You should never judge a book by its cover, or so the saying goes. But no one ever said anything about a YouTube video! Truthfully, though, whether you’re choosing a book or a video, the cover is what gets you inside. So, you could argue, the YouTube thumbnail is even more important than the YouTube video title for attracting viewers.

The YouTube thumbnail should grab the attention of your target audience. Give them the first glimpse of what your video offers. You may have spent days creating an amazing video, but all of that will be in vain if you do not nail the art of making the perfect YouTube thumbnail!

You want to create a thumbnail that goes hand in hand with your YouTube branding. Read this guide to discover how to create a YouTube thumbnail that gets you all the clicks, views, and followers you’ve been waiting for.

Not only does Simplified have the best hints and tips on this subject, we’ve got an excellent (free!) YouTube thumbnail tool to help you out.


Related: 10 Examples of YouTube Descriptions: Free tools + Tips inside!

1. Start by Using the Right YouTube Thumbnail Dimensions

The basics always come first.

Check out the latest YouTube guidelines to make sure you have the right YouTube thumbnail size.

  • Recommended YouTube thumbnail size: 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Maximum width of the YouTube thumbnail: 640 pixels
  • Recommended YouTube thumbnail ratio: 16:9
  • Accepted file types: .jpg, .png, .gif, .bmp

Once you’ve got the technical aspects down, then you can focus on the fun stuff!


2. Less Clickbait, More Relevance!

Using clickbait texts and images can be tempting, at times, for video creators. But let’s be honest, as viewers, it’s super annoying! Because of its dishonest nature, clickbait content can cause people to lose faith in your brand.


Your YouTube thumbnail should give your audience a true insight into what the video is about. It should set the stage for the video before they jump in. A relevant YouTube thumbnail will give viewers a teaser of what’s to come – nothing less and nothing more.

It’s fine to use a hook to draw the viewer’s attention as long as your video content follows through.

Related: Unique Ways To Use Video Marketing In Building Your Brand

3. The Power of Colors

We can’t stress enough how important colors are when it comes to creating attention-grabbing content. No one wants to waste their time on what looks like a boring video with a dull YouTube thumbnail. Use bright, contrasting shades that stand out in the YouTube feed. Make sure that the thumbnail pops on the big screen as well as on smaller smartphone screens. Check out the most trending colors of 2021 and discover how to use them to create a greater impact with your thumbnail.


The color palette should be carefully chosen for both the text and the images. They should be consistent with your brand concept as well as your YouTube channel art. Learn more about your YouTube channel branding with these tips!

4. Check the Logo Placement

These days, having a brand strategy is a must. And it’s important to include your brand logo in every piece of content you upload. Building brand loyalty is essential not only for businesses but also for entrepreneurs and influencers. Your brand logo will enhance your YouTube marketing strategy because it will help viewers recognize your brand and return to your page. According to Renderforest (2021), logos are the most recognizable brand identifiers at 75%.

Just don’t let your logo overpower your YouTube thumbnail. Your brand logo should always be placed on the same spot and should not get in the way of the viewing experience. For example, Vevo and Refinery29 both place their logos prominently in the bottom left corner of their thumbnails in a subtle but noticeable way.

Image Source:
Image Source:

Related: Why is a Logo Important? Here are Six Compelling Reasons!

5. Simple but concise design

For something so small, the YouTube thumbnail can communicate a lot of information about your video to potential viewers. That doesn’t mean that you should overload it with text and images, though. For the sake of clarity, you should keep your YouTube thumbnail simple and straightforward.

Image Source: Vogue (YouTube)

Using a facial expression is great, whether that’s a character, photo, or emoji. Use good quality images in accordance with the recommended YouTube thumbnail size. A small amount of text in a large font works perfectly. You can also back up your text with a strong background image. The Simplified AI copywriting tool can come in very handy here, to help you create short and compelling headline phrases.

6. Spark curiosity with copywriting

Your copy and special effects should connect with your target audience and spark their curiosity, making them want to click and watch. Using facial expressions, good graphics, and colors can do half the task for you. A simple and catchy text phrase does the rest.

Do not copy your title into the thumbnail. Shorten your headline to keep things concise, and remember to include those all-important keywords. Check out these 17 AI copywriting tools to help you create content in seconds! A couple of smartly-picked words will do.

The color of the text should match your thumbnail image and the words should let people know what your video is about. Again, simple but compelling!

7. Test your YouTube Thumbnails

Finally, make it a point to test out different YouTube thumbnails. Using the principles and tricks above, you can come up with a variety of thumbnails for one video. You could use a real image from your gallery that connects with your content or an illustrated design. Play around with the background colors and text phrases. It can take a little effort to know exactly what is getting your target audience excited. There’s no harm in testing a couple of YouTube thumbnails before you land on the right one.


Swap your thumbnails in a couple of weeks and see if the number of views and clicks goes up or down. Measure the difference and you will eventually settle on the perfect YouTube thumbnail that appeals to the majority of your target audience.

Elevate your YouTube Game

YouTube is a competitive world, and every little detail matters. The perfect YouTube thumbnail should excite your current audience base. And ideally, it should also grab the attention of new viewers. What’s more, it should be absolutely relevant to your content. If you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll keep your audience coming back for more of your content.

The Simplified YouTube thumbnail tool is exactly what you need to get started. Giving you access to a ton of creative templates, fonts, and colors, plus an excellent AI copywriting generator, your YouTube thumbnail will have the potential to reach millions. There are also a variety of tools to boost your YouTube branding strategy.


Here’s to an amazing beginning to your successful YouTube channel. Head over to Simplified to start creating a brilliant YouTube thumbnail now!

One Free app to design, collaborate, and scale your work – try Simplified today.

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in:Marketing