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How to Make Killer YouTube Channel Art

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May 21, 2024• Proven solutions

Call it channel art, call it a cover, banner or whatever you like, the fact remains that YouTube channel art is one of the key elements of any successful YouTube channel. Your viewers arrive at your channel to see your videos, but it is the channel art that can market your brand and products to them.

As much as creating great videos with personality can sell your YouTube channel, the way your channel looks and feels is equally important. Take a brief look around any popular YouTuber’s channel and you’ll see that they’ve invested time and thought into creating beautiful, eye-catching channel art for it.

If you’re still in the dark about how to create YouTube channel art; we’re here to help. Here’s what you need to know.

Quick Jump Menu

The Filmora team has made a video tutorial about how to master YouTube Channel Art, watch it before digging in. Remember to download the free Filmora Trial version to have a try.

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Part 1: What is YouTube channel art?

YouTube channel art includes thumbnails, banners, watermarks, and icons. Thumbnails will help viewers decide to watch your videos, and a personalized banner will tell people who you are and what your vlog is about. Watermarks both label your work as yours and protect it from theft. Your icon is the avatar you will use to communicate with your subscribers. You can totally change the look and feel of the page and the changes will carry forwards for the page display on all platforms. However, the elements might look slightly different on desktops, mobile devices, and TV screens.

1. Banner

A banner sits at the top of your channel, welcoming viewers to your videos and promoting your brand. Having your brand front and center here is a great plan, as it gives people confidence in who they are watching, as well as raising your brand profile on the platform.

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Size: 2560x1440px recommended. Cannot be smaller than 2048x1152px.

Safe Area for All Devices: 1546x423px

File Size: 6MB or smaller


- Make sure all your text is in the safe area

- Include channel information like what kinds of videos you make and your upload days

- Add social media links


- Use a font or font color that’s hard to read at a glance

- Put a busy background or photo directly behind your text (put a solid background in-between)

How to Upload a YouTube Banner / Channel Art

Go to My Channel and select Add channel art near the top of the screen (if this is the first time), or hover over your existing channel art to make the edit icon show up.

2. Watermark

Watermarking your videos, banner and other content you produce can help protect your hard work. Sharing should be encouraged on YouTube, but you should absolutely get the credit for your content. A watermark ensures your brand is being acknowledged whenever someone hits the share button.

3. Thumbnail

Developing unique thumbnails can really encourage more video views. Rather than just using a still from your actual video, you can create unique art to accompany each upload, describing what’s within the video and motivating people to watch.

Size: 1289x720px recommended. Width cannot be less than 640px.

File Size: 2MB or smaller

Format: .JPG, .GIF (no moving GIFS), .BMP, .PNG


- Use colors that stand out

- Have a consistent format (all your thumbnails should have the same basic layout)

- Include your face (or a character’s face, if you’re a gamer)

- Show viewers what your video is about


- Include anything sexually suggestive or violent.

- Write more than 3 words or use a small font

How to Upload a YouTube Thumbnail

In the screen right after you’ve uploaded a video (in your Creator Studio), select Custom thumbnail under Video thumbnails after you upload a video.


Select Edit next to your video in the Video Manager/Creator Studio. In the preview screen, click Custom thumbnail.

4. Icon or logo

If you’re building a brand on YouTube, you should absolutely have a recognizable logo or, at least, an icon that is unique to you. This way you’ll start to be recognized whenever people stumble across your footage, even if it’s on another platform such as Facebook.

Size: 800x800px recommended. Can be square or round, but must render to 98x98px.

Format: JPG, GIF (no animated GIFs), BMP, PNG


- Use a close up of your face (if you want a custom URL: only channels that use photos as icons qualify)

- Use a simple logo (if that’s more on-brand for you)


- Use a full-body picture (it won’t look good shrunk down)

- Use a picture of a celebrity or an image that falls under someone else’s copyright

How to Upload a YouTube Profile Picture / Icon

Go to My Channel, hover over your existing channel icon, and click the edit icon (looks like a pencil). Then, click Edit.

5. Channel art links

Adding links to your YouTube channel is a no-brainer. After all, if people love your channel, why not get them engaged on your social networks and website too? Adding links is easy in the Creator Studio, and you can choose to have links overlaid on your channel art too.

6. YouTube Intros

Ideal Length: under 10 seconds is alright. Under 5 seconds is better.

Placement: within the first 30 seconds of your video.


