Design 101: Make a YouTube Thumbnail Video Tutorial

YouTube thumbnails are the first glimpse your viewers have of your video content, so it’s important to make eye-catching thumbnails (the still image representing your video on your channel page) that’ll encourage viewers to click. 

As part of our Design 101 series, we’ll walk you through how to create a YouTube thumbnail in PicMonkey, while pointing out some of the cool features that you can use to make your designs really stand out. 

Watch the video and follow along, then reference the steps below to create your own!


Steps to make a YouTube thumbnail from a template:

  1. Click the Create new button on the PicMonkey homepage. 

  2. Select “Templates” from the drop down menu. 

  3. In the editor, browse YouTube thumbnail templates. 


Pro tip: Note that you can preview templates on your canvas by clicking the small versions. Once you make a change to the template on the canvas, though, you’ll be prompted to overwrite or save your current file. 


4. Swap in your own image by deleting ours, then clicking Add image at the top of the editor. 

5. Pro subscribers can remove the background of a photo by clicking Remove background on the Image palette. Or, use the Eraser tool to remove part of your image.

6. From the Effects tab on the Image palette, you can add an outline or shadow. 

7. To change the text, simply click on the existing text, delete, and start typing your own. 

8. Adjust the text by changing the size, position, font, style, spacing, and more on the Text palette


Pro tip: Try pairing two font styles for an extra eye-catching look. You can learn more about it here: How to Use Font Pairings Like a Pro.


9. To add a graphic to your thumbnail, go to the Graphics tool tab on the left. You can even add your own logo as a graphic. 

10. Want to change the background of the template? Click on the background layer from the Layers palette, and either make it a solid color, or replace it with an image from the Background palette


Pro tip: Create a folder in PicMonkey’s cloud storage for all your YouTube thumbnails. To make the next ones, just choose “Edit a copy” from a saved thumbnail and then change the image, colors, words, etc. This will keep your look consistent. 


11. When you’re ready to debut your thumbnail on YouTube, you can share directly from the editor by going to Share on the top navigation bar. Or download from PicMonkey and then upload to YouTube in your usual method. 


Learn more about making standout YouTube designs:


Top 5 most popular YouTube thumbnail templates

Browse through a few YouTube thumbnail templates to get your design started. You’ll find a few here and all of them here. Here are our top 5 most popular YouTube thumbnail templates. Click to customize!

"Stay Home and Dance" click to customize.

"Makeup Haul" click to customize.

"Cheap Breakfast" click to customize.

"Outdoor workout" click to customize.

"Unboxing Hit or Miss" click to customize.

Browse all YouTube templates here, and check out the YouTube tutorial section in the Resource Center.

A PicMonkey subscription opens up a world of unlimited creativity.

Sarah Gonzales is the content marketing manager at PicMonkey. Over time she’s evolved from a cat to a dog person, a Diet Coke to a La Croix person, and a heels to a flats person. However, she will forever remain loyal to the LA Dodgers, coffee, and Mac products. She’s still deciding if she’s a city or a country person having sampled both after living in Alaska, Los Angeles, San Francisco, (Alaska again), and now Seattle.