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What Size Should Your YouTube Thumbnail Be?

Hey there, streamers and would-be YouTubers! As some of you may know, I often recommend you guys to start YouTube channels as a means of generating an audience on another platform. But before you begin that adventure, I need to cover a few basic things about YouTube. These are things that everybody needs to know to have the best chance for your content to be seen among the colossal number of other YouTubers. For this article, the subject that I am tackling today is the Ideal YouTube Thumbnail size.

What this article isn’t, is a guide for creating enticing Thumbnails. I will visit that subject later, but for now, I’ll leave you with this; Thumbnail creation is a skill that you hone. The first few that you create, you’ll probably hate. For example, our featured images for our older articles look like hot garbage compared to what I am capable of now. It is important, though, to keep trying, and experimenting. Eventually, you’ll develop that skill, and establish a thumbnail style that defines your channel.

Not a Streamer? You should give it a try! I’ve got a guide to help you get started if you’re curious about it.

The Ideal YouTube Thumbnail Size & other Specifications

I’ll keep this short for your sanity.

The Ideal YouTube Thumbnail Size:

  • 1280px Width x 720px Height
  • Must be under 2 MB in size.
  • Supported File formats:
    • JPG
    • PNG
    • GIF (Not Animated)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9

That’s it! Pretty easy, right? I wanted to make it as easy as possible to get the info you need so you can continue your content creation journey. But if you’d like, I have some extra info you may find helpful in the following section, including some programs used by YouTubers to create these thumbnails.

Some pre-design recommendations

Sticking around? Great! When working on thumbnails, I recommend creating a YouTube Thumbnail Template file as early as possible to work off of in your image manipulation program of choice. This template will serve as the basis for all future thumbnails that you create, and if done right, can allow you to create effective thumbnails in a few seconds to a couple minutes.

This means creating some Layers that you can turn on and off, and use specific file types that preserve these layers each time you open up your design program of choice.

Some examples of these file types are XCF, PSD, and Blend.

You would save these as the Template for your video, then export as a .PNG, or .JPG for use on YouTube’s system.

With that being said, I can’t wait until the .Webp format becomes standard for YouTube. Much better quality, much smaller file size. I use that filetype on Streamer’s Haven, it saves a ton of space and load time.

Programs to create your YouTube Thumbnail

If you’ve dabbled in computer graphics design in the past, then you may already be aware of, or even familiar with some of these programs.

While the first two are traditionally associated with typical Image design and manipulation, there is another that can be used. I’m talking about Blender. This program can be used to incorporate 3D elements into your thumbnails and render as PNG. This can add a nice touch if you’re willing to put in the extra effort associated with 3D model design and manipulation. Fun tidbit, you can actually sell said models on places like Sketchfab, which I’ve dabbled in.

These file types are non-destructive, meaning that they keep all of the important layer data and other pertinent information for modification at a later date. Additionally, they save you a ton of time by allowing you to choose different layers to mix and match.

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