messages could appear throughout the design. Choose the Type tool and double-click the text to replace it with your own words. Adjust the Character panel settings to customize the text’s size, spacing, or color.

Type tool upper left, artboard shows “The Magic of Flowers” text below circular image, Character panel shows text settings

Step 4: Color Your Story

A custom color palette can individualize any story. Click the shape layer you want to update and open the Properties panel. Click the fill or stroke color swatch. Now either choose from the available recent colors or presets, or click the multicolor icon to display the Color Picker. From there, use the Eyedropper tool to choose a color from an imported image on the artboard. Once you click OK, Photoshop fills the shape with the new color.

Yellow and black artboard background, Eyedropper tool picks from an image of flower petals, Properties panel shows color swatch

Step 5: Get Your Story Out

When you’re ready to post your story, use Shift+click to select all the artboard layers you want to export, choose Export As from the flyout menu, and set the format to JPG. Once you click Export, Photoshop names the exported files based on their layer names.

To post on Instagram, you’ll need to get those exported images into your phone. To do this, save them to a cloud app that you can access on your phone—such as the mobile Creative Cloud app. Each static image will appear in the story for five seconds. Mix video with images to enhance your story.

Artboard layers panel shows Export As from flyout menu, Export As dialog shows JPG as the selected format

Highlight Your Range

Tell multiple stories in a consistent way by customizing a template to show new colors, text, and images. Share your design with @AdobeCreate to inspire others to tell their stories.

Six finished Instagram story layouts with colors, text, and images of flowers

Note: Project files included with this tutorial are for practice purposes only.

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