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YouTube Size Guide

Youtube Size Guide: How To Create Beautiful Youtube Thumbnails & Profile Pictures

youtube thumbnail size dimensions example

YouTube is one of the best, if not THE best, platforms to share video content online. So, if you plan to make and share video content online, having a YouTube is always recommended.

It can be a lot of work to set up a channel. The standard for high-quality video content is only getting higher and higher as well.


Graphic | Optimal Image | Maximum File Size

Video Thumbnail | 1280 x 720 pixels | 2MB

Channel Art | 2560 x 1440 pixels | 6MB

Profile Photo | 800 x 800 pixels | 2MB


Creating engaging and relevant videos should always be your priority. However, at times, they might not be enough. You need to have static images that represent your channel’s brand accurately. And they must be engaging and attractive to your audience.

A successful YouTube channel needs to have thumbnails that will grab a user’s attention. It needs to make them click on your video instead of the dozens of others.

Since your custom YouTube thumbnail also shows up in Google search results, it is important to pay attention to making a great video thumbnail.

Do you already spend a lot of time using good search engine optimization practices to get your video to rank high on Google search results? Then investing some extra time to make sure your custom thumbnail image is the right size will ensure that you will not miss out on clicks that could otherwise be yours.

If you plan to scale up your video marketing with teaser videos of your product, it is recommended to stay away from adding an auto-generated thumbnail. Selecting a featured image that adds the curiosity factor or creating a thumbnail from scratch will pay off in the long term.

That’s why we created this YouTube Size guide. We will show you the correct image size for your YouTube video thumbnails and Channel art. We will also discuss the maximum size, ideal dimensions, minimum dimensions, and ideal aspect ratio for creating the perfect thumbnail image.

Want to make it even easier for yourself? We would recommend using Vectornator presets to create the perfect thumbnail with perfect sizes. No Photoshop, Canva, Snappa, or any other design tools needed!

youtube thumbnail size dimensions example

YouTube Thumbnail Size

According to Google’s support page, the ideal YouTube thumbnail size should be 1280 pixels wide x 720 pixels tall. The minimum width allowed is 640 pixels. It should have a 16:9 aspect ratio as well.

That might seem bigger than you’d think for an image that is usually displayed so small, but it makes sense: At the end of a video, when new videos pop up as recommendations for what to watch next, the thumbnail is displayed at a larger size. The preview image will also be used for the embedded player on websites.

So ideally, you want to create a YouTube thumbnail image that looks good at both sizes.

Regarding the image format, the thumbnail must be in one of the following formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, BMP, or PNG.  The maximum file size allowed is 2MB.

Pro Tips:

  • The image you add to your thumbnail should look great not only for the ones looking at it from a small size display. It should also be created at a high enough resolution that still looks clean and crisp when shown at a larger size.
  • Create a custom video thumbnail that is eye-catching and can grab the attention of a potential viewer.
  • Try not to use a misleading image in your thumbnail. It will disappoint viewers and might even lead to an increase in the number of dislikes. So be careful with the image you select for your thumbnail.
  • Make sure the video is balanced and not clickbait. It is essential to understand your audience and create video content that your specific audience will enjoy.

How To Create Your Next YouTube Thumbnail

If you don't set a thumbnail for your video, YouTube will simply take a random screenshot from your video and use that one. This is not something we recommend you do. Why leave things to chance when you have several ways how to fix them?

1- Select one out of three options

After uploading your video, YouTube will allow you to select one of the three options it generates. So, if you are not happy with the random thumbnail generated by YouTube, the fastest way to fix it is by choosing one of the three options you get.

You can simply select the one that is the most relevant for that specific video. This will take you only a couple of seconds. It is an easy fix if you do not have time to create a video thumbnail from scratch.

2- Use YouTube Studio to your advantage

Another thing you can do is select a thumbnail from one of the video frames that best “summarizes” your entire video. After doing that, you can edit the thumbnail image you chose and then upload the thumbnail to your video cover.

You can do the same thing on mobile via the YouTube Studio app. This option is also an easy fix as it only requires you to edit a single frame and re-upload it.

