What is a youtube thumbnail? A Youtube thumbnail is an image that is displayed on the videos when they are not playing. A thumbnail along with the title serves to represent the content of your video to the viewers. So that they can get an idea of the video before they watch it. Whenever you upload a video to youtube, youtube automatically selects three stills from your video to be shown as a thumbnail, from which you can select any one. However, you also get an option to upload a custom made youtube thumbnail of the correct size and that’s where things get interesting.
Why is a custom thumbnail important?
A thumbnail is the first impression of your videos to the viewers. And the better the first impression, the more are the chances of your videos being watched. An automatically selected thumbnail barely represents your videos while a custom made thumbnail gives you the power to make a very good representation. You can make them informed about your videos and look appealing at the same time so that
What is the correct size for a youtube thumbnail?
The following are the specifications for a good youtube thumbnail:
- Image format – JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF
- Maximum size – width:1280, height:720
- Minimum size – width:640, height:360
- Aspect ratio – 16:9
- Maximum file size – 2MB
A youtube thumbnail needs to be in proper size so that it doesn’t look odd and also the image quality remains optimal.
Tips To Make A Perfect Youtube Thumbnail
Now that you know why a custom thumbnail is important and what the correct size specifications are, let’s discuss some important tips that will help you make a thumbnail that can actually help you get more traffic to your videos.
1) Be Honest
Your thumbnail must not represent anything that your video is not about. People often show such false things in their thumbnails just so that it looks interesting, thinking that it will cause people to watch their videos. But it doesn’t go this way at all. Initially, some people may watch your videos befooled by your thumbnails, but when they find out that you are lying, they will never watch your videos again. And your viewership will start to decline.
2) Photos To Use
Your video has one topic but you may be confused about what photo to use in the thumbnail. Here we have some basic guidelines for that.
- Well, first of all the photo should be interesting to look at.
- Next it should easily convey what your video is about, there should be no vagueness about the contents of the video. For example, both the photos below are about making cake, but the second one certainly conveys it more precisely.
- Another thing we can notice in the above images is that the second image shows the end result while the first one shows the process of making cakes. And you can see that the end result looks much more appealing than the process, so always use the photos of the end result in your thumbnails. You can also show a comparison between the beginning and the end if your topic is like that ,e.g., home decor, getting dressed, etc.
- You can also use faces in the thumbnails. Faces with related expressions can appear appealing to the viewers. However there can be many creative ways in which you can create a thumbnail, but just remember the basic guidelines that it should look interesting and convey the topic easily.
Include a shortened version of your video title in your text. But the text should not be more than 6 words otherwise it would take too much space and the image would look stuffed. Also, remember to use a clean font and place text over a clear background so that the text is easy to read. See the difference that the font and background can make
4) Don’t Reveal Too Much
Don’t reveal too much information about your video in your thumbnail. Otherwise many people may not watch it. Just reveal as much information that can arouse the interest of the viewers to watch the video. Let it be like a teaser for a movie.
5) Use Complementary Colors
Complimentary colours are such colour combinations that contrast with each other. The colours used in such combinations look vibrant with each other and are easily visible. Have a look at the image below to understand such pairs. Such a combination is used in the above image as well. As you can see, the photo of the girl has a yellow-brownish tone to it and therefore the complimentary purple colour background has been used.
6) Include Logo
Include the logo of your channel in your thumbnails. It strengthens your brand identity and also seeing your logo again and again in all the videos will allow people to remember your logo easily. And once they remember your logo, your thumbnails with that familiar logo will attract their attention more than others.
7) Adjust For Both Mobile And Desktop
Remember that the thumbnail is going to be displayed not only on desktop but also on mobile screens. And in fact, most people now prefer mobile to the desktop for watching youtube. Therefore the size of any of the elements of your thumbnails, like photos, text, icons, shapes, etc., should not be too small that it is not clearly visible on mobile screens. For the same reason, there should not be too many elements, as they may look clear on desktop, but will look stuffed and unclear on mobile screens.
As visible in the above image, there are too many photos and the text is small in size, which may look good on the desktop but it’s unclear on mobile.
8) Arrange Elements In A Stylish Way
There may be various elements in a thumbnail like images, text, icons, shapes, etc. It is important to arrange them in a proper way so that together they look appealing. There you need to be creative and try different arrangements. FInalise the one that looks perfect. You can see in the below image how a little change in arrangement makes an image look better. The second one is certainly looking more interesting and well aligned.
9) Maintain A Consistent Theme
The theme of your thumbnail means the type of elements you use including the font style and colour, and the way you generally arrange them. A consistent thumbnail theme across various videos helps to establish a unique identity of your videos in the minds of the viewers. See the below image to get a better idea.
Here you can see all the thumbnails have consistent themes. However, it doesn’t mean that you always have to do the same thing again and again. Like you can see in the above image the two marked thumbnails are different. One has a different green coloured background, while the other, the white one is competently different. You can make some different thumbnails like this so that you don’t give a boring feel to your viewers. You can also change your theme from time to time like every 2 months or 6 months, that suits you better.
Designing thumbnails is an art, and you will develop over time. You can also seek help from freelance graphic designers on platforms like Freelancer or Upwork. But if you want to do it yourself, use some good design tools like Canva or Wepik. By the way, the above mentioned are some of the most important tips, which if followed properly, will certainly help you design a very good thumbnail.