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How to Make Video Thumbnails for YouTube

Oct 26, 2023• Proven solutions

The video thumbnails you use for YouTube are vital to getting views and subscribers. There are a lot of things that go into making people watch your videos, but your video thumbnail might be the most important factor. 

Here are 5 easy tips for creating thumbnails that get views.

  1. Have a Consistent Layout
  2. Use Your Face
  3. Use Graphics/Emojis That is On Topic
  4. Make Your Text Huge
  5. Keep It Clutter-Free!


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1. Have a Consistent Layout

Your thumbnails all must look like part of the same set. You want viewers to recognize your videos like yours, and they are more likely to do that if you build up a standard layout that they can start associating with you.

An example of a standard layout could be you in the middle of the screen wearing an expression that matches the theme of your video, with your title written underneath your face. Every individual thumbnail would still be different, but you and the text would always be in the same spot.

Consistent Layout

2. Use Your Face

People feel automatically connected and drawn into images that make eye contact. This makes thumbnails which feature faces more click-able than thumbnails which don’t, in most genres (i.e. if you make food videos then this may not apply – featuring the food might be more important than featuring your face). Check out more tips like this here.

Also, if somebody recognizes you in your thumbnail from a previous video of yours, that will go a long way towards making them click.


3. Use Graphics/Emojis that are On Topic

Anybody can take a screenshot of themselves in their video and use it as a thumbnail. To make your thumbnails look polished, consider using small images (like emojis or hearts) to stand out. This will add color and personality to your thumbnail.

Make sure the images you choose are relevant to the topic of your video.


4. Make Your Text Huge

If you use text in your thumbnail (you don’t have to) then it should be to add context. For example, if the main image is just you smiling then you might need some text to let viewers know the video is a makeup tutorial.

Thumbnails might look large while you’re putting them together in your image editor, but when they’re displayed on YouTube they’re a lot smaller. That goes double if a viewer is watching on their phone. So, make sure that any text you use is large enough that it can be read easily on small screens.


5. Keep it Clutter-Free!

It’s great to add text and emojis to your thumbnails, but you do need to be careful not to add too much. You never want your thumbnails to look cluttered. Viewers should be able to glance at your thumbnails and know exactly what kind of video to expect – that’s difficult to do if there’s too much to process.

A good rule for text is to use only 1-3 words. That way they won’t clutter your screen, and you can make them large enough to read on small-screened devices.


For even more tips on making great YouTube thumbnails, click here.

Use these tips to make video thumbnails for YouTube, and tell us what kind of results you get!

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