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How to make a Thumbnail for YouTube

“Craft eye-catching YouTube thumbnails by using high-resolution images and design tools. Optimize size (1280×720), utilize contrasting colors, include relevant text, and ensure it represents your video content effectively for higher engagement.”

Making YouTube Video Thumbnails – How to Guide

In this post, I cover what makes a good thumbnail and how to make a thumbnail for YouTube using the Thumbly AI-assisted Chrome Extension.

Thumb.ly is a Chrome Extension designed to make the process of creating visually appealing and word-appealing thumbnail text directly from YouTube Studio.  

Creating an effective video thumbnail is crucial for attracting attention, increasing click-through rates, and ultimately driving more views and engagement for your YouTube videos.

When learning how to make a Thumbnail for YouTube, you should consider the factors that contribute to a good video thumbnail: 

  1. Relevance: Your thumbnail should accurately represent the content in your video. The thumbnail should clearly show what viewers can expect to see, ensuring it aligns with the title and description. Misleading thumbnails can lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement.

    Thumbly AI-assisted – Thumbly takes the text from your video title and description and uses AI to deliver short, relevant and enticing suggestions for the words on your thumbnail.

  2. Visual Appeal: It goes without saying, but your thumbnail should be visually appealing and eye-catching to capture your want-to-be viewer’s attention. Using frames from your video with the addition of vibrant colours, and a clear subject is a great way to make your thumbnail stand out.

    Thumbly Frame Selection – Thumbly allows you to select any frame from the video you have uploaded to YouTube Studio to use as the starting point for your Thumbnail creation. 

  3. Simplicity: Keep the thumbnail design simple and uncluttered. A cluttered thumbnail can be confusing and difficult to understand. Use clear and concise visuals that communicate the main message effectively.

    Thumbly Text – Thumbly automatically adds suggested AI-suggested text ready to change colours using the Thumbly editor.  Move text into a position that makes sense and does not distract from the thumbnail’s main image.

  4. Human Faces and Emotions: Incorporating human faces in the thumbnail can be highly effective, as they naturally draw attention. Expressive faces that convey emotions like surprise, happiness, curiosity, or excitement can evoke a stronger emotional response and make viewers more likely to click.

    Thumbly Frame Selection – If your video has frames that include yourself or other people, you can select a frame from your video that shows a face or faces that work in the context of your thumbnail and video to convey the desired emotion.

    Text Plays a Vital Part in Attracting CTRs 

  5. Text and Typography: Adding text to the thumbnail provides context and reinforces the video’s message. Use bold and legible fonts that are easily read, even in small sizes. Place text strategically, focusing on the key points or a captivating headline that entices viewers to click.

    Thumbly Editor – Thumbly has a simple built-in editor that lets you quickly add or remove text and format it to align with your brand and video.

  6. Branding: Consistency is important for building a recognisable brand. Consider incorporating your logo or brand colours in the thumbnail design to reinforce brand identity. However, ensure that branding elements don’t overshadow the main content or become too intrusive.

    Thumbly Add Image – Add an image to your video thumbnail, including your logo, enabling you to add fun elements and retain branding consistency.

  7. Composition and Framing: Pay attention to the composition and framing of the thumbnail. Place the main subject or focal point in a prominent position, ideally following the rule of thirds. Experiment with different angles, or unique perspectives to create intrigue and curiosity.

    Thumbly Positioning – Position text and images anywhere on the thumbnail that works with the selected background image of the thumbnail.  For added effect, rotating text and images can add extra effectiveness to help your thumbnail stand out. 

  8. Contrast and Thumbnail Size: Ensure that the thumbnail has good contrast to make it stand out, especially if it appears among other videos in search results or related videos. 

    Thumbly Text Blocks – Thumbly enables you to add blocks of colour with the insert text tool.  This can be used to great effect to really drill home your text messaging. 

  9. Test and Optimize: Creating effective thumbnails is a continuous process of experimentation and optimisation. A/B testing different thumbnail designs can help you identify what works best for your audience. Monitor your click-through rates and viewer engagement to determine which thumbnails generate the most interest and adjust your strategy accordingly.

    Thumbly Recreation – By using Thumbly, it’s easy for you to create new thumbnails for the same video and test them to compare.  

  10. Compliance with Platform Guidelines: Different video platforms may have specific thumbnail guidelines and requirements. Familiarise yourself with these guidelines to ensure your thumbnails comply with the platform’s rules and recommendations.

    Thumbly Images – While Thumbly is designed for use directly inside YouTube Studio, you can download thumbnails for other popular video platforms.  

To summarise how to make a Thumbnail for YouTube.

Good video thumbnail should be visually appealing, relevant, simple, and accurately represent the video’s content. By incorporating human faces, using compelling text, and optimising for contrast and composition, you can create thumbnails that capture attention, increase click-through rates, and attract more video viewers.

By using Thumbly, you can quickly and easily create compelling video thumbnails that will see your videos can higher clickthrough rates and increased engagement. 


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