Channel art, header photo, thumbnails and profile picture, can help a video and channel make it or break it. On youtube the competition is very high, and it is important to figure out how to create something that helps you to stand out from the crowd. People usually scroll though the home page on Youtube very fast looking for content, and there are three main factors that will make them click on your video: title, thumbnail and amount of views the video has gotten in relation to the time it was posted. If you are a start up channel, and your views are naturally low, you want to excel in your thumbnail and title! Since the selection process happens very fast the thumbnail and colors in your thumbnail will be the first thing people unconsciously notice, so create and choose your thumbnail with care.
Many of you beautiful souls in our community have asked us how we create our channel art on youtube. There is no easy answer to this, as every individual has their own artistic signature when art is created. However, after years of creating and editing photos it is possible to see a pattern of what works and what does not work. And I will try to break it down into 10 steps one can follow to create a signature art that will help YOUR channel grow and stand out from the crowd.
So how do you create a photo that will stand out from the crowd? Keep reading…
What is your message/video/channel about?
Get clear about your message and niche.
It is really important to be clear on what you are trying to convey through content. The title and thumbnail are a tool to express what the viewers will get once they click on your video. It does not matter if you make the most beautiful thumbnail and interesting title if it does not correlate to your content once your viewers have clicked on your video.
So make a plan on how to connect the three elements in a good, creative, and unique way.
Who is your target audience?
Your art should fit the audience you are targeting. Get clear on who you are trying to reach, and then create an artistic expression that matches your target audience.
For example, If your channel creates cartoons for children. Your target audience is children, and your art should therefore have a more childish approach, lots of colors and with text (either through title or thumbnail) that is clear and easy to understand.
Once you have established your message and target audience it is time to start the creative process of creating a photo that supports your message.
Stock photos to assist your creative process.
There are three ways you can create your thumbnail in a legal way.
- You take the photo yourself with a camera
- You create the art from scratch.
These two ways will ensure that YOU own the rights to your photo.
- Stock photo. Stock photos is a library where other artists sell a license to their photos and art and you pay for the right to use their photo and earn revenue on it in a legal way.
If you are using stock photo we highly recommend these websites:
We have chosen stock.adobe.com as our main source for stock photography. In one thumbnail we mix and edit up to 10-15 photos together to create a unique expression only to be found on our channel.
Other sites we use is shutterstock.com.
To download and edit stock photos can be quite expensive for a start-up project, however you can find a lot of beautiful free stock photos on web pages such as pixabay.com. This is a free service, and photos downloaded from here are totally safe to use.
Programs for creating and editing photos:
Once you have found and downloaded photos you wish to use for your next video and project you will need a program to edit those photos.
For most of our photo creations we use Picmonkey as our go-to program. Picmonkey is cheap, easy to use, and makes the photo editing process fun and fast.
For the more advanced photo editing program we recommend photoshop and illustrator. However it takes some time to learn these programs and get good at it, and it is expensive. So if you are just starting your journey of creating digital art, photoshop and illustrator will demand that you spend a good amount of time learning the programs.
How can you express your message visually?
The viewers on youtube scroll through a lot of videos before they decide which video theyd will click on, and there are 3 things that determine if they are going to click on your content:d The colors, motive and text of your thumbnail. You should create your channel art where thed color, motive and/or text in your photo express your content in a mindful way.
So let’s talk about colors. What colors should you choose and why is the color you choose so important?
According to a study titled “Impact of color on marketing”, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgment made of products was based on color alone. Carl Jung, a psychiatrist and advocate of color therapy, used color therapy with his patience because he thought that it would help them express some of the deeper parts of their psyche.
We associate different meanings and feelings with different colors. What colors we choose to wear might say something about what we are feeling that day. The colors we choose to decorate our homes with might say something about what colors create different feelings and atmosphere in us. Each chakra is also associated with a different color. And every chakra is responsible for an emotional frequency. We use colors unconsciously all the time.
When you are building your business, brand or/and channel, be conscious of what colors you are choosing, and what impression it will leave with your customers or viewers. Here is a basic list to guide you on the associations with colors:
White – purity, innocence, cleanliness, sense of space, neutrality, mourning
Red – love, romance, gentle, warmth, comfort, energy, excitement, intensity, life, blood, danger
Yellow – happiness, laughter, cheery, warmth, optimism, hunger, intensity, frustration, anger, attention-getting
Orange – happy, energetic, excitement, enthusiasm, warmth, wealth, prosperity, sophistication, change, stimulation
Blue – calmness, serenity, cold, uncaring, wisdom, loyalty, truth, focused, unappetizing
Purple – royalty, wealth, sophistication, wisdom, exotic, spiritual, prosperity, respect, mystery
Green – natural, cool, growth, money, health, envy, tranquility, harmony, calmness, fertility, renewal, life
Pink – romance, love, gentle, calming, agitation
Brown – reliability, stability, friendship, sadness, warmth, comfort, security, natural, organic, mourning
Gold – luxury, success, achievement, triumph, royalty, fortune, generosity, compassion, divinity, power
What motive should you pick for your thumbnail?
When you choose the motive of your thumbnail, choose something that will reflect and uplift your video content and title. It can either be a symbol of your message or a direct picture of what your video is all about.
There are also some hacks in aesthetics that can help your thumbnail to stand out and be an eye catcher.
Try to implement symmetry and the golden ratio as you create your art. According to research the golden ratio and symmetry is something that people unconsciously find especially pleasing.
Here you can read more about the golden ratio:
According to research it has been found that photos that contain faces have as much as 38% chance to receive likes compared to photos without faces. In addition it is 32% more likely to receive a comment when the photo contains a face.
Should you have text on your thumbnail or not?
There is no right or wrong here, however if you do choose to have text in your thumbnail, be consistent with it. Choose a text font that fits your channel and content, and stick with it. Youtube is a long term game, imagine how your channel will look after you have posted 100 videos and more. When you choose one font that fits your content, it will look classy, clean and tidy over time.
Look at other channels/google for art inspiration if you are stuck or need some pinpointers on what works.
What is it about this video that makes it work? How can you do it better?
Analyze previous content to give you an idea for your next video.
The best way to find a style that fits your brand, promotes growth and makes you stand out is to just try and fail, then try again until you find a way that works. Every business, brand and channel is unique and in the world of art there is no rule that can be applied to all. Be clever and analyze the direct feedback you get from your community. After every video you post, analyze what worked and what did not. Youtube has different tools that can assist you in the process. Such as the analytic tool.
We wish you the best of luck on your journey of creating the perfect thumbnails, and we hope that these tips will help YOU on your path of success.