May 2


Design Custom YouTube Thumbnails to Pack a Visual Punch

We are visual creatures and we are attracted by great visuals. On youtube the visuals are all in the thumbnail design.

But it’s complicated because thumbnails are so small – and even smaller on mobile – so what kind of design truly is eye-catching?

I present to you my 7 steps to design the perfect thumbnail even if you’re not a graphic designer (I’m not) and with free tools!

Let’s get started 😉

According to YouTube 90% of the best-performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails. I dunno about you, but I would definitely like to be in that 90% rather than the 10%.

7 Elements Every Thumbnail Should Have:

  • Bright Colors
  • Use a Face (expression)
  • Contrast
  • Big Fonts
  • Quirky text (non-SEO)
  • Visual “Pop”
  • Consistent Design – playlists

7 Steps to Create the Perfect Thumbnail

Now that you know all the element you need in a great thumbnail design, let’s go over to the computer to create thumbnails:

Step 1: Take a screen capture of your video at an interesting point using Skitch or Jing
Step 2: Choose YouTube Thumbnail in Canva (auto sizes it to the correct dimensions)
Step 3: Choose a Layout (free or paid)
Step 4: Upload the raw image file to Canva
Step 5: Add Text
Step 6: Add any other visual elements for interest
Step 7: Download as PNG or JPG

Upload your custom thumbnail to YouTube and you’re done!

The best part of designing a nice BIG clickable thumbnail is that you can use it everywhere on social media!!!



Was this tutorial useful for you? I dunno. You tell me. Gimme a big ol’ thumbs UP and write in the comments below.

Want more tips to grow your brand with video? Join my Facebook group – its free!

Thanks for watching – I’ll see you in the next video!




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