Skip to content

How to make an attractive YouTube thumbnail image

If you have videos on YouTube, one of the key ways of drawing attention to them is to have an outstanding ‘thumbnail’ image. This is the small image which appears in the search results and other listings (it can even appear in the main Google results too). Many people don’t change the default frame selected by YouTube, which is why in many listings, many of the images can be quite uninspiring, irrelevant or even embarrassing. But it’s a matter of moments to upload your own ‘thumbnail’.

What’s more, you can put text on the image and really make it pop. For example, take a look at this listing on YouTube. What I hope will be the top result is a video I shot at a gig in 2015. If you were looking for that song, which of the results would you immediately gravitate towards?

The impact on what can be relatively dull technical business videos cannot be overstated. Your video might be just a speaker at a seminar, without a single attractive frame in it, but you could produce a separate thumbnail which would really lift things.

The only problem is… it sounds a bit of an effort, right?

Enter Canva, the excellent, free online drag-and-drop graphics tool, which many of you may have seen in different contexts (its uses are varied). One of the Canva template styles is “YouTube thumbnail”. The rest you can – I’m sure – work out for yourself.