- Use music

- Include colors and images that match your personal brand

- Include the name of your channel


- Make it longer than 10 seconds

How to Add a YouTube Intro

Add your intro before you upload using your video editing software. It’s best to create it in a separate project and export it as a clip you can re-use in all your videos. Click here to download some free intros

7. YouTube End Screens / Outros

Length: 5-20 seconds

Placement: the last 5-20 seconds of your video

Your video must be at least 25 seconds in order to add an end screen.


- Link to at least 1 video or playlist

- Prompt viewers to subscribe

- Include social icons and handles so people can find you


- Overcrowd the screen with options (it makes people less likely to click anything)

Part 2: YouTube Channel Art Dimensions & Image Size Checklist

YouTube channel art dimensions

Getting the sizing of your channel art right is crucial. If you don’t plan this from the start, then all the effort you put into designing your channel art will be wasted, as it will either not display properly or will just look terrible. YouTube has provided these guidelines for channel art designs:

  • The file size must not exceed 6MB
  • The image should ideally be 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • The minimum image size is 2048 x 1152 pixels
  • The maximum width is 2560 x 423 pixels

The ideal dimensions for different devices are listed below:

  • Mobile:1546px * 423px
  • Tablet :1855px * 423px
  • Desktop:2560px * 423px
  • TV:2560px * 1440px

You see, YouTube channel art 2560*1440 px is ideal for TV devices. If you’re not sure about the width and height of the channel art image, you can download the Channel Art Templates from YouTube Official Site to check.

Keeping in mind people will access your channel on a variety of screen sizes, you’re going to need to design channel art that fits within these proportions and displays correctly no matter how it’s viewed. Use the ‘safe area’ displayed on YouTube to ensure your logo and branding is correct on every screen size.

Part 3: Why should you care about channel art?

If you’re wondering if you should really be bothered about channel art, the answer is you absolutely should. Channel art is all about branding, and in today’s cluttered web world, having a strong, recognizable brand is crucial. Rather than simply having a place to upload some videos, your YouTube channel can become a powerful marketing tool for promoting your brand and values.

According to research, we are a highly visual species. 65 percent of people learn better visually, and when you’re thinking about retaining information, 90 percent of what we store in our brains is visual information. By presenting your viewers with visual content, you’re helping them take it in, retain it better and remember you for the future.

Part 4: Tips for Making Channel Art

1. Tips for Making Thumbnails

A thumbnail is an image that represents your video in YouTube’s search results. There are things you can do with your thumbnail that will make it more likely to get clicked on. Always upload your own thumbnail rather than relying on the one YouTube automatically chooses, and make sure the thumbnail you use is related to the content of your video.

One of the most important things to remember is that thumbnails are small. It is better if there is not a lot going on in them because details will be hard to see. If there is any text in your thumbnail make sure it is huge so that people can still read it once it has been shrunken down.

If you are making a thumbnail for a vlog entry then choose a shot that has you in it, particularly one where you are not too far away from the camera. It is also a good idea if the thumbnails for your vlog entries all look similar so it is easy for people browsing to recognize which videos are yours.

2. Tips for Making Watermarks

Watermarks work best when they are small and transparent so they do not distract viewers from your videos. If your watermark is colored, there should not be more than one or two colors. Unlike the full version of your logo, you do not want your watermark to be overly eye-catching.

3. Tips for Making Icons

Watermarks work best when they are small and transparent so they do not distract viewers from your videos. If your watermark is colored, there should not be more than one or two colors. Unlike the full version of your logo, you do not want your watermark to be overly eye-catching.

Part 5: Best Free & Paid YouTube Channel Art Maker [2021 List]

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a renowned artist or graphic designer to get some swish YouTube art ready for your channel. With some of the easy-to-use, powerful tools that are available out there, you can make some beautiful, professional-looking channel art in no time at all. Here are six of our favorite tools for creating amazing youtube channel art:

1. Photoshop

Produced by Adobe, Photoshop has been leading the way in professional design software for many years. When it comes to creating logos, banners, editing photos and more, nothing really comes close to the power of this software. While the professional version of Photoshop can set you back several hundreds of dollars, Photoshop Elements is much more affordable at around the $100 mark, and has enough functionality to do most things you’d need for your channel art.

