How to Make a Thumbnail for YouTube – Complete Guide

MotoCMS Editorial 14 January, 2023

YouTube thumbnail

How many custom thumbnails should I have? What are the best colours to use in a thumbnail? How can I make thumbnails? All important questions, which this article seeks to answer. The thumbnail may be your first step toward the coveted verified account status.

The YouTube thumbnail is the small image file that represents your YouTube videos. The role of the thumbnail image is to grab attention so that viewers are naturally drawn to your content.

The images that you use, however, are essential too. You want potential viewers to only scroll past your YouTube videos, after all.

Each video should have a custom thumbnail which will give a quick snapshot into your YouTube videos. Here are some quick tips or rules of thumbnail to keep in mind:

Always Use High-Quality Images:

High-quality images are essential for catching viewers’ attention and enticing them to click on your video. Make sure the images you choose are clear, sharp, and visually appealing.

YouTube thumbnail Quality Image

Custom the Images:

Each video should have a custom thumbnail that is unique to the content of your video. If you’re using stock images, make sure it still looks unique and interesting. Don’t use generic images, as they are more likely to be overlooked since they are so common. Draw inspiration from free templates and try to be creative and use something that will stand out from the crowd and draw viewers in.

Keep Relatedness:

Thumbnails should somehow be indicative and original to your YouTube channel. Make sure your thumbnails are related to the content of your video. This way, viewers will know what they’re getting into before they watch.

Never Use a Blank Canvas:

Blank canvas thumbnails are never recommended as they don’t give viewers any indication of what the video is about. A blank canvas can make a viewer less likely to click on your video, so make sure you have an engaging image in place before uploading.

Show Faces:

People are drawn to human faces, so make sure yours is featured prominently in your thumbnail design. If possible, include an image of a face that will be recognizable to viewers who have seen your other videos or content online. This can help create an instant connection with new viewers by making them feel like they already know you. Or, expressive facial expressions help add a shock factor to your video thumbnails.

YouTube thumbnail Tips

Add Text:

Adding text to your thumbnails can help draw people in and convey what the video is about at a glance. Keep it short, simple, and relevant to the topic, and make sure the font size is readable even on small screens. Or, at least include the title and a few words of context on the thumbnail. Most people will only have a few seconds to decide if they want to watch your video or not.

Make Thumbnails Easy to Read for Mobile Viewing:

Most people watch YouTube videos on mobile devices, so make sure your thumbnails are easy to read and understand even on small screens. Avoid using too many words or details that can be difficult to see when viewing the thumbnail from a distance.

Include a Call-to-Action:

Tell viewers exactly what you want them to do – watch your video, click the subscribe button or share with their friends. A clear call-to-action can help get more engagement from your audience.

Keep It Consistent:

Consistency is key to creating an effective brand identity across all of your content. Choose a style that works for you and stick to it for all of your videos and thumbnails. This will help people recognize your videos quickly and easily, increasing the chances of them watching it over someone else’s content. Keep in mind that thumbnails should be consistent with your overall brand style and message.

Consistent YouTube thumbnail

Test and Measure:

Don’t just settle on one design, test different variations to see which ones get the most engagement. Keep track of your results over time and adjust accordingly as needed.

Don’t Use Misleading Thumbnails:

Otherwise; YouTube will suspend your account since it’s against the platform policies. Be honest and transparent in your thumbnails so that viewers know exactly what they’re getting. Also, don’t include any inappropriate content in your thumbnail.

Technical Information About the YouTube Video Thumbnail

Your thumbnail has a minimum width of 640 pixels, with an ideal ratio being 16:9. Thumbnails generally help a video stand out if it matches these dimensions, as that is what YouTube is used to rendering.
Your thumbnail appears a bit after your video is uploaded, so there may be a brief delay. This will be based on your upload speed. But this will mostly be visible through the interface YouTube has built-in; YouTube studio. It is an excellent place to begin your journey into custom YouTube thumbnails, available on a desktop or mobile device.

Each of the following apps enables you to make a thumbnail for YouTube very quickly, with a selection of excellent thumbnail fonts, professionally designed templates, and a uniquely large image selection feature. Even in the free version of many of these apps, you’ll get a lot of text pop.

Why You Should Use YouTube Video Thumbnails Correctly

If the thumbnail for your video is unimpressive or unattractive, no one will be persuaded to watch your content.

The video can be deemed irrelevant by YouTube, in which case it won’t appear in search results or be featured in the ” Recommended Videos ” feed.

