YouTube channel art refers to your banner, icon, and watermark along with the thumbnails of your videos. Creating custom channel art is a great way to express yourself and communicate the tone of your videos.
YouTube supports JPG, GIF, BMP, and PNG files for channel art, although they do not allow animated GIFs.
Part 1: Top Sites for YouTube Channel Art
You can make your channel art in Photoshop, or another photo editing program, but there are also some excellent tools online which you can access for free. Here are two of the best:
Canva has templates for YouTube banners as well as a variety of stock images. You can also upload and edit your own images on Canva. It is a free service, but they do have some premium features which cost $1 each. Canva has a desktop version and an iPad app.
PicMonkey lets you import images from your computer or social media accounts, edit them, and use them in templates for YouTube banners or other kinds of social media graphics. It’s free to use, but you can only access their more advanced editing tools if you buy a paid subscription for either $4.99 a month, or $2.75 a month for a year.
Part 2: Banners
Your banner is the header for your channel page. Its dimensions are 2560 x 1440 px.
Not all of your banner will be visible on all devices. The full 2560 x 1440 px image will only be seen by viewers watching on tv screens.
Only 1546 x 423 px of your banner will be visible on computers, and this ‘safe area’ can vary for different tablets and smartphones depending on the width of their screens. Make sure any important text or logos are placed in a central location so everybody can see them.
Also, keep in mind that your icon will hover over the top left corner of your banner and that your social media icons will be located in the bottom right corner.
The file size of your banner cannot be over 4MB.
Part 3: Icons
Your icon is the avatar you use when leaving and replying to comments on YouTube. It also hovers over your banner on your channel page.
By default, your icon will be the picture associated with your Google account.
If you upload a new icon, it will render down to 98 x 98 px. So, any square image larger than 98 x 98 px will work. However, YouTube recommends you use one as large as 800 x 800 px. This will give you a sharper, higher quality, image.
Part 4: Thumbnails
Thumbnails are the images that represent your videos on your channel page and in search results.
You can browse through your video and choose a still frame you want to use as your video’s thumbnail. Or, you can upload a custom image.
Custom thumbnails should have an aspect ratio of 16:9, the same as YouTube’s video player. The files should be under 2MB and have a resolution of 1280 x 720.
To upload a custom thumbnail, select the custom thumbnail option under Video Thumbnails at the end of the video uploading process. You can also change the thumbnails of your existing videos to custom ones through Video Manager.
Remember that your thumbnail will be rendered down to a much smaller size. If you use text, like the title of your video, then you should make it really big so that it is easy to read when it gets shrunk down.
Part 5: Watermarks
A watermark is a small, usually 50 x 50 px image displayed in the bottom right corner of your video.
Watermarks protect your videos by making them harder for others to steal and take credit for.
Ideally, your watermark will be a transparent version of your logo. Try not to use more than three colors – you do not want your watermark to distract your viewers.
If you add a branding watermark through YouTube then that watermark will also double as a subscribe link.
Here is how you can add a branding watermark through YouTube:
On YouTube, go to your Creator Studio and select Branding under the Channel menu.
Click the blue add a watermark button on the Branding page.
An upload of a watermark window will pop up. Select your image file and click Save.
Choose between having a start time for your watermark, making it appear only at the end of your videos, or having it there for the entire length of your videos. The popular choice is to have it visible through the entire video.
Click Update. Your watermark will be applied to all of your videos.
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Shanoon Cox is a writer and a lover of all things video.
Follow @Shanoon Cox
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