There’s one surefire way to get more people to watch your YouTube videos: Make an eye-catching thumbnail. The thumbnail is the first thing people see when they make their way through the wilds of YouTube in search of the next great video to watch. So make sure yours stand out from the crowd with bold colors, snappy text, and outstanding overlays (a.k.a., graphics, stickers, clip art).
Take a look at our tutorial on how to make stellar thumbnails, and read below for a quick summary of our best tips and tricks.
Get the size right
Creating a clickable image with our YouTube thumbnail maker is a snap. You’ll want to start with the YouTube thumbnail blank canvas so your image will be the right size. That way it won’t look distorted when you upload it to YouTube. Just hover over Design on the homepage, choose Blank canvas, and click the YouTube Thumbnail template. You can also begin with an image and crop it using the 720p HDTV crop size (1280 x 720 pixels) in the Crop drop-down list.
Use images and overlays
If you begin with a blank canvas, you can add an image using our Add you own button in the Overlays tab. Colorful images and flat lay photography are great for attracting attention in a crowded field of thumbnails. If you begin with an image and then crop it, you’ll be able to add some eye-popping effects, too.
PicMonkey has loads of professionally designed overlays that you can add, from superhero shields to tropical drinks to exotic sea creatures. We’ve got a bunch of unique ways to use overlays in the tutorial above.
YouTube users are going to want to know what your video is about before they click on it, so adding a little explanatory text such as a title is a good idea. Try and get your point across as quickly and succinctly as possible, since thumbnails are small and people don’t want to read a lot before clicking. Just the facts, ma’am.
There are many ways for you to make your text stand out. You can color it, give it a drop shadow, curve it, or bold it. You can put it on top of a banner or color block. You can even try the layered-text-and-image trend that’s all the rage. Whatever you do, make sure it’s easy to read and grabs people’s limited attention.