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The Secret Ingredients to Grow a Healthy Brand

  • Writer's pictureNicole Powell

Our Favorite Design Apps for Instagram Stories

Updated: Jun 3

Are you using Instagram Stories for your business? If you’re not, you could be missing out on a big opportunity to engage your clients and community.

Even though Instagram Stories are often seen as less scripted and more authentic than feed posts, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a visual strategy. Creating clean, aesthetically pleasing, and on-brand Stories is crucial for generating engagement.

Today we’re sharing our three favorite third-party apps to create jaw-dropping stories, plus tips for using Instagram’s built-in tools to design your Story content. Let’s dive in!

Favorite Image Design App: Unfold

Unfold is a great app for creating image collages with minimal text. For businesses that share mainly images such as photographers, food blogs, or travel sites - Unfold is a great option.

They have a free version with a few templates included, but their Pro version comes with 100+ additional templates. For only $19.99/year, we think upgrading to the Pro version is worthwhile to access the extra functionality.

You can easily export designs straight to Instagram or save them to your device. The downside? Unfold is only available on your mobile device, so you will need to have access to all of your photos there.

Favorite Animated Design App: Mojo

Mojo offers free templates for creating short videos and animated Stories. We’ve seen a big increase in animation on social media as of late —in Stories, feed posts, and digital ads—and we expect to see this trend continuing.

Animated stories offer a way to create more engaging and interesting content. With an app like Mojo, you don’t need any design experience or software to deliver this content.

Mojo again offers a free and paid version. We found that the free version is more expansive than Unfold, with many templates, colors, and fonts available that would suit most users’ needs. The paid version ($39.99/ year) does have some added benefits like adding specialized fonts and logos to your stories.

If you’re looking to dabble in animated stories, Mojo is a great place to start!

Best All-Around Design App: Canva

Canva has been around for a while, but it continues to be our all-around favorite design app. We love Canva for its versatility and pre-sized templates. We end up using Canva for most of our design needs, from Instagram Stories to Facebook posts to flyers and presentations.

Canva has tons of Instagram Story templates to choose from and you can customize all of the colors. The free version includes a lot of font options, but you can also upload your own fonts with the Pro plan to ensure all content is on-brand.

The main perk for us is the ability to store images in the Canva library and the fact that Canva is available on desktop and mobile. Being able to create on desktop in a huge timesaver for us.

Canva has less in the way of animated design options and video, but it is our go-to for most other design needs!

Best All-Around Design App: Canva

The main perk for us is the ability to store images in the Canva library and the fact that Canva is available on desktop and mobile. Being able to create on a desktop in a huge timesaver for us.

Layout mode offers 6 templates for creating simple image collages, which you can then overlay with text.

Another great option for posting live content is the growing popularity of user-generated filters. You can save these filters so they are accessible when you are creating stories. One thing to note is that filters can’t be applied to existing images, they must be used when taking photos in the app.

Using any one of these design apps will get you on your way to posting engaging and on-brand content in your Instagram Stories. Tell us your favorite design app in the comments!

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Nicole Powell

Meet Nicole Powell, an expert whose journey spans from Manila to the Midwest, helping businesses transform into profitable and brag-worthy brands with research, creativity and neuroscience. With a determination to uplift fellow entrepreneurs, Nicole draws from her experience and mentorships with industry leaders for the past 15+ years. Her mission is clear: pay it forward, sharing the knowledge and skills she's acquired to empower others.

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