Video thumbnails are the first thing people see when they enter YouTube. And in a sea of endless videos, you want yours to stand out.
To spark curiosity. ✨
Most importantly, to pique the interest of the right audience that converts.
How do you do that? How do you create non-clickbaity YouYube thumbnails? There’s a lot that goes into creating an awesome thumbnail.
But the very first thing you need is a reliable YouTube thumbnail maker. A tool to assist you along the way.
In this article, we will introduce you to the best YouTube thumbnail makers available. We will also share some valuable tips and tricks for creating compelling thumbnails.
How We Picked the Best YouTube Thumbnail Design Tools
Before we dive into the best thumbnail makers, let’s discuss the criteria for selecting the right one. When looking for YouTube thumbnail makers, we considered the following factors…
Ease of use → The thumbnail maker should have a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and understand.
Customization options → Customized thumbnails perform better and boost brand awareness. Therefore, we looked for thumbnail makers that allow you to customize them according to your brand and video content.
Design features → The thumbnail maker should offer a variety of design features, such as templates, images, and fonts, to help you create eye-catching thumbnails.
Price → Is the tool worth its price?
Why Are Thumbnails Important?
First impressions matter, especially on social media.
Just think about it. You have seconds to grab the attention of your viewers and get them to click on your video. ⌛
That’s why a stellar thumbnail is so important. It can make the difference between a YouTube video that gets buried in the clutter and one that rises to the top.
When you think about it, YouTube thumbnails are like book covers. Just like a book cover can make someone pick up a book, a good video thumbnail can get someone to click on your video.
And let’s be honest – we do judge a book by its cover (as much as we hate to admit it).
A well-designed video thumbnail can significantly improve click-through rates (CTR) by enticing people to check out the video. If the content delivers, you’ll also see an improvement in conversion rates.
And as you may well know, higher click-through rates can improve the ranking of your video on YouTube. So, a killer YouTube video thumbnail shows that your content is well-optimized for search engines. 💪
More so, a stellar YouTube thumbnail evokes trust and professionalism. Let’s say you want to watch a clip about the best video thumbnail makers. Which video do you click on? The one with a poorly done thumbnail or the one that’s well-put together? Which one inspires more trust?
I think we all know the answer to that.
Ultimately, compelling thumbnails can help build a loyal audience and increase engagement with your content.
Best YouTube Thumbnail Makers in 2023
Choosing the best YouTube thumbnail maker can be tricky. You need to consider your needs and budget, as well as your design skills and preferences. Do you want a simple tool that does the work for you, or a complex one that lets you customize everything to your liking?
To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of the best YouTube thumbnail makers to try in 2023. Let’s dive in.
With Canva, designing marketing materials, covers, or branded documents is a breeze, even if you have no design experience.
Its comprehensive template library, graphics, and fonts, combined with an easy-to-use interface, make it an ideal choice for creating YouTube thumbnails that spark interest.
But what makes Canva so great for creating YouTube thumbnails? For starters, it’s packed with features that are relevant for thumbnail creation.
You can choose from a wide range of templates specifically designed for YouTube thumbnails, and customize them with your images and text.
Plus, with its simple drag-and-drop interface, you can easily create a thumbnail that perfectly represents your video and your brand.
✅ It’s perfect for those with no design experience.
✅ You get loads of free stock images, elements, illustrations, and fonts to use.
✅ The background remover makes
⛔ Some of its more advanced features are only available with a paid subscription.
⛔ You can’t create complex vector art.
Canva offers a free version that includes access to thousands of templates and graphics. But if you want access to even more features, you can upgrade to a paid subscription starting at just $9.95 per month.
Snappa is another online graphic design tool that doubles as a great YouTube thumbnail maker. If you don’t want to spend hours learning new software, this might be the right tool for you.
With Snappa, you can create click-worthy YouTube thumbnails in minutes. It’s loaded with a variety of templates, high-res images, and everything else you need.
Some of the features that make Snappa great for creating YouTube thumbnails include its ideal image dimensions for YouTube thumbnails, access to over 5 million high-res, royalty-free stock photos from their library, professionally designed templates, and customizable graphics, shapes, and text.
✅ It’s fast and easy to use.
