They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. They also say to never judge a book by its cover. Who are ‘they’ anyway!?
The truth is, research has shown that you have approximately seven seconds to make a good first impression. On YouTube, banner art is the first thing people see when they come to your channel, so the image you choose is paramount, as people will use it to determine your quality and professionalism. Banners are key to capturing the essence of your brand, whether you’re an individual, small business, or big-time videographer.
The optimal size for your YouTube channel art is 2560 x 1440 pixels. The minimum dimension for uploading a YouTube banner is 2048 x 1152 px. Keep in mind that channel art looks different on desktop, mobile, and TV displays. The page will scale to reveal more or less art based on your picture dimensions, browser window, and device. If you’re not clear what the width and height of your image should be, YouTube has some channel art templates you can download here (you’ll probably need an art program like Photoshop to use this). If you don’t have Photoshop or something like it, don’t worry! When you upload your artwork to YouTube, you’ll get a preview of how your image will look on different devices anyway.
To give you some idea before you start, here are a couple of examples:
Minimum width on a desktop computer screen:
YouTube will expand a smaller image to fit the container. This might mean some parts of your image are hidden under your profile picture.
Maximum width on a desktop computer screen:
In the image above, you can see how more of the image at the top, bottom and sides is visible.
The image is scaled down to the width of the mobile screen, which varies by device. YouTube shows only a snippet of your full banner, but it is similar to the minimum desktop display size above.
On a TV display, the whole image is shown as channel art in the background. The aspect ratio is 16:9 (i.e. 2560x1440px), and you will be seeing this much of the image (with the usual buttons and menus over the top).
There are plenty of amazing, free YouTube banner makers out there — more on that in a minute. Here are some fantastic examples of everything your banner art can be!
This example, from Adobe Spark, keeps it simple, straightforward, and beautiful. The words are in the center of the banner, so you know this image will convert nicely to different devices.
This is another great example from Snappa. You know exactly what content you’re going to get from this YouTube channel. The banner is elegant, soothing, and crisp. Hopefully, Lawrence’s travels were similarly smooth.
Here’s a template from Bannersnack that shows you don’t need an image to create an effective YouTube banner image. This cover art doesn’t give anything away, drawing the audience in. It also gives Suzie the freedom to change up her content without being tied to one image - which is great for someone who works in makeup!
Adding an image with a person, like this one from Fotor, makes your channel instantly more interesting. This banner also works to promote current content on the platform — maximizing your spring look — drawing people deeper into your channel. If first impressions are everything, this one packs a punch.
“They” also say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and your YouTube banner art should stay true to your brand. Keep your banner simple, using the same colors and branding as the rest of your channel for consistency. Experts suggest using only two to three colors in one banner image. Consider adding a photo to make the page more personable, but be careful with how the banner will crop on different devices. Incorporate your logo to distinguish your brand, but keep it in the center of your banner. Avoid putting anything important on the sides where your YouTube social sharing buttons might obscure that part of the image. If you do decide to use an image, make sure it’s high quality!
There are plenty of great YouTube cover makers out there. Fotor’s YouTube Cover Maker is one tool you can use to create a YouTube banner in four steps. Canva also offer a banner maker that lets you draw from their ridiculously good library of professionally designed layouts, images, fonts, and colors. Adobe Spark is a great option if you’re interested in making a YouTube banner on the go: their iOS app allows you to see what the banner might look like on a mobile device. Bannersnack is a tool that specializes in banners across all social media channels. If you’re looking to create a cohesively branded experience, look to their templates. Snappa is a banner maker for YouTube that promises speed. With Snappa, you can create banner art in under 60 seconds.
No matter what tool you use, make sure to personalize your template to make it unique to your channel! Remember the rules of good YouTube banners, and you’ll be making a good impression in seven seconds or less.