How To Create Clickable YouTube Thumbnail Designs

When you browse through YouTube, have you ever noticed that some thumbnails will grab your attention more than others? Why did they make you want to click on that video and make sure that you watched it till the end? What was it that attracted you to it? In this blog we’re going to be covering how to create clickable YouTube thumbnail designs.

Throughout this blog, you will also see images that are examples of great thumbnails that work well on YouTube. 

Why are custom YouTube thumbnail designs important? 

When you add a custom video thumbnail it will allow potential viewers to see a quick snapshot of the video that you have posted while they are browsing YouTube. Once the video that you have created has finished uploading, you will have the option to either choose a thumbnail from the three options that you have been given by default, or alternatively, you will be able to upload one of your own.

If this thumbnail happens to be one that is catchy and will display the value and uniqueness of your video, your viewers will be more likely to watch it. It’s important to keep in mind that only verified accounts on YouTube can upload custom thumbnails, and we will be talking about this more, a little later in the blog.

Design thumbnails well and best practices to consider

The reason for creating a good thumbnail is rather simple and straightforward. It will help attract more views, likes and comments and if the ensuing content lives up to the hype that you have created with your thumbnail, you will get more subscribers. It is almost like first impressions in real life. Just think about it. If the first impression that you had about a person was not very good, would you be interested in seeing them again? Not likely.

The same applies to YouTube thumbnail designs and that is why, we are going to be telling you about the best practices that you can follow to ensure that your thumbnail is well thought out and designed.

Use the right size for YouTube thumbnail designs

One of the first things that you should do in order to design a thumbnail that is effective would be to figure out the dimensions. According to the guidelines given by YouTube the size of a thumbnail should be 1280 x 720 pixels and the minimum width should be 640 pixels. The aspect ratio should be at 16:9 because that’s what’s used in most YouTube players and previews alike. Thumbnails can be uploaded as JPG, PNG, or GIF files. Be sure to keep the files under the 2MB limit.

How to choose your thumbnail background 

Strong visuals are needed so that you can grab the attention of the viewers on YouTube. When you have a high quality image that fulfills the purpose of a teaser for your video and gives it context. It is also a way in which your audience will identify your brand immediately from your unique style.

Title text to add context

You should also add a heading to your YouTube thumbnail designs. This can have a lot of perks but the biggest one perhaps, is that it will give your viewers more context about the video itself. If you have no title text, no matter how brilliant the video is, it will not tell your viewers what problem you are trying to solve for them. Make sure that the title is catchy and that it will grab attention as well. If your videos are a part of a series you can actually number them as well. This will let them keep track and keep them looking for the latest episode!

Apple is a brand that will include text headings in thumbnails to provide some context that is not evident at first glance.
The right font to use 

Alright, once you have decided on the title, choose the font. You need to be able to help your audience familiarize themselves with the content that you produce. One way to do this would be to use the same font consistently along with the same color scheme and a strong design style. Choose a clear and bold font for the headline that will also go in-line with your branding. You will need to use something that is easy to read at a glance. It should also communicate the personality of your brand. Do not use anything that is a script font as that will make it difficult for people to read it immediately.

Why you should create branded YouTube thumbnail designs 

If you’ll be sharing content that is part of a series, or you just want your content to be strongly tied to your brand, consider creating a template to follow for your YouTube thumbnail designs. This means that your text, style and colors will remain constant. But you can vary the images used – though the placement should be the same.

Just look at the example above. See how the fonts and the colors are repeated and so easily recognizable from thumbnail to thumbnail? That is exactly what a branded template will do. Your customers will know that your videos are yours as soon as they see it.

Contrast and your thumbnail design 

The contrast in your YouTube thumbnail designs is just as important as all the other points we have mentioned in this blog. There are many different types of contrast that you can use and the most important one that we’d like to talk about is with color. Let us say that you have been using black and white in your designs, they have high contrast and people will be able to read your text clearly as opposed to using red and green which have low contrast.

Avoid clickbait altogether

This isn’t just a suggestion – clickbait is bad and you do not want to go there. If you do use this method to get clicks on your videos, and mislead viewers, it will actually look really bad on your brand. And if your bounce rates get really high, YouTube will stop showing your videos in their search results. The thumbnail is supposed to give your audience context about your video, so don’t present an image that has nothing to do with the video and will simply get people to click on it. 

 What you need to do is to find the most important part of the video and then create your thumbnail based on that focal point. Make sure that you do not also reveal too much about your video in your thumbnail. You will simply need to give a teaser. Simply focus on creating genuine curiosity so that viewers will watch the video and gain knowledge that they can find useful.

Get your channel verified so you can add custom YouTube thumbnail designs

At the start of the blog, we mentioned that only verified channels can upload custom thumbnails. So here is how you can get your channel verified on YouTube. It’s actually a pretty simple process!

  1. Click the channel icon, and then the gear icon
  2. Select “View Additional Features”
  3. Select “Verify”
  4. Choose your country and how you’d like to receive your verification code
  5. Once you get the code, enter it the field and hit submit
  6. When you navigate back to the “Status and Features” page, you’ll see that your account is verified

How to upload your custom YouTube thumbnail designs

#1 – Once you have logged into the platform, you need to click on your avatar or the profile picture on the top right corner of the page. You can then select the YouTube Studio Support option from the menu that appears there. 

#2 – When you get to the channel dashboard, click on the “Upload Videos” button. You can also just click on the upward arrow icon in the top right corner.

#3 – Now, select the videos that you would like to publish on your channel.

 #4 – Enter all the relevant details about the video after it has been uploaded. This includes the title, and a description. Be sure to let viewwers know where they can go to learn more about your brand, product, or service. You can do this by including links to your other social media accounts and website.

#5 – Once the video has completed the processing stage, you will be shown a selection of three auto-generated thumbnails at the bottom of the page. You can now pick one of these or upload one of your custom YouTube thumbnail designs. 

#6 Next, you’ll be able to add relevant hashtags and have other options for categorizing your video.

Important to note – YouTube will allow you to change your thumbnails even after you have published your video. So if you don’t find that a thumbnail is working well, you can always switch it out.

Ready to create your YouTube thumbnail designs?

Start doing some research on the thumbnail designs that have worked well on YouTube. You can check for ideas from your niche, and those beyond it too. Go to your favorite channels and see what made you click on their videos. Once you have some inspiration, take into account all of the ideas from this blog, especially the best practices. Remember that there is a lot of competition on YouTube and the best way for you to make sure that you stand out would be to maintain your creativity and originality in all of your YouTube thumbnail designs. And remember the thumbnails that you upload should never be any form of clickbait. Stay legit and stay interesting YouTubers!