3- Creating your custom thumbnail

To create an even more effective thumbnail, we recommend you use graphic design to your advantage to create an eye-catching YouTube thumbnail.

As you may know already, competition on YouTube is very tough. So, to be a step ahead of their competitors, the best YouTube creators out there design their own YouTube thumbnails.

They also use unique design tricks to attract their viewers through their YouTube thumbnails. Some use bright colors, some use catchy titles, while others create advertiser-friendly thumbnails that help with monetization.

4- Use a thumbnail maker

You can also create a super cool thumbnail design using a thumbnail maker to design an attention-grabbing thumbnail.

First things first: you need a design tool to create the design. Many YouTubers, such as Will Paterson, are using Vectornator, and we can only recommend giving it a try!

Creating a YouTube thumbnail in Vectornator is quite easy! When you create your new project, choose the YouTube Thumbnail template under the social preset options. Then, your artboard will be automatically set to the ideal thumbnail dimensions.

Now you can let your creativity flow. Some best practices you could keep in mind: Use the video's title on the image to visually communicate the video’s content.

Using contrasting colors or even whitespace combined with a still image from the video can make your thumbnail stand out at the first impression.

Once you are finished with your image file, you can select one of the many file types to save your thumbnail.

No matter which “tricks” you choose to follow, remember that these four things will always ensure that your thumbnail will perform well:

  • Using close-ups
  • Using high thumbnail resolution
  • Using images that look great, whether the display is large or small
  • Using thumbnails that best represent the video content you are sharing

Some last notes: always make sure to follow the YouTube Community Guidelines when creating and uploading your thumbnails!

Another thing to keep in mind is being consistent. If you represent a brand, an organization, or manage a company profile on YouTube, it is important to be consistent with your branding and the graphic elements you use. Consistency is key in this case.

If you have an individual channel, you do not necessarily have to be consistent and can experiment more with a range of styles until you find one that fits the content you are creating.

YouTube Channel Art Size

Another important static image for your YouTube channel is your channel art, also called a YouTube banner. As the main piece of art on your channel’s homepage, it’s vital that your channel art is eye-catching and uses high-quality images or design elements.

The YouTube Channel Art is the first thing your profile visitors will look at once they land on your profile. Ensuring that the banner looks clean and professional will make your channel look more inviting overall and persuade people to find out more and click on your videos.

Ideally, your YouTube banner dimensions should be 2560 pixels wide x 1440 pixels tall. And yes, we at Vectornator have a preset for it.

The minimum dimension for upload should be 2048 pixels wide x 1152 pixels tall, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The maximum file size allowed is 6MB.

Pro Tips:

  1. It’s essential to keep in mind that your banner will be displayed at different widths depending on which device someone views it. That is why you need to choose a design that would look great, no matter on which device people view it from.
  2. Make sure that the critical information in your banner is placed in the center. If you put information too close to the edges of your image, some design element might get cut out when viewed on mobile devices, for instance.

Your banner image will also show differently on TV displays. Usually, larger images get cropped, so pay close attention to them.

  1. Create a cohesive theme with all of your channel elements. Sometimes keeping the classic version of the YouTube Channel Art is not the best idea.

Adding that “individual element” to your YouTube banner will give your profile a more personal touch and make you and your brand more recognizable.

  1. Try to make your profile picture and background color in your YouTube Channel Art match well with one another.

Sometimes having a profile picture using a bright color that contrasts with the cover image might look great as long as you manage to keep a well-balanced color saturation and color scheme.

An easy way to resize the images is using your computer's image editor. For instance, Apple computers have the Preview option and Windows has the Microsoft Photos option, which can help you resize your images simply.

An even easier way to create your YouTube banner image is to use Vectornator’s tool. With Vectornator, you can try out different versions of your banner to ensure that your information is visible on all devices, be it a TV, mobile, or desktop device.

youtube profile picture size

YouTube Profile Picture Size

Finally, you’ll need to create a YouTube Profile Picture. It is also known as the channel logo. This is the circular icon that displays on your channel homepage. It shows up next to your channel name under your videos, and next to your name in your subscribers’ sidebar of subscribed channels as well.