✅ You get a vast library of pre-designed templates and a drag-and-drop interface
⛔ You can only export graphics in JPG and PNG file formats.
Snappa offers a free plan with limited features as well as paid plans starting at $10 per month when billed annually.
If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable graphic design tool to use for your video thumbnails, Adobe Express is another great choice. While it’s no Photoshop or Illustrator, Adobe Express gives you access to a wide range of design elements and a bunch of pre-made Youtube thumbnail templates.
You can customize your text and graphics with ease, and there’s even a built-in photo editor with filters and effects.
Sure – Photoshop and Illustrator are far more advanced & allow you to create super intricate designs. But the learning curve is steeper on these tools.
Express, however, is more straightforward. So if you’re looking for an uncomplicated tool, Express might be right up your alley.
✅ Access to millions of Adobe Stock photos & over 20,000 licensed Adobe Fonts.
✅ You get a lot of editing tools.
✅ Free YouTube thumbnails you can use to simplify the creation process.
✅ Connect it to your Creative Cloud to store everything in a single source of truth.
⛔ Limited features compared to other Adobe products
Adobe Express Pricing
You can use Adobe Express for free as long as you want. But if you want to unlock more awesome features, you can upgrade to the premium plan for just $10 a month. If you want to take the premium plan out for a spin, they offer a 14-day free trial.
Creatopy is an ad design automation platform that helps businesses create, automate, and scale their ad production.
You can use Creatopy to create any type of marketing material. Additionally, Creatopy also provides a Youtube thumbnail creator that is packed with pre-made templates.
Creatopy’s features simplify the process of designing attractive YouTube thumbnails. They have a wide range of Youtube thumbnail templates, so you can surely find one that suits your needs and then customize it to your liking.
The combination of Creatopy’s drag-and-drop editor and extensive library of design elements, illustrations, and assets makes it incredibly effortless to create video thumbnails. And if you want to be consistent with the theme of your thumbnails, the Brand Kit features come in handy.
✅Wide range of features and tools
✅Available on both desktop and mobile devices.
✅Collaboration tools for teams
⛔ Can be expensive if you’re only looking for a Youtube thumbnail creator.
⛔ Steep learning curve for beginners.
Creatopy offers a free trial to test out the platform. Pricing plans start at $24/month if billed yearly. You can choose between a monthly or an annual billing cycle, with the option to save up to 25% on the yearly plan
Pixlr is a free online photo editor & design tool powered by AI. With Pixlr, you can edit photos or create designs in your browser, phone, or desktop.
They provide a range of tools & features such as an AI image generator, background remover, template library, and photo editing tools.
If you’re looking for a Youtube thumbnail creator that also allows you to edit photos and design marketing materials, this might be the right fit for you.
✅Available on desktop and mobile devices
✅ Super easy to use.
⛔ While Pixlr provides a range of tools & effects, it doesn’t have the advanced features you would need for complex projects.
You can use Pixlr for free, but you’re limited to three saves per month. Their plus plan is $1.99 per month, which gets you unlimited saves and an ad-free experience. If you want access to all features, templates & assets, you’ll be paying $7.99 per month.
The all-mighty Adobe Photoshop also serves as a powerful YouTube thumbnail maker. Its advanced features and tools allow for precise control over image quality and design, while its templates and presets enable quick and efficient thumbnail creation.
✅ Advanced tools which offer more precision.
⛔ not as easy to use as other YouTube thumbnail generators.
Adobe Photoshop pricing
You can get Adobe Photoshop for $20.99 a month or pay $239.88 for the whole year. Either way, you’ll get all the latest features and updates, plus 100GB of cloud storage.
Adobe Illustrator is a powerful vector graphics software that allows you to create complex illustrations & designs.
Now, why is Illustrator such a popular choice for video thumbnail creation? Well, the short answer is that it allows you to customize your designs to the max. If you want to play around with multiple Youtube thumbnail designs, the artboard feature comes in handy. Illustrator also has a range of shape tools that allows you to create any shapes or illustrations you want to include in your thumbnails. More so, the layers let you organize your design elements and make adjustments to specific elements without affecting the entire design.
All in all, Illustrator offers many advanced features that you’re just not going to get with other tools. These features lead to a controlled design process and high-quality output.
