How to create branded Youtube thumbnails that stop the scroll and get people engaged with your content? The humble Youtube thumbnail is only one part of optimizing your content, it is however a crucial component in heightenting brand awareness and getting the all important click…
Why you need a good Youtube thumbnail
There are far more busineses, brands and content creators competing for attention on Youtube than there ever used to be, getting noticed is a challenge in a sea of competition, noise and sheer volume of content that is on Youtube these days – having a video thumbnail that stands out is crucial to get noticed and to get people clicking.
Poor or bland design is fatal, you have an incredibly short window of time to grab users attention so something unique, punchy and recognizable is key. Good Youtube thumbnails incorporate branding and clear messaging with ‘punch’ and ‘attention grabbing’ themes.
Using photographs in thumbnails
Using photographs in your thumbnail design is a good idea, high impact visuals is what we are after, images can take up the entire design or part of it depending on what you’re trying to achieve. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Youtube thumbs are only small so photo quality won’t matter – it does and remember videos can be embedded where the thumbnail shows up much larger.
Saving your design as a png is a good idea for higher quality – unless you plan to use it on your website where a smaller file size jpeg would be better.
Text & fonts
With consistency in mind it is crucial that whatever fonts you are using on your website [assuming you have one] should also be used within your design, this keeps things tidy, makes design easier and corresponds your designs to your site [the same applies to offline design such as letterheads/business cards etc.
There are of course no rules, you can use whichever font works best for you but with branding mind, remaining consistent is always a good idea – ultimately you need to communicate your message quickly and at a glance. Check out Google Fonts
Colours, contrast & branding
Website colours need to be carried over through to your designs both on and offline, couple this with the fonts you are already using and your branding starts to become more recognizeable. If you look at the Life Not Likes branding we keep it simple using a very dark shade of black and a lime green – it is the green that makes the design shout and we implement it eveyrwhere, on every thumbnail, every graphic, every web page and logos etc
Youtube thumbnails require contrast to get noticed – this is very important otherwise they’ll simply disappear, if your brand involves pale colours such as pastels then simply make sure the text goes the other way with something dark. There are also no rules to say that you can’t include your logo within the thumbnail design either.
How big should a Youtube thumbnail be?
1280px x 720px is the best size for your thumbnails, the ratio is 16×9 which is what Youtube prefers. For saving your thumbnails the accepted formats are JPEG / PNG / GIF. Thumbnails should not exceed 2MB file size.
Honesty & accuracy
There is nothing worse than ‘clickbait’ it’s a real time waster and tremendously frustrating. It’s important to keep what is in the design of the thumbnail relevant to the video content, it’s kind of like the online advert for your content, think of it like a magazine cover – everything on there suggests what the reader can expect inside.
Clickbait language is more emotional than informational. Headlines like “You won’t believe” or “Try this one simple trick” are meant to spark curiosity or other strong emotions that result in a click. However, the content that follows is rarely informative or verifiable.– SEM Rush
Define your playlists
If you have playlists on your Youtube channel then one thing you could consider to make things a litle more helpful to regular viewers is to design differently for each playlist, there are various examples of this from colour coded bars within the design to the overall appearance of the thumbnail itself, not only is this helpful to viewers but it also helps break up your board.
Online Design Tools
You can find dozens of design tools online, some free, some paid. You no longer have to be an Adobe Photoshop or illustrator expert to start creating professional looking designs for your business and when it come to Youtube thumbnails any of the below will more than suffice.
- Adobe Spark
- Pixlr X
We use Canva as our preferred platform for simple and quick design tasks although to be honest many of the online tools will ultimately deliver the results you are after. Canva is easy to learn and offers both free and paid versions – for simple tasks like thumbnails the free version should be enough for most.
Upgrade to the paid version of Canva and you have access to a huge library of stock images, a branding kit and more, worth the minimal monthly outlay if you regularly need designs in your business. We have not used any others on the above list but did reearch them extensively before pulling the trigger – all will achieve great results.
We hope these simple tips to create branded Youtube thumbnails helps, remember it’s all part of creating brand recognition and can easily be achieved without using social media, being a social media free business is just that – being free, giving you more time to concentrate on your brand and what you do best.