How to Create Better YouTube Thumbnails

Written by Zoe Anthopoulou

Jun 24, 2024

How to Create Better YouTube Thumbnails

If you are looking to get more clicks on your Youtube videos, then you might want to consider improving your videos’ thumbnails.

It’s known that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, so your YouTube video’s thumbnail plays a really important part when it comes to attracting a user’s attention.

Whether it’s a tutorial, a vlog or a music video, having a well-designed thumbnail can help the users understand what the context of your video is and attract more views.

In this post, we will be sharing tips for better thumbnails and some of the YouTube thumbnail requirements, so you can master the art of quality thumbnails!

What are the requirements for YouTube thumbnails?

The requirements for the YouTube thumbnails are pretty straightforward. We will list them below for easy reference.

  • The size of a YouTube thumbnail is 1280 x 720 pixels, with a minimum width of 640 pixels.
  • You can upload thumbnails in JPG, GIF, or PNG formats.
  • Your thumbnails should be under 2MB for videos or 10MB for podcasts.
  • Stick to a 16:9 aspect ratio as it's the most used in YouTube players and previews.
  • For podcast playlists, you need to upload a thumbnail with an aspect ratio of 1:1 instead of 16:9 (1280 x 1280 pixels).

What makes a good YouTube thumbnail?

A YouTube thumbnail should be designed to get the user’s attention, connect with them, and drive them to your video. But it should also help them understand what the context of your video is about in a visually appealing way.

Connect to users

Quality visuals are a powerful tool for connecting with users, as they can get their attention and get the information to them in a compelling way. With your thumbnail you can show users the value they will get from viewing your video. And users are more likely to click if they feel this is what they were looking for.

To achieve this, your thumbnail should highlight what the users will get from viewing your video. For example, your video will help them “Learn the basics of Javascript”, or give them the “10 must-visit places in Amalfi”.

Showing the users that the context of your video resonates with their needs, and highlighting how your video can help them can drive them to your video and increase your views.

Clean and simple

Your thumbnail need to be clean and simple, so you don’t confuse and drive your audience away.

You need to make sure that:

  • you don’t clutter a lot of information on your thumbnail; it’s important that users can quickly understand the context of your video, without much effort.
  • your text is legible; it’s not too small, or placed in a background where it’s not visible.

A majority of thumbnails featured in YouTube are really simple; just displaying an image from the video or relevant to the context accompanied by one or two lines of text explaining the context. And maybe some fancy stickers. And it works, if your lines of text are clear and to the point.


Branding should be a major aspect of your thumbnails as it can help your app resonate with your audience, reinforce brand identity, and ensure recognition among your audience.

What this means is your thumbnail should be consistent with your brand’s color schemes, typography and tone, to resonate with your audience and ensure a cohesive and recognizable presentation.

Consistency in these visual elements will not only enhance the aesthetic of your video but is also essential for creating a professional image, ultimately attracting more users and driving more views.

How you can create quality YouTube thumbnails with BrandBird

Size Presets

BrandBird offers a variety of predefined canvases, including a size preset for your YouTube thumbnails. So, you can set up a canvas for your thumbnails in just one click, without having to think about YouTube’s guidelines, because BrandBird has already done this for you!

Editing / Branding

Having uniquely designed and branded screenshots can set your video apart and drive more people to view it. With BrandBird you can adjust your thumbnail’s background to your brand’s colors, add your logo, and text in your brand’s font. Plus, we offer a variety of icons and stickers to make your thumbnail playful and inviting to your audience.

💡Tip: Remember, simplicity is key here! You want to add enough to get the user’s attention, but not clutter your designs.


No design skills? No worries! BrandBird has a library of public templates that you can reuse and customize for your designs. You can also find some templates for YouTube thumbnails there!

💡Tip: Create your personal YouTube templates in BrandBird, so you can re-use your designs in the future.

See this template from BrandBird as an example:

notion image

By following these simple tips, you can create beautiful YouTube thumbnails that will tremendously boost your views. Don’t forget to have fun while creating, staying true to your brand and your thumbnails will stand out and impress your viewers, for sure!

An image editor
for busy entrepreneurs!

Turn your boring screenshots into beautiful scroll-stopping posts and grow your audience & branding.

    It's 100% free to try it!

    No CC or account required!