Who doesn’t love the spotlight? Introverts, agoraphobes, masked vigilantes, people with light sensitivity, moles, and bank robbers on the run, but that’s not the point.
Okay, different question: Who wants to learn how to make a YouTube banner worthy of the pros?
Boom! Here it is. How to make a YouTube banner (also called “cover art”) in nine easy steps. YouTube is a mega-giant on the social media stage, and an effective YouTube profile can attract more views to your channel. Read on for everything you need know about achieving YouTube banner excellence.
How to make a YouTube banner
- Head to PicMonkey.com.
- Click Templates to start with a ready-made design, or Blank canvas > YouTube Cover to start from scratch.
- Customize your template or blank canvas with text and graphics; use ours or add your own.
- Click Export to save your banner to your computer.
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, graphics.
Publishing your banner on YouTube
- Log into your account on YouTube.com and click My channel from the top-right menu.
- Click Edit layout, then Add 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!
If you already have a banner in your YouTube channel, step 6 will be slightly different. Click your current banner, then choose your new banner when the channel art window pops up. That’s it! Easy peasy. The rest of the steps stay the same.
Keeping important info in the safe area
Making your YouTube banner the right size is essential—that’s why our blank canvas and YouTube templates are perfectly sized at 2560 x 1440 pixels. But there’s more to consider, size-wise: Because there are a ton of devices on which your video might play, you need to take extra care to make sure your most essential information sits in the “safe area.” 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.
Our ace designers have come up with this handy guide to show 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. Which means ensuring that your desired content lands in the safe zone can be a highly strategic process, not unlike parachuting from a plane and hoping you land on-target.
In addition to pixel dimensions, keep file size in mind. Save your banner at the largest file size you can for max sharpness on retina devices, but no bigger than 4MB. YouTube cries if it’s more than 4MB.
Designing with templates or from scratch
If you’re struggling to find inspiration, you can create your masterpiece using a design template. Cruise our YouTube banner templates and find one that speaks to you. Click to preview it, and if you like what you see, click Customize to open it in the Editor. You can simply replace the text in the template with your own words and call it a day, or give it a full-on makeover by swapping in your own pics, altering all the colors, using completely different fonts—whatever you wanna do. We show you how to do it all in our short video tutorial.
Creating a YouTube channel icon
“Channel icon” is just a froufrou way of saying “profile picture” or “avatar.” The reason you want to spend a moment thinking about it is that your icon will appear on or under your banner.
So if you’re working up a stellar YouTube banner that’s all in line with your brand and creative vision, but still have your Google account picture (that’s where your channel icon is pulled from) set to that blurry selfie from the office party where you were inspired to belt out “Firework” while sporting a boa, well, might be time to swap it out. If you’re building a brand, you may want to use your logo as your channel icon. And if you’re going the photo route, check out our tips for acing profile pics on every social network.
The best size for a YouTube channel icon is 800 x 800 pixels, which you can whip up in PicMonkey using custom sizing in our Design tool. (For pixel geeks, your profile pic will render at 98 x 98 pixels.)
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.
Creating 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 this article to learn more about creating designs on mobile.
Keeping your social media buttons in the safe zone
If you’ve added a website URL and/or links to your social media accounts, just remember that those puppies will appear in the lower right-hand corner of your banner when viewed on a desktop. Of course you, YouTube banner superstar, have kept all your important info in the safe area, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Make the just-right adjustments with PicMonkey.