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How to Create the Best YouTube Thumbnails


How to Create the Best YouTube Thumbnails

As anyone who’s just entering the world of social media or is already an experienced veteran, numerous elements need to always be considered when maximizing every amount of content. One of those areas comes with posting videos consistently on YouTube. It’s not about the specific content of the video but what is shown before. This is a great strategy to get people engaged and are known as YouTube thumbnails. Don’t think that this should be overlooked. It should be made for every YouTube video that goes out, regardless if you’re growing your brand or already a well-known influencer.


YouTube thumbnails are the first visual users see before interacting or clicking on the video. This image is auto-generated by YouTube, with it taking the first three screenshots of the video you uploaded and using that as the thumbnail image for the video. There’s also the ability to create a customized option as well.


 Even with the pre-generated YouTube thumbnails, this has a huge purpose. Otherwise, the YouTube image would be a blank screen with no context of what the video will be about, leaving many users only to go by the title of the video itself.

Yet if you’re wanting to be able to maximize this component, it’s a better idea to create a catchy thumbnail design YouTube users will appreciate because it helps the video pop out. This thumbnail allows for a teaser to be provided to people that may be interested in the video and lead to more clicks and, ultimately, more views. In addition, you can put images, texts, or pictures of people as a marketing tool to help lure people into watching the videos.

How to Create the Best YouTube Thumbnails

 These additional clicks and views will help with the YouTube algorithms you can learn more about here. Just remember, if you don’t think you need YouTube thumbnails, realize that your competition is using them and probably attracting much more users to, at the very least, get more clicks, if not get more people watching the videos themselves.

How to Create the Best YouTube Thumbnails

This compounding effect is that the more clicks and initial views you get, the better your videos will rank. As they rank better, they’ll appear more often in searches and eventually be recommended on the last screen of other people’s YouTube videos. It all starts with drawing that attention your way with these YouTube thumbnails.


There’s a bit of preparation to handle before simply just uploading anything to be one of your YouTube thumbnails. So take this time to come up with an overall strategy and design.

Step 1 – Prepare your designs. 

You want to have a template ready for all your videos instead of having to recreate YouTube thumbnails from the ground up every time.

Step 2 – Use appropriate text to catch the user’s attention

For example, as users scroll to see what to watch, that text will help them scan the topic.

Step 3 – Have the right color tones for the type of videos you’re creating

For example, vibrant pastel tones work well if you’re doing food videos.

Step 4 – Select the right background image to place related to your YouTube Channel’s topic.

Step 5 – It’s always a good idea to include the face of the content creator or all the faces of who will be in the video.

Step 6 – Design with the screen size in mind. 

Although YouTube has a suggested resolution size of 1280 x 720, make sure to optimize it so it’s looking good on all types of screen sizes.

Step 7 – See what the competition is doing, especially for those with a larger user base. 

Then, try to align your designs to theirs.

Step 8 – Analyze the results and try out some different types of thumbnails at the start. 

See which ones have better click-through performance rates.

Another thing to consider, which is not technically a step, is to work with professional graphic designers who can quickly take your branding and vision and formulate all that information into template YouTube thumbnails for future use. This way, you’ll have one of the best and most consistent YouTube thumbnails.


A great design is one thing, but consistency is the best area to focus on with YouTube Thumbnails. After your initial setup and testing period of seeing what type of YouTube thumbnails work for your content and overall tone, then it’s constant usage.

From then on, every video you post needs to have that customized thumbnail. It becomes your own personal branding, and future videos without this customized and consistent thumbnail will look suspicious or as if someone is repurposing your content.

How to Create the Best YouTube Thumbnails

That’s why you want to make sure that you pick everything, from the logo to the coloring, to be on point with your image and branding. For example, if you’re a travel vlogger, make sure the background images are of the places you visit. If you’re a video game streamer, show pictures of the game the video is about, combined with the text and logo to match.

For a more in-depth view at how to optimize YouTube thumbnails check out our guide here. It will help make a catchy thumbnail design that YouTube users will see and click on.


  1. Can you download a YouTube thumbnail?

The answer is yes for those wondering if it’s possible to download a thumbnail they enjoy. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as right-clicking on an image and choosing ‘save as.’ You’re going to need to take a few steps:

  •  Locate the unique video ID which is after the v= in any YouTube URL

Ex.  this is the unique ID. 

  • Then simply go here: and you’ll get the full resolution image.
  • Make sure to use a different browser tab, and your image will be ready for download.
  1. Can you make a YouTube thumbnail template?

This is what your goal is, to achieve that consistency. A YouTube thumbnail template will help quickly set up YouTube thumbnails for all the videos you’re going to create.

  1. What’s the best size for a YouTube thumbnail?

For those looking for the best resolution, you’re looking at 1280 x 720 with a minimum width of 640 pixels. The optimal aspect ratio is 16:9

  1. Are there YouTube thumbnail makers?

Any type of graphic editing software will also help create YouTube thumbnails. However, you want to ensure that you work with software where you can set up the resolution for the most optimized image. These include products such as Canva, Adobe Express, and other types of software options.


Every type of graphical representation you make must represent your brand and YouTube content. This free way of generating eye-catching content to get that coveted attention will help you with your user growth on YouTube. Don’t miss out on such a useful component on your journey of making your YouTube channel attractive for many. 

The key takeaway from this article is that you should always keep in mind the purpose of your content and how it will benefit your audience. Every piece of content you create needs to be engaging and relevant to your audience, and if it is, then you’re well on your way to building up a loyal follower base that will continue to come back for more!

karina gandola

Karina Gandola was born and raised outside the city of Charleston, in the beautiful mountain state of West Virginia. Karina loves writing about the influencer marketing space and an area she is passionate about. She considers her faith and family to be most important to her. If she isn’t spending time with her friends and family, you can almost always find her around her sweet yellow Labrador retriever, Poshna.

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