A captivating thumbnail can mean the difference between your video ranking at the top of the search results page and not because your video’s click-through rate is one of the most significant ranking factors in YouTube’s search algorithm, especially during its first hour on the platform.

How to Make a Thumbnail For YouTube

Now that we’ve gone over the importance of a YouTube thumbnail design, it’s important to cover how to make a thumbnail for YouTube in the first place.

The perfection of an eye-catching thumbnail for YouTube will take some time to achieve, but there are ways to create custom thumbnails without having years of Photoshop experience; as a thumbnail maker.

A thumbnail maker or thumbnail creator is generally a free application allowing you to make professional thumbnails. They provide stock images that will help your thumbnail stand out.

Create YouTube Thumbnail Templates Easily

If you need help figuring out where to start or how to create YouTube thumbnails, there are numerous online YouTube thumbnail makers that you can use for your content. You can just read more to create one for your video.

YouTube Studio – The Basic

YouTube Studio is a free-to-use in-web video editing program that allows users to create thumbnails from the video they upload.

It will essentially scroll through the video and find a suitable thumbnail from the video itself. However, it only suggests some original thumbnails. Why is this something important? A good thumbnail for YouTube is your own thumbnail. So before settling for the YouTube studio app for your thumbnail, let’s look at other more specialized thumbnail maker apps.

Pixelixe – The Professional


Pixelixe is an online graphic design platform that allows users to create stunning thumbnail for YouTube. It offers over 200,000 royalty-free stock images and also features a library of templates created by professional designers, enabling you to save lots of time when creating a thumbnail.

Fotor – New Features Included

Fotor To assist you in creating eye-catching thumbnails, Fotor offers templates under several themes. The backdrop remover, lomo effect, and another popular thumbnail for YouTube features are all included.

The options are endless when using Fotor as the canvas for your thumbnail for YouTube.

If you cannot finish your workflow in a single session, Fotor’s premium plan enables you to save the version history of your thumbnails so that you may resume where you left off.

Picmaker – Losing its Popularity

Picmaker YouTube Thumbnail

On Picmaker, you can produce a compelling thumbnail using over 100,000 graphics, 1,000 stock photographs, stickers, borders, backgrounds, text, icons, and filters, as well as an automatic background remover.

It’s better to note that free solutions won’t be the best way to create YouTube thumbnails. The ideal way to go is with professional templates and tools. Picmaker has the most features compared to other thumbnail makers, but it requires a premium subscription to access all its features.

Canva – Everyone’s Favorite

Canva provides you with more than enough tools to let your creativity go wild with its library of more than 2 million pictures, hundreds of fonts, and editable backdrops and colors.

If you want to use the online design tool, you may join up for either the free or paid edition. However, you should be ready to use your own photos because Canva’s image library can cost up to $1 per picture. Don’t be discouraged by that.

Canva for YouTube

You can build clickable thumbnail for YouTube using this powerful tool’s free design elements. The premium features are, however, worth considering if you’re considering making more professional thumbnails.

Canva also allows you to scale your text box much more freely than most other thumbnail-maker apps. A good option to make a custom video thumbnail rather quickly, and with good results as well.

Snappa – For Small Businesses

Snappa YouTube Thumbnail

To assist you in creating a thumbnail for YouTube, Snappa offers over 500,000 stock photographs, a selection of professionally designed templates, and configurable graphics, shapes, and text.

Since Snappa’s free version only permits three downloads per month, it can impact your workflow if you create more than three thumbnails each month.

If three is all you need, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a drag-and-drop feature to assist you in making your own unique thumbnail template.

Crello – For Those Who Look For More Colorful Ideas

Using Crello, a more recent YouTube thumbnail maker, you may combine various designs, images, backdrops, text, and objects to produce a stunning custom thumbnail for YouTube.

Crello proves to be a more affordable solution than other well-known design tools, but remember that some software updates may make scaling your thumbnails difficult.

Final Words on YouTube Thumbnail Template

Many of the programs listed above will give you excellent templates to work with for your thumbnail, but when it comes to a generic template for your YouTube thumbnail design, the first thing you’ll want to think of is your aesthetic.

Immediately after, based on the content of the video, a personable expression or something your viewers associate with your online personality. This could be your face, a game character, or even a specific aesthetic.

Remember the power this small image file has when it comes to communicating the video, the content of it, and who the content creator is, in this case, you!

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Author: MotoCMS Editorial
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