New from Adobe is Adobe Spark Post, a free-to-use web and iOS app which has been specifically designed to help you create beautiful channel art. Although it can only provide basic channel art without much in the way of editing tools, if you’re new to graphic design and want a free, user-friendly way to create your art, this could be worth considering.

2. Wondershare PixStudio

YouTube channel art maker - PixStudio

Wondershare PixStudio is an all-in-one and powerful online graphic design maker for everyone. This online platform provides a wonderful creative design solution for you. Just through drag and drop templates, and then use photos/text/elements to design. After the simple and fast design, One-Click to download your creations, and share to your Facebook, Instagram Story, and YouTube Thumbnails, etc. immediately.

This online platform empowers anyone to create a beautiful design within a few steps. No professional skills required! By simply dragging and dropping the creative elements and templates, you are capable to release your imagination and convert it to stunning artwork.

3. Fotor

For a good, user-friendly way to create professional-looking YouTube channel art, Fotor is a pretty solid choice. Using a simple drag and drop interface, users can create a unique channel banner using preset designs or even uploading their own artwork.

The developers of Fotor have built in a bespoke banner maker, preset to the exact size required for YouTube channel art. This makes it easier than ever to ensure you develop excellent channel art which will display correctly on any device. Editing is limited, so advanced designers will probably find it all a bit too simplistic, but for the man on the street, this is a perfect choice.

4. Canva

Canva really stands out from the competition for the number of customizable design elements present on the website. From shapes to backgrounds, images to text, there are thousands of awesome, professional-looking elements to choose from to create your unique channel art.

Similar to Fotor, those who know what they’re doing in the design field will find it lacking in functionality, and there’s an irritating glitch where you can’t stretch more than one image to the ends of the canvas. Watch out for premium design elements too, as lots require payment, although usually not more than a dollar or two.

5. PicMonkey

For a good middle ground between expensive but powerful Photoshop and free but limited options like Canva and Fotor, PicMonkey is a great solution. It has plenty of design functionality, from working with layers to performing tasks like blending, and you can free draw and erase parts of your image too.

We found PicMonkey capable of pretty much everything you’d need to create a professional YouTube banner, and it’s a fair bit more user friendly than Photoshop too. It’s not free, but at a cost of $7.99 per month, it’s pretty affordable for what you get.

6. Snappa

Another web-based freemium service, Snappa has the added advantage of coming pre-loaded with all the dimensions of popular social channel’s banners, profile images and more, including YouTube. That means you can work on your channel art directly, seeing clearly which parts will be displayed on what devices.

The drawback to this particular platform is the sheer volume of stock images already on the site. There are some nice ones, but due to the lack of organization you need to scroll through quite a few mediocre options to find them. There’s also a fairly ungenerous limit on how many items you can create and save without upgrading, but the pro version is fairly affordable at just $10 a month.

There are many other services out there to help you create your YouTube channel art and what’s best for you will depend on the type of channel art you’re looking to create, as well as your own abilities with graphic design. Try some of the free versions before you jump in and pay for things, as some are actually really rather good.

Part 6: YouTube Channel Art Templates Free Download

If you don't know how to make youtube channel art, don't be worry, because in the following part, I'll share with you some free youtube channel art templates. The Filmora team has a community and forum for YouTube creators and it has designed some stunning YouTube Channel Art templates for different genres channels such as gaming, beauty, travel, comedy and education. Click here to download 50 free YouTube Banners, JPG & PhotoShop files. Examples:

Part 7: YouTube Channel Art Dimensions Cheatsheet [Infographic]

Usually, a viewer won’t visit your channel page and see your channel art until after they’ve watched one of your videos. The reason they’ve clicked to see your channel is that they want to learn more about you – do you have more videos like the one they just watched? Do you post a lot? Are you worth subscribing to?

If a viewer who is on the fence about subscribing to you arrives on your channel page and sees that you haven’t bothered uploading channel art, or that you’re using something that looks sloppy, odds are they won’t subscribe. This ‘Channel Art Cheat Sheet’ will help ensure you aren’t losing potential subscribers.

 YouTube Channel Art Cheatsheet

Recommended Video Editing Software for YouTube

The best video editor for YouTubers - Wondershare Filmora, not only allows you to cut, crop, rotate, reverse videos, but also offers your advanced features like PIP, Green Screen, or audio mixing. What's more, you can find lots of effects on Fashion, gaming, education, tutorial, sports, etc. Check this article to know more.

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Richard Bennett
Richard Bennett is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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