Want to increase your chances to get more clicks on your YouTube videos? Think about your favorite YouTubers, can you spot their videos just by looking at their YouTube thumbnail? Apart from creating awesome videos, all their YouTube thumbnails are customized with either the same brand color, same person’s face or same text overlay. Whenever you want to find their content, it’s easy to find just by looking at their YouTube visuals. They have built a strong brand presence with some simple tweaks to their YouTube thumbnails. Now, it’s your turn!

YouTube Creator academy reported that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails.”

When you upload a video on YouTube, YouTube gives you an option to either pick a still photo from the video or upload a custom thumbnail. But first, verify your account because only verified YouTube accounts can upload custom thumbnails.

This will teach you how to make YouTube thumbnails that get clicks and tools to help you create

Best practices to make your YouTube thumbnail more clickable:

Add a Text Overlay

People see your YouTube thumbnails and titles to make a decision whether to watch a video or not. Add an eye-catchy and creative text overlay to make it stand out. With tons of search results on YouTube, a text overlay on videos increases your chances of being spotted!

VEED'S YouTube Thumbnails with Text Overlays

Increase your chances to get more YouTube clicks by:

  • Using bold text
  • Using a font size and style that is easily readable
  • Add a short version of your title, ask a question, add humor etc.

Things to avoid:

  1. Clickbait sentences
  2. Don’t overcrowd the thumbnail with too much text.
  3. Avoid script, handwritten, or any other decorative-style fonts that are hard to read.

Humanize It and Add Your Personality

Give YouTube thumbnails a human face to make it more relatable; add your personality  using facial expressions and body language to the thumbnails and make them stand out. People are more likely to click on a thumbnail with a human face as compared to one without because it’s more personal.

Thumbnails not only show up on YouTube but also on google search, so, humanizing it makes your brand clickable and memorable. Few things you can do to make your headshot stand out: be expressive and don’t be afraid to be silly!

Use Branded Visuals and Fonts

YouTube is a visual platform. So infusing your branding into your YouTube thumbnail graphics can help make your channel more memorable. By being consistent with everything involved in your videos – from thumbnails to the video itself – people will begin to recognize you and associate you with your high quality content.

Choose Simple

Keep the design simple and to the point! Cluttering with a zillion design elements will make the thumbnail pointless and instead of attracting people, it will distract people.

Don’t overdo it.Remember, a thumbnail is seen on a way smaller scale than the file you are designing it on. It helps to zoom out to see if everything is clear when the YouTube thumbnail is viewed in actual size.

Tools to Make Great-Looking YouTube Video Thumbnails Without Photoshop


Canva is a free and easy graphic design tool which can double up as your YouTube thumbnail maker tool.

Explore tons of free templates on Canva

Canva has pre-made customizable YouTube thumbnail templates with the right dimensions. But even though sizing is already set up, it doesn't hurt to know the dimensions anyway. Youtube Thumbnail Dimensions are 1280 pixels by 720 pixels or an aspect ratio of 16:9.

You can build a graphic from scratch or choose from tons of pre-made customizable graphics. No design skills needs to build a YouTube thumbnail like a pro.

Why we love Canva:

  • Type YouTube Thumbnail in the Search Bar and you can choose templates from different themes: Beauty, Food, Tutorial, etc.
  • Frames let you add an image to shape that fits perfectly with the graphic.
  • You can remove background from your images in few seconds, perfect for when you want to humanize the graphic with your photo (Please note: You need the Canva Pro for it)
  • Many creative fonts to choose from for a text overlay
  • Customize with your brand colors.

There is so much you can do with this free tool!

Adobe Spark

A free and fun tool by Adobe to create custom graphics for social media, including YouTube. No design skills needed to use this YouTube thumbnail maker tool, it’s super simple to use.

Adobe Spark has plenty of free templates to try out!
  • Go to https://spark.adobe.com
  • Search for YouTube Thumbnail in the search bar
  • Choose from over 20 themes or scroll the page to find a thumbnail you love
  • Choose one and click on CREATE

Now you can customize the template such as change the colors, add elements etc. You can’t add your own logo to every graphic automatically on the free version, you have to manually upload to every graphic you create

Adobe Spark is a simple and free tool but unlike Canva, it’s free version has adobe watermarks on the graphics and customization is very limited. Both the free tools have mobile apps too which is super handy and you can create on the go.

If you want to take it up a notch, try out more powerful design tools by Adobe (paid tool) such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

You are now ready to make click-worthy thumbnails for your YouTube videos! Creating custom YouTube thumbnails will drive people to your video but if you want people to keep visiting your channel regularly, a high quality video is the key. Try out VEED’s simple but powerful online video editor where you can add subtitles, progress bars, add text to video, and so much more.