✅ Wide range of features and tools.
✅ Supports multiple file format exports.
⛔ Steep learning curve for beginners.
⛔ Might be a bit expensive for individual users.
Adobe Illustrator Pricing
You can test Adobe Illustrator for free for 7 days. If you like the software, you’ll be paying $20.99 per month or $239.88 billed yearly.
YouTube Thumbnail Tips & Tricks 🎥
What goes into creating a video thumbnail that captures the attention of the right audience, you ask? Well – one thing’s for sure – 90% of the best-performing content on YouTube has personalized thumbnails.
Alright – you got your hands on a YouTube thumbnail maker. Now what? Well, creating a compelling YouTube thumbnail is an art form in itself. Here are some tips and tricks to help you make your thumbnails stand out and attract more views.
Brainstorm Your Title & Video Thumbnail Concept Before Creating Content 🧠
I know this sounds counterintuitive but hear me out – create your thumbnail concepts ahead of time.
According to a little poll done by VidIQ on YouTube, 86% of Youtubers start creating the video before getting into video thumbnail design.
But think about it. By brainstorming the thumbnail concept ahead of time, you can come up with video titles faster & you will create a cohesive package that looks polished. Plus, YouTube thumbnail design isn’t exactly a piece of cake.
Designing is an arduous task. So why leave it last? Trust me, this will save you from a world of pain and suffering later on.
Know Thy Audience! 🎯
One of the most important factors to consider when creating your thumbnails is who you are trying to reach. Different audiences have different preferences, expectations, and tastes. What works for one niche may not work for another.
That’s why extreme faces work for some YouTube creators and fail for others. Here are a few ideas to get to know your target audience on YouTube:
- Research your competitors. Look at the thumbnails of other channels in your niche, pick a few crowd favorites, and see what they are doing. What can you learn from them and what can you do differently?
- Analyze your data. Use YouTube analytics tools to see which of your thumbnails perform better than others. What are the common elements that attract more clicks and views? How do they match your audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviors?
- Go straight to the source. Engage with your viewers and subscribers and ask them what they think of your thumbnails. You can use polls or surveys to get their opinions and suggestions. Listen to their feedback and use it to improve your thumbnails.
Don’t Be Click-Baity! 🙅♀️
Do you know what’s worse than a bad thumbnail? A misleading one.
Of course, you want to improve your click-through rate. But you don’t have to resort to click-bait thumbnails & titles to get there. Your audience will see right through that.
Sensationalist headlines might have worked well in the age of tabloids, but now they’re just predictable and boring. Sure – these clickbaity titles get a lot of views, but do people trust the content?
I’d lean towards no.
Consumers are on to brands & content creators who try to mislead them. Instead, they are leaning towards authenticity, credibility, and integrity. So, keep your thumbnails honest, eye-catching, and true to the content of your video.
But don’t take my word about it – here’s what Google has to say about the matter. 👇
Keep It Short & Sweet! 🍬
Think of your thumbnail as a visual elevator pitch for your video. Its goal is to communicate what your video is about and why your audience should care.
And simplicity is key in this regard. Clutter will only confuse viewers and get them to click on other videos. Yes, the thumbnail should be visually appealing.
But not overcrowded with text or illustrations.
Use High-Quality Assets to Make Your Thumbnails Look Polished 👔
High-quality images and graphics can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your thumbnail. Using low-quality assets to make your thumbnails is like walking disheveled into a presentation. It doesn’t exactly scream professionalism and it can lower your chances of getting the attention you want from the audience.
You want to present yourself in the best possible way and show that you care about your work and your image.
Use Brand Consistent Colors and Fonts 🎨
Using colors and fonts that are consistent with your brand can help reinforce your identity and make the thumbnails instantly recognizable to your audience.
Neil Patel does this well. He often uses orange and a consistent font throughout his videos. This consistency helps to establish a cohesive visual identity for his brand and reinforces his authority in his field.
An easy way to achieve this is by using YouTube thumbnail design tools with brand portals where you can save your colors, fonts, and logo. You can also opt for pre-saved templates which you customize to your liking each time you create a new video. Not only will your viewers recognize your video content with ease, but it will also save you a bunch of time!