As you can see, the profile image will be shown in various places. It will also show when you comment on your YouTube videos or videos of others on YouTube. Since it is the first thing people see before clicking on your profile, the profile picture serves as an “intro” to your profile.

The profile image you use should also integrate well into the overall design.

If you manage a company profile and need to use your logo inside the profile picture, ensure that the logo you have works well with the circular crop.

The ideal size for the YouTube profile photo is 800 pixels wide x 800 pixels tall. As mentioned earlier, it will display as a circle with those dimensions rather than a square.

A square or round image that renders at 98 pixels wide x 98 pixels tall should also work very well for your profile picture. The maximum file size allowed is 2MB.

A JPG image file format or GIF, BMP, and PNG are the allowed file formats. However, animated GIFs at the moment are not allowed.

Like other social media channels, the profile picture will cover the left-hand corner of your cover image on the desktop. This, however, is not the case if visitors use a mobile phone to check your profile. The profile photo will not cover any part of your banner on mobile.

Instead, it is placed in the left-hand corner and right below your banner image.

Ideally, you want people to remember and identify your channel from just glancing at your icon. Another thing to keep an eye on is that your icon should be centered. Try not to include critical graphic elements in the corner. Otherwise, they might get cropped out.

The good news is you don’t have to create an image from scratch. With the help of Vectornator, you can bring your ideas to life without having to develop any new design skills.

Uploading Your Perfect YouTube Thumbnail Images, Profile Image, And Channel Art

Now that you know all the tips and “tricks” how to create a beautiful thumbnail image, as well as a profile photo and cover image, it is time to make all of them:

  • Go well with one another

As you may know, different interface elements can interfere with one another at times. So, just like a painter steps away from the painting to take a better look at the whole picture, it is essential to “step away” and make sure that all the images you use go well with one another.

  • Go well with the overall strategy

Another thing that should not be overlooked is making sure that the images go well with the graphic design, theme, or visual strategy you've created.

Once you are happy with the final result, you can go ahead and make sure all the sizes and dimensions are used correctly.

As discussed earlier, your YouTube channel will show the cover image, profile photo, and thumbnail in different sizes and dimensions, depending on which device you are using.

Your profile picture and cover image will show differently on your desktop than on a tablet or a mobile phone.

Here is a quick recap of the optimal image sizes and maximum file sizes:

Optimal Image Size:

  • Video Thumbnail: 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Channel Art: 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Profile Photo: 800 x 800 pixels

Maximum File Size:

  • Video Thumbnail: 2MB
  • Channel Art: 6MB
  • Profile Photo: 2MB

Final Tips

  • If you want to create a beautiful image from scratch, you can use the Auto Trace feature. Simply search for a photo on Unsplash (a content hub with millions of stock photos) and convert the image elements to Vectors for unique visuals.
  • You can use PNG files with transparency to create custom YouTube overlays and text or video end screens.
  • Make sure to leave enough space and time at the end of your video to add an end screen. It is recommended to leave the last 20 seconds of the video “free” to add elements to your end screen. Currently, the aspect ratio of the end screen is 16:9, and you can add up to four elements to it.

Designing your thumbnails will be so much more beneficial to your YouTube channel than using the YouTube studio tool's built-in auto-generated thumbnails.

Not only it gives you the freedom to be creative and pick the best image for your thumbnail, but it also helps you attract more viewers to click on your video.

As you saw in this guide, you don’t necessarily need to use complicated graphic design software, develop a new design skill or include any advanced element to bring your ideas to life and create a beautiful YouTube thumbnail.

So, if you haven’t made a logo for your channel, now’s a wonderful time to do so! Whether it’s a small icon variation of your main logo or a brand-new logo, Vectornator is the perfect tool to create a vector logo that will establish an iconic look for your brand’s channel.

We’ve got a template for your YouTube profile picture as well, so after you’ve made your logo, slotting it into a perfectly sized image takes only a few seconds!

Besides using the correct image dimensions, you might want to apply a good YouTube SEO strategy to get your videos rank in You tube's search. Don't forget! It is the second biggest search engine in the world!

If you want to share your videos on other social media channels as well, be sure to check out our other templates.

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