Call it a YouTube cover or a YouTube banner, either way, in this article we’re talking about that big, branded, top-of-screen image and how to make one quickly and easily. Use our designer-made YouTube templates and customize your way, or start with a pre-sized blank canvas and design from scratch. Check out Crop an Image to All the Social Media Sizes for the most up-to-date YouTube channel art sizes.
YouTube is second only to Facebook in monthly views among social media platforms and, as video becomes ever more popular in digital marketing, the platform will only grow more. Plus, YouTube is fast becoming the go-to search engine for younger demographics.
With so much content in our faces, it’s important to cut through the noise with a stylish, functional and professional-looking YouTube channel. That means creating eye-catching, cohesive, and organized channel art that clearly and simply tells your brand story at a glance.
Creating cohesive channel art distinguishes you as a serious video creator, and viewers are more likely to watch your content. So, what’s a profesh page look like? The banner/cover art and the video thumbnails all match in some way—font or color or design or all of the above. Good-looking channels that are easy to navigate means more click-throughs. The most important factor that determines your video’s visibility is click-through rate. YouTube wants to surface videos that people are clicking on because their ads will get more visibility, and then so will your video. Everybody wins!
How to make a YouTube banner in 4 quick steps:
Head to PicMonkey.com.
Open a YouTube Banner template to start with a ready-made design, or open a “YouTube Cover” blank canvas to start from scratch.
Customize your template or blank canvas with text, photos, and graphics; use ours or add your own.
Click Share to export your banner directly to YouTube. Or download to save on your computer.
Read more: Sharing to YouTube as a Thumbnail or Banner
When you start editing in PicMonkey, your image gets saved instantly to Hub, PicMonkey’s integrated storage. Images stashed in Hub can be re-edited at any time — days, months, years can go by and you’ll still be able to open that image and change the text and graphics. This is very handy for keeping a unified brand look—keep your background and logo the same, but change up the text, for instance.
Make a YouTube banner using a blank canvas
You can design your YouTube banner to the exact right dimensions when you start with a YouTube Cover blank canvas. Click the canvas and it will open in the Editor.
Choose a color for the background or add a photo as the background from the Background palette. There are so many ways to customize your design using graphics, fonts, textures, shadow effects and more.
Pro tip: To get all your design elements to line up perfectly, select the Settings icon (the cog) at the bottom of the canvas. Choose the Alignment palette and you can then set your preferred specs.
Make a YouTube banner using a template
If you want a sleek, stylish look with less work than starting from scratch, you can create your masterpiece using a readymade design template. Cruise our YouTube banner templates and find one that speaks to you. Each of the template’s layers are editable, so you can change the words, font, add graphics, swap in your own pics, add your logo, apply textures—whatever you wanna do to make it yours. We show you how to do it all in our short video tutorial.
Your design is auto-saved to Hub. When it’s time to post it to YouTube, you can choose one of two methods:
Share directly to YouTube from the Share menu in the editor.
Download your file to your computer and upload from YouTube. (See step-by-step instructions below.)
Check out some of our favorite YouTube banner templates!
A stellar choice for outdoor, adventure-based, or travel channels. Replace the image with a stunning photo of your own, or use this mountainous landscape as any suitable primer for a channel full of breathtaking content. Explore font types and experiment with text masks, 3D layering, and curved text for added wow factor.
Foodies, assemble! If your channel is culinary-inspired, check out this food-friendly template. Swap our photo for a culinary masterpiece of your own. Keep food images vibrant. It'll add to the tastefulness!
Graphics come in handy when designing YouTube banners for DIY-inspired channels, or really anything crafty, homemade, personal, etc. Something else worth noting about this template is its quirky color scheme. Try out different color combinations to find something that's both visually attractive and on-brand.
If your business is you, why not put yourself on the banner? Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it helps create a personal vibe. If that's what you want viewers to feel from your channel, then start with this template. PicMonkey Pro Subscribers get access to our automatic Background Eraser tool too, so that you can easily pull yourself from a personal photo and place onto this template!
If you're a lifestyle brand with a channel that's all about modern elegance, start with this template. Curved text, a striking cityscape, and refined black and white coloring give it a sophisticated look. Of course, you're welcome to swap out the photo for one of your own, and you'll definitely want to replace the text with your own branding.
Place important info within the YouTube banner safe area
The YouTube cover that you create will be seen differently on different devices—it’ll show full screen on a TV monitor, but as a skinny banner at the top of your channel on both a desktop or a mobile device. That’s why positioning your logo or pertinent info within “the safe area” of your cover image is essential. The safe area is a space within your banner where your content/image will appear correctly without getting clipped or smushed, no matter what browser or device it’s shown in.
Minimum: 1546 X 423 px. This is the ultimate, super-safe zone, where text and logos are guaranteed not to be cut off when displayed on different devices.
Maximum: 2560 X 423 px. Your safe zone will be visible, and the visibility of the areas on either side of the safe zone will depend on the browser and device.
Check out this handy visual to see exactly where the sweet spot is:
You can make slight adjustments to the crop when you upload your banner in YouTube, but you can’t reposition the selection. Your uploaded YouTube banner must be smaller than 4MB. You can check the file size when you are exporting from the PicMonkey editor.
Publish your banner on YouTube
Log into your account on YouTube.com and click My channel from the top-right menu.
At the top of the screen, choose Add channel art if adding new. If replacing, hover over the existing channel art until you see the pencil icon, click it and choose Edit channel art.
Select your new banner. YouTube will present a preview of how it will look on different devices.
If your banner looks the way you want it to, click Select. Otherwise, click Adjust the crop to crop your banner in YouTube, then click Select.
Your banner will load with a Saved! message on top of it. Now it’s ready for its debut!
Create a YouTube profile picture a.k.a. YouTube channel icon
The YouTube channel icon is that circle below and to the left of your banner. You can use your profile pic or your logo — consider it another opportunity to cohesively brand yourself and make your channel look spiffy.
The best size for a YouTube channel icon is 800 x 800 pixels, which you can whip up in PicMonkey using a blank canvas or a template. It will render at 98 x 98 pixels once uploaded to YouTube. On a desktop, your channel icon will appear as a circle underneath your banner. On Android and iOS devices, it will appear as a circle overlapping the banner’s lower left-hand corner.
If you're using a photo of yourself check out our tips for acing profile pics and you can also learn all about making a DIY logo. And if you're ready to dig into building your brand, consider using brand kits to hold your brand assets (logo, profile pic, colors, photos, fonts) — you'll use them more consistently and your brand will truly shine. PicMonkey Pro offers the Brand Kit feature, and the PicMonkey Business subscription allows you to create multiple brand kits.
Create YouTube channel art in the PicMonkey mobile app
Creating a banner, channel icon, and even a YouTube thumbnail in the free PicMonkey mobile app are also super simple to do. You can start with an image or a blank canvas and use the crop feature to get the exact social size you need. Check out 5 Ways to Take Your Mobile Designs to New Heights to learn more about making mobile masterpieces.
You can make so many cool things for all your social channels in PicMonkey! Check out: YouTube thumbnail maker, Facebook banner maker, Facebook ad maker, Twitter header maker, Instagram story maker, and more.