The Ideal YouTube Thumbnail Size (+Templates)

The Ideal YouTube Thumbnail Size (+Templates)

A YouTube thumbnail is like the blurb and the cover of a book combined. It tells your viewer what the video is about and guides them to click the “Play” button. 

Sure, it’s not… quite okay to judge a book by its cover or a video by its thumbnail, in this case, but we all still do it even in our subconscious mind. So, why not use that for the success of your YouTube video? 

To do so, you need to make a brilliant thumbnail image for your video by paying great attention to the YouTube thumbnail size. 

Don’t choose one of the frames that YouTube offers: your eyes may or may not be half-closed (we all have been there, so never again), or your whole scene smudged. 

Instead, make a custom YouTube thumbnail to make people actually want to watch your video. 

What’s the best YouTube thumbnail image size, how to create a perfect thumbnail for your YouTube videos, and more questions will find their answers in this article. So, read on to find all the info you need for an effective YouTube thumbnail.

  • The Right YouTube Thumbnail Size
  • Why Do You Need Custom YouTube Thumbnails?
  • YouTube Thumbnail Best Practices
  • How to Create an Ideal YouTube Thumbnail Image?
  • Eye-Catching YouTube Thumbnail Templates


How to change a youtube thumbnail


The Right YouTube Thumbnail Size 

Thumbnails are the miniature representation of your video, with a reduced size, hence their name – thumbnails (the size of a human thumbnail). Although, they’re not really the size of a human thumbnail.

So, what’s the best YouTube thumbnail size? There is a definite answer for this question given by Google, that can help you create a thumbnail with the exact size for YouTube. 

However, besides the size of your YouTube thumbnail, you should also pay attention to the following points:

  • The ideal YouTube thumbnail size is 1280 x 720 pixels, and the minimum size is 640 x 360 pixels. 
  • Your custom thumbnail image should have one of the following formats: JPG, GIF, PNG. 
  • The recommended aspect ratio of your YouTube video thumbnails should be 16:9. 
  • The thumbnail image file size should remain under the 2MB limit.

Now, you can avoid having problematic thumbnails for YouTube videos, and won’t need to change a thumbnail over and over again.

YouTube thumbnail size infographic


Recommended Reading


Why Do You Need Custom YouTube Thumbnails?  

Once you upload a video to YouTube, the giant platform automatically offers several thumbnail options for you to choose straight from your video. 

Sure, it’s convenient and quick, unless you want to have more views and create branded content. 

YouTube allows you to add your own thumbnail for your video, so use this opportunity to customize it yourself. 

A customized thumbnail is going to raise the engagement of your video, bring in more views and clicks, and hint at the high quality of your content. Unlike a simple YouTube thumbnail chosen from your video frames, your eyes won’t be closed, and your scene won’t be blurry and “silent”. 

YouTube custom thumbnail pros

A customized thumbnail image will speak loud and clear and serve as an effective way to build the aesthetics of your YouTube channel. It will put your brand colors into effective use, and intrigue your audience with creative text and a fresh look.   


YouTube Thumbnail Best Practices

Now, that you know the right size for YouTube thumbnails, it’s time to go through some important points that are a must for a strong thumbnail game. 

Here are the seven YouTube thumbnail best practices that can help you out in this crazy race.   


  1. Your Thumbnail Must Be Relevant 

Avoid irrelevant and misleading thumbnails, even when you think they can be good clickbait. Your viewers should see exactly what they’re going to get, otherwise, they will be disappointed. You don’t want that, especially when it will lead to brand abandonment. 

As we’ve mentioned above, thumbnails are like book covers for your videos, so they should be relatable and represent the content of your video. 

What's Your YouTube Video About

Besides hurting your reputation, this will also push YouTube to stop showing your videos on the YouTube search result page. 

With its Audience Retention metric, YouTube is able to determine the quality of your views and see how much time your viewers usually spend watching your video

So, once your viewers realize they’ve been tricked into watching an irrelevant video, they will click off (after unliking your video, obviously) and YouTube will be able to tell. 

Hence, be honest with your audience, to not harm your brand. Just make a pretty AND relevant thumbnail instead. 

For instance, Netflix has relatable thumbnail examples. You can see “Official Trailer” written on the thumbnails of some of their video content, and they’re delivering exactly what they’re saying – a trailer, not a short teaser, or a scene from the same movie or TV show.

YouTube Thumbnail Relevant


  1. Keep it Simple

Too many design elements put together might be…overwhelming. So, don’t place every element – a huge text, blinding colors, a great number of icons, unicorns, and aliens- together. 

YouTube thumbnails are not your usual real-life posters, they are small, even more so, when you’re using YouTube on mobile. According to statistics an average YouTube viewing session on mobile is 40 minutes, so you surely want to use that to your advantage. 

So, keep it simple, choose limited elements to leave some room for your thumbnail to “breathe”. 

YouTube thumbnail practices - keep it simple


  1. Use White Space 

White space or negative space is the empty area around the elements of your thumbnail design. It helps you underline the important parts of your design and make it look coherent and professional. 

