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How to make a "Good" Thumbnail for YouTube

Updated: Mar 15, 2023




Creating an effective and eye-catching thumbnail for a YouTube video is a crucial step in increasing its click-through rate. A well-designed thumbnail can help attract more viewers to your video, and it is often the first thing that people see when browsing through the YouTube platform. In this article, we will provide detailed tips on how to create a good thumbnail for your YouTube video.


The recommended size for a YouTube thumbnail is 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall. The minimum size is 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall, and the maximum size is 4096 pixels wide by 2304 pixels tall. It's important to note that while YouTube accepts thumbnails at these larger sizes, they may be resized to fit the YouTube player.

When creating a thumbnail, it's important to keep in mind that it will be displayed at different sizes on different devices, so it's important to make sure that the text and graphics are easily readable at smaller sizes. It's also a good idea to save the thumbnail as a .jpg or .png file for best results.


  • High-Quality Images: Using a clear and high-resolution image is an essential aspect of creating a good thumbnail. The image should accurately represent the content of your video and be visually appealing to the viewers. A blurry or pixelated image will not be appealing to the viewers and may result in a lower click-through rate. It is important to choose an image that is well-lit and has good clarity, so that it can be easily seen on different devices and screen sizes.


  • Visually Appealing: A visually appealing thumbnail will be more likely to attract the viewers. Using bright and contrasting colors will make the thumbnail stand out in the YouTube thumbnail grid. However, it is important to avoid using too many colors or patterns, as they can make the thumbnail look cluttered and unprofessional. A simple design with bold, easy-to-read text will be more effective in attracting viewers.


  • Keep it Simple: The thumbnail should be easy to understand and convey the key message of the video. Complex graphics and too much text can make the thumbnail confusing and less appealing. A simple design with a clear message will be more effective in attracting viewers. It is important to remember that the thumbnail should be easily recognizable and memorable, so that people can easily recall it later.


  • Relevant: The thumbnail should be directly related to the content of the video. This will help attract viewers who are genuinely interested in the topic and increase the click-through rate of the video. For example, if your video is about a cooking recipe, it is best to use an image of the finished dish as the thumbnail. This will give the viewers an idea of what they can expect from the video and help entice them to click on it.


  • Use a Human Face: If possible, use a picture of a person in the thumbnail. People are naturally drawn to faces, and this can greatly increase the click-through rate of your video. A face can create a personal connection with the viewers and help make the video more relatable. When using a human face in the thumbnail, it is important to choose an image that is clear and well-lit, so that the person's expression can be easily seen.





  • Test Different Thumbnails: It is important to test different thumbnails to see what works best for your audience. Try A/B testing different designs to see which one gets the most clicks. This will give you an idea of what kind of thumbnail is more appealing to your audience and what you can do to improve it. You can also ask friends, family members, or other people in your network to provide their feedback on the different thumbnails.


  • Add Text: Adding a brief and relevant text to the thumbnail can provide additional context and make it more appealing. Make sure the text is easy to read and complements the image in the thumbnail. The text should be brief and to the point, and it should not take away from the overall design of the thumbnail.


Here are a list of programs that you can use to create a thumbnail to use for Youtube. The list has been arrange according the the most expensive to the least expensive.


  1. Adobe Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop is a powerful image editing software that is widely used for creating professional-quality graphics and images. With its wide range of tools and features, including brushes, filters, layers, and selection tools, you can create stunning and attention-grabbing thumbnails for your YouTube videos. Photoshop also offers a range of templates and design elements that you can use to quickly create a thumbnail. Photoshop is a paid software and its cost varies depending on the type of license you purchase. A monthly subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes Photoshop, costs $20.99/month.

  2. Adobe Illustrator: Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based graphics editor that is widely used for creating graphics, illustrations, and logos. With its range of tools and features, including brushes, shapes, and type tools, you can create stunning and eye-catching thumbnails for your YouTube videos. Illustrator also offers a range of templates and design elements that you can use to quickly create a thumbnail. Illustrator is a paid software and its cost varies depending on the type of license you purchase. A monthly subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes Illustrator, costs $20.99/month.

  3. Affinity Designer: Affinity Designer is a professional-grade vector graphics design software. It offers a range of tools and features that allow you to create high-quality graphics, including custom thumbnails for your YouTube videos. With its intuitive interface and powerful features, such as vector shapes, gradients, and effects, you can easily create professional-looking thumbnails. Affinity Designer is a paid software and its cost varies depending on the platform you use it on. The desktop version of Affinity Designer costs $49.99, while the iPad version costs $19.99.

  4. Procreate: Procreate is a powerful digital illustration and painting app that is designed for iPad. With its wide range of brushes, tools, and features, including a paint engine, canvas textures, and multiple layer support, you can create unique and creative thumbnails for your videos. Procreate also offers a range of templates and design elements that you can use to quickly create a thumbnail. Procreate is a paid app and its cost varies depending on the platform you use it on. The Procreate app for iPad costs $9.99.

  5. Canva: Canva is a graphic design platform that is easy to use and offers a wide range of templates and design elements to help you create your thumbnail. With Canva, you can create high-quality thumbnails without any prior design experience. Canva offers a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to create and customize your thumbnail, as well as a range of tools and features, including templates, graphics, and fonts. Canva offers both a free and a paid version, with varying levels of features and functionality. The paid version of Canva, Canva Pro, costs $12.95/month or $119.40/year.

  6. Fotor: Fotor is a graphic design platform that is available online and as a mobile app. It offers a range of templates and design elements, as well as basic image editing tools, to help you create a thumbnail that is both professional and attention-grabbing. With Fotor, you can quickly create and edit your thumbnail using its drag-and-drop interface and range of templates, graphics, and fonts. Fotor offers both a free and a paid version, with varying levels of features and functionality. The paid version of Fotor, Fotor Pro, costs $7.99


Consider the Context: The context in which the thumbnail will be displayed is also important. It should be optimized for different devices and screen sizes, and it should also look good in the YouTube thumbnail grid among other videos. When creating a thumbnail, it is important to consider how it will look on both desktop and mobile devices, as well as how it will appear in.

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