Whether you’re using Instagram for business or just having fun on your personal account, we can all do better than the same cookie cutter Canva template.

Better editing apps and how to uplevel your Instagram stories.

Don’t get me wrong. Canva can be very good for a lot of things. It’s always nice when you find one app that can do everything you need – resize images for various social channels, provide easy-to-use templates, add stickers, animate text, and upload your branded fonts. But to access a lot of those features, you’ll need to pay $10 a month. And as someone who has been in the industry for six years (which is about as long as Canva has been around) I am here to give you a very important message. You may not want to hear it, but it needs to be said.

I can tell when you’re using Canva. And so can everyone else.

If you’re feeling *personally victimized* right now, take a breath and step away from the situation. Maybe you’re really proud of the logo you made or the Instagram story templates that you totally customized so definitely totally for sure no one could recognize them anymore. If you’re happy with your work and the job is done, then stop here. It’s not my job to tell you what to do.

But if you’ve been feeling uninspired and don’t think your creations are as “on brand” as you’d like them to be, you’re in the right place! There are tons of other resources out there – free resources, I might add – that allow you create truly unique work. They’re so easy to use, you won’t even need templates. So, I’ll start with some tips and tricks you should know before you download any apps, share my Holy Grail app, then show you a few more fun resources that can take your Instagram game to the next level. We’re going to have some fun.

Tips and Tricks for Creating Better Instagram Stories

If you’re here to learn how to up your Instagram story game, then there is one trick that you need to learn before we get into any of these apps. You’ve GOT to learn how to attach your own stickers to your stories. And I’m not talking about GIFs. Most people don’t know that you can save your own stickers to your phone and simply copy and paste them to your stories. Or maybe you totally know that and I’m old news. Who knows?

Either way, here are a few screenshots from one of my stories to show you how I make it happen for mine. If you think it would be easier to learn with a video, head to the “stories tut” highlight on my Instagram to watch along and try it yourself!

Step 1: Pick the picture you want to post to stories.
Step 2: Hop over to your photos and find the sticker you want to add. Click “COPY.” Then head back to your stories.
Step 3: When you get back to your stories, your sticker will pop up in the bottom left corner. Click “ADD STICKER.”
Step 4: You can then add other stickers or text overtop to finish things off. Whatever you like! Just do it!

The apps we talk about below can be used to create your own unique sticker pack. Or you can stay tuned until the end of the post to download my stickers and start using them from your phone right away!

This Design App is 110% Better Than Canva.

Let’s talk about SparkPost. I am an Adobe Queen. They can do no wrong. I have used Lightroom and Photoshop for work pretty much every day since I graduated college, and I have had a lot of fun learning how to use other tools like Illustrator to up my game. Most users who aren’t full-blown graphic designers are hesitant to hop on the Adobe bandwagon because their apps take a bit of a learning curve. But the iPhone apps are a great deal more user friendly than their desktop big brothers. And they offer app exclusives, like SparkPost, that utilize their best social posting features.

SparkPost is, so far, the only FREE app that I’ve found that allows you to create resizable vector images and animated social media posts on iPhone, without the need to bounce back and forth from your desktop. That alone is enough of a reason to get on board.

Here are just a few things you can use SparkPost for.

  1. Standard posts and story design. In this way, the app is exactly like Canva. You can create graphics in a variety of sizes right from your phone and download in PNG format. If you already have an Adobe subscription, you can log onto your account online and upload your own brand fonts as well, just like on the Canva paid plan.
  2. Animate your stories and posts. There are a variety of animation features on SparkPost that bring new life to your text and stickers. Canva just recently came out with their animation feature, but you can only choose from their animated stickers. With SparkPost, you can animate anything you want!
  3. Create your own stickers. SparkPost allows even unpaid accounts to download anything with a transparent background to create vector images (just choose white background for your design, then opt for transparent background when you begin your download.) You can use this feature to create your own unique sticker pack and save to your phone for a quick copy and paste on top of your stories. It’ll look like you used a fancy paid app to create each story!

Other Apps To Up Your Instagram Game

  • PicsArt: Lindy Goodson does tons of tutorials on her YouTube channel about PicsArt. It’s not really my style, but I have used it to make some collages in the past. If you’ve seen people turn furniture, bathing suits, etc. into glittery masterpieces, this is probably the app they’re using.
  • Clipomatic: If you’re leveraging your Instagram to sell online, this app is worth the paid download. You can transcribe and caption your live try-ons etc. automatically for a one time app purchase under $5.
  • Storyluxe: This app started as a means to frame your photos to look like old film, but now it’s so much more. They have hundreds of free templates for collages or individual photos, free backgrounds, and resizing available for social posting and stories.
  • Unfold: A lot like Storyluxe, but with more basic templates if you were going for a minimal look.
  • Adobe Photoshop Sketch: Another great resource for creating vector art for stickers using watercolor and acrylic paint effects!

Download My Sticker Pack!

Enter your email below or on my signup page here (I promise not to spam you or sell you to the government) and I’ll send you my personal sticker pack to get you started!