Choose Complementary & Contrast Colors to Draw Attention 🌈
To create a visual impact that’s sure to bring clicks, use complementary colors & contrast colors. They can also help you highlight the most important elements of your thumbnail and communicate your message effectively.
Use a color wheel or color scheme generator to simplify the process.
Here are some tips to help you choose colors that suit your brand & content:
- Use a color wheel or color scheme generator to simplify the process.
- Use contrast colors to create a focal point or a background for your thumbnail.
- Use colors that match the mood or tone of your content, such as warm or cool, bright or dark, etc.
- Avoid using too many colors that can clash or confuse your audience.
Ahrefs consistently uses contrasty colors (blue and white), as well as complementary colors (blue and orange) to draw attention to the topic of their videos. However, the colors don’t overwhelm the thumbnails but rather lure attention to them.
The Text on the Thumbnail Contextualizes the Video Title 📝
Remember – the text should complement the title of your video and provide additional context for viewers.
If you’re using the same copy on your thumbnail as in your video title, you’re missing out on the opportunity to create more curiosity in your video content. ✨
Don’t Hit Publish Without Asking This Question 🤔
Does this thumbnail spark curiosity?
If your answer is a resounding yes, then you’re good to go.
When I talk about igniting your audience’s curiosity, I don’t mean resorting to misleading clickbait thumbnails or titles.
But there’s a good side to clickbait.
In fact, Veritasium, a popular science YouTuber, suggests that there are two types of clickbait. Type I click-bait refers to using misleading headlines and thumbnails that trick viewers into clicking on a video that doesn’t deliver on its promise. And this damages the credibility of the creator.
Type II click-bait refers to the ethical use of curiosity to pique viewers’ interest and get them to click on a video that does deliver.
That’s what you want to go for.
Preview All Your YouTube Thumbnails 👁️🗨️
Before publishing your video, make sure to preview all of your thumbnails to see how they will look on different devices and screen sizes. To check how your video thumbnail looks, use a video preview tool, like the one provided by VidIQ or Thumbnail Preview.
This will help ensure that your thumbnail looks great no matter where it’s viewed.
Test Your Thumbnail 🔍
Don’t be afraid to test different thumbnails to see which ones work best for your audience. You can try different designs, colors, or even text to see what gets the most clicks.
Sadly, YouTube doesn’t offer an A/B testing feature. However, there are several ways to test your thumbnails, such as:
- A/B test manually – To figure out which kind of thumbnails perform better on your channel, you can post your video with one thumbnail and then manually change it to a different one and compare it to see how the two perform.
- Use TubeBuddy’s video A/B testing tool – TubeBuddy is a Youtube analytics tool, but it also has an A/B testing tool that allows you to test different thumbnails for your videos.
- Try Thumblytics – Thumblytics is a website that allows you to test your thumbnails and titles with hundreds of people. All you have to do is upload the thumbnails and titles you want to test, and they generate a mockup. People vote for their favorite images and you get an insight into what works well.
FAQs About Youtube thumbnails
What Size Is a YouTube Thumbnail?
YouTube recommends that you upload thumbnails with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Make sure that the images are under 2MB. Supported formats are JPG, GIF, or PNG.
What Is a Youtube Thumbnail?
A YouTube thumbnail is a small image that represents a video on the YouTube platform. It appears in search results, on the video’s watch page, and in suggested videos. The thumbnail serves as a visual representation of the video’s content, and its purpose is to entice viewers to click on the video and watch it. YouTube thumbnails can be created by selecting a frame from the video or designing a custom image representing the video’s content. An effective thumbnail is eye-catching, relevant, and accurately represents the content of the video.
How To Change a Thumbnail on YouTube?
On PCs or laptops
1️⃣ Open Youtube Studio.
2️⃣ Click on “Content”.
3️⃣ Select the video you want to edit.
4️⃣ Select an automated thumbnail or click “Upload thumbnail” to add a custom video thumbnail.
On the Android and iPhone app
1️⃣ Open the YouTube app.
2️⃣ Go to “Library” → “Your videos”.
3️⃣ Next to the video you want to edit, click “More” → “Edit” → “Edit thumbnail”.
4️⃣ Click on “Custom Thumbnail” and add your thumbnail.
5️⃣ Select & Save.