Once you decide to keep your thumbnail design simple, white space should come naturally.

YouTube thumbnail practices - use white space


  1. Thumbnail Text Should Be Short and Visible

Now, it’s not rare for some YouTubers to paste the whole video title on their thumbnail, however, most of the time it’s terrific and not in a good way. More experienced YouTubers know it too. 

Instead of doing the same, choose the main part of your video title, and make it bigger on your thumbnail, so it’s visible even when your viewers are using the YouTube app on their phone. It should be large enough to be readable, and short enough to be coherent, and sneak peak-ish. 

YouTube thumbnail practices - short text


  1. Use Contrasting Colors 

Color psychology is a powerful tool, more so when you’re using it for your brand. Combining contrasting colors that are effective at “distracting” (and not just your favorite colors) will help you make branded content. 

This is an ideal way to catch the eye of your target audience and stand out in the sea of countless YouTube videos. 

YouTube thumbnail contrasting colors


  1. Include Your Logo 

If you’re keen on creating a visually unique YouTube channel, as well as strengthening your online presence, it’s essential to include your logo in all of your thumbnail images. 

Don’t stick it anywhere on your thumbnails and videos, choose the same area for every thumbnail, because logo placement is really important when it comes to unique and branded content. 

A fixed logo will make your viewers have a feeling of familiarity and help them find your videos on the search result page as fast as lightning. 

Nintendo’s YouTube channel is a great thumbnail example with a logo. Just by seeing their logo on the right corner of the video, we can guess that it’s official content. 

YouTube thumbnail practices - include logo


  1. Consistency Matters 

To make an aesthetic and powerful brand identity on YouTube and become a memorable YouTube channel, stick with consistency. 

Pick a thumbnail style that’ll represent your channel, and be suitable to use with your future videos.

Choose the same parts of the canvas for the logo and text placement, and use similar icons and colors. All of these will make it easy for your viewers to spot your video content when browsing YouTube. 

YouTube thumbnail consistency


How to Create an Ideal YouTube Thumbnail Image? 

You can make a YouTube thumbnail image, using offline and online graphic maker tools.

With offline software like Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop, you can select the YouTube thumbnail size for your canvas and start working on the blank page. 

Use rulers to help guide the process, and make the thumbnail even from all sides. Experiment with color, add your text, and choose a size for it that’s suitable for your project. Use the variety of tools that your software offers. 

When it comes to online graphic maker tools, you can work with YouTube thumbnail templates. Choose the most suitable one for your video, add your photo and text, and make the necessary adjustments. Afterward, download it within minutes in JPG, GIF, or GIF image format.


YouTube thumbnail templates


Eye-Catchy YouTube Thumbnail Templates

Ready to create a YouTube thumbnail with the correct size and minimal effort, choose any of these gorgeous thumbnail templates and start editing it! Here are some thematic templates you might need for your videos. 


Music Channel Thumbnail Set

Make a custom thumbnail matching the vibe of your song with this set of high-quality thumbnails. Choose a design, customize it by adding your text, your images, change the colors of your elements, and voila! Your thumbnail is ready to stand out in the sea of YouTube videos. 

Music channel thumbnail template


Create My Thumbnail

Gaming Video Thumbnail Variety

Take your gaming videos to a higher level, using this variety of YouTube thumbnails made for gamers and gaming channels. 

Pick a design, customize it according to your liking and style, and upload it on YouTube along with your video. Perfect for gaming live streams, challenges, walkthroughs, and more. Check it out now!  

Gaming thumbnail template


Create My Thumbnail


Tech Gadget Review Thumbnails

Make your tech video more engaging and striking with the help of these YouTube thumbnails. From tech updates, to release announcements, reviews, and more, these thumbnails will make any video stand out on YouTube. Create your custom video thumbnail now! 

Tech video thumbnail template


Create My Thumbnail


Instagram Hacks Thumbnail Visuals

A whole firework of colors and shapes is waiting for you in these trendy YouTube thumbnail designs. Select a template, add your title and imageս, and create your thumbnail in minutes. Perfect for videos about Instagram hacks, make-up tips, DIYs, unboxings, and much more. Check it out now! 

Insta tips thumbnail template


Create My Thumbnail


City Tour Thumbnail Set

Make a custom thumbnail image for your YouTube video about traveling guides, experiences, unique spots and cuisines, tips, and more. Choose a design, upload your photo, add a short text, and your thumbnail will be ready to charm. Try it now! 

City tour thumbnail template


Create My Thumbnail


Summing Up

With all of this information about YouTube thumbnail size and best practices, it will be easier to come up with better thumbnails for your videos. 

Experiment with different styles and designs, try new things and see what’s more suitable and effective for your YouTube video. 

Create your custom YouTube thumbnails to impress your audience with an eye-catching image and show the quality of your video from the very first sight. 

Keep it simple, don’t forget to leave some white space, use short text, your logo, and contrasting colors. Also, keep consistency for your thumbnails to create a strong presence on YouTube and build an aesthetic account. 

In case, you’ve run out of ideas, you can always use these YouTube thumbnail size templates. 

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