Call it YouTube cover art 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. 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. There are so many ways to customize your design using graphics, fonts, textures, shadow effects and more. Here’s a tip: to get all your design elements to line up perfectly, select the Alignment icon (the square with two lines intersecting inside) at the bottom of the canvas. The Grid & Alignment palette will pop up 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.)
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. Also known as a profile pic or logo, no matter what you call it, it’s 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. (For pixel geeks, your profile pic 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.
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.