Youtube Size Guide: How to Create Eye-Catching YouTube Thumbnails & Profile Pictures
YouTube is one of the best, if not THE best, platforms to share video content online. So, having a YouTube channel is always recommended if you plan to be a video creator.
It can be a lot of work to set up your own channel. The standard for high-quality video content is only getting higher and higher. One of the most important things to master is your visual content and how it looks on your channel page.
Below you'll find a table with the correct dimensions (or minimum sizes) for YouTube channel artwork that's recommended by the platform:
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.
A thumbnail image is a single image that gives the viewer a preview of what your video is about before they click play to watch it. This is also the preview they'll see whenever your video is shared on social networks.
Since your custom YouTube thumbnail also shows up in Google search results and when shared on other platforms, it's essential to pay attention to making a great video thumbnail.
If you don't export your thumbnails in the minimum image dimensions, you'll find yourself struggling to optimize your video content previews.
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 ensure your custom thumbnail image is the right size will ensure that you won't 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'll 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.
You should also pay attention to YouTube's video guidelines, which cover what you can and can't do as a video creator on their platform.
Want to make it even easier for yourself? We would recommend using Vectornator presets to create video thumbnails with perfect sizes. No Photoshop, Canva, Snappa, or any other design tools are needed!
YouTube Thumbnail Size
According to Google’s support page, the ideal YouTube thumbnail size should be 1280 pixels wide x 720 pixels tall. This is the same as the standard 720p video resolution.
The minimum width allowed is 640 pixels.
It should have a 16:9 aspect ratio.
That might seem bigger than you’d think for an image that's 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.
Ideally, you want to create a YouTube thumbnail image that looks good in 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 for YouTube Video Thumbnails
- The image you add to your thumbnail should look great not only for those looking at it on a small-sized display but should also be created at a high enough resolution that still looks clean and crisp when shown in a larger size.
- Create a custom video thumbnail that's 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. Understanding your audience and creating video content that your specific audience will enjoy is essential.
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 isn't something we recommend you should do.
Why leave things to chance when you have several ways to optimize them yourself? Let's look at how you can personalize your video image previews:
1. Select One Out of Three Options
After uploading your video, YouTube will allow you to select one of the three options it autogenerates. So, if you're unhappy with the initial random thumbnail generated by YouTube, the fastest way to fix this is by choosing one of the three options you get.
You can simply select the one that's the most relevant for that specific video. This will take you only a couple of seconds. It's an easy fix if you don't have time to design 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 using graphic design tools to your advantage to create an eye-catching, branded YouTube video 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 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 optimized for 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 automatically be 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 finish your image, you can select one of the many image 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 of people's faces
- Using a high-resolution thumbnail
- Using images that look great, whether the display is large or small
- Adding a thumbnail that best represents the video content you're sharing
Remember: Always follow the YouTube Community Guidelines when creating and uploading your thumbnails!
Another thing to keep in mind is to be consistent. If you represent a brand or organization or manage a company profile on YouTube, you should be consistent with your branding and the graphic elements you use.
Consistency is key in this case. Not only will consistent branding make it easier for your audience to recognize your videos, but it will also look good on your channel when they're displayed altogether.
If you have a personal channel, you don't necessarily have to be consistent and can experiment more with a range of styles until you find one that best fits the content you're creating.
YouTube Channel Art Size
Another important static image for your YouTube channel, is your channel art, also called a YouTube banner or cover photo. 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 channel. Ensuring 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 dimensions for upload are 2048 pixels wide x 1152 pixels tall, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The maximum file size allowed is 6MB.
Pro Tips For YouTube Cover Art
- It’s essential to keep in mind that your banner will be displayed at different widths depending on what kind of device the viewer is using. That's why you need to choose a design that will look great, no matter which device people view it on.
- Make sure that the critical information in your banner is placed in the center. If you put details too close to the edges of your image, some design elements might get cut off 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.
- 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.
- Try making your profile picture and background color in your YouTube channel art match well.
Sometimes having a profile picture using a bright color that contrasts with the cover image might look great as long as you maintain well-balanced color saturation and color scheme.
An easy way to resize the images for your banner is using your computer's image editor. For instance, Apple computers have the Preview, and Windows machines have the Microsoft Photos option. Either of these can help you resize your images simply and quickly.
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. We've included this in our template pack for you!
YouTube Profile Picture Size
Finally, you’ll need to create a YouTube Profile Picture. This is also known as the channel logo. It's the circular icon that displays on your channel homepage and shows up next to your channel name under your videos.
Your profile pic also appears next to your channel name in your subscribers’ sidebar.
As you can see, the profile image will be shown in various places. It will also show when you comment on YouTube videos. Since it's the first thing people see before clicking on your profile, the profile picture serves as an “intro” to your profile.
Your profile image should 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 a YouTube profile photo is 800 pixels wide x 800 pixels tall. As mentioned earlier, it'll display as a circle with those dimensions rather than a square.
A square or round image that renders 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 are not supported at the moment.
Like other social media channels, the profile picture will cover the bottom left-hand corner of your cover image on a 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's placed in the left-hand corner and directly below your banner image.
Ideally, you want people to remember and identify your channel by 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 developing any new design skills.
Uploading Your Perfect YouTube Thumbnail Images, Profile Image, and Channel Art
Now that you know all the tips and “tricks” on how to create a perfect thumbnail image, profile photo, and cover image, it's time to make all of them:
- Go well with one another
As you may know, different interface elements can sometimes interfere with one another. 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 ensure that all the images you use go well with one another.
- Go well with the overall strategy
Another thing that you shouldn't overlook is making sure that the images go well with the graphic design, theme, or visual strategy you've created.
Once you're happy with the final results, you can go ahead and check that all the image sizes and dimensions are being used correctly.
As discussed earlier, your YouTube channel will show the cover image, profile photo, and thumbnail in different sizes and dimensions, depending on your device.
Your profile picture and cover image will show differently on your desktop than on a tablet or a mobile phone.
Here's a quick recap of the optimal image sizes and maximum file sizes:
Optimal Image Sizes
- 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
- 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 free stock photos) and convert the image elements to vector format to create your own unique visuals.
- You can use PNG files with transparency to create custom YouTube overlays and text or video end screens.
- Ensure you leave enough space and time at the end of your video to add an end screen. It's 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 does it give 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 eye-catching YouTube thumbnails.
So, if you haven’t made a logo for your channel, now’s a good time to do so! Whether a small icon variation of your main logo or a brand-new logo, Vectornator is a great tool for creating a vector logo that will establish an iconic look for your brand’s channel.
Remember, we have a template for your YouTube profile picture as well, so after you’ve made your logo it will only take a few seconds to slot it into a perfectly sized profile image!
Besides using the correct image dimensions, you might want to apply a good YouTube SEO strategy to get your videos to rank in Google Search.
If you want to share your videos on other social media channels, be sure to check out our other image size templates.