YouTube is a very competitive platform: the only way to get ahead here is to create content that is interesting and of high quality in every sense of the word. Developing charisma, using modern video and audio equipment, improving editing skills, of course, is necessary, because in many ways it is the key to success. Nevertheless, you should not forget about the visual design of your channel, in particular the cover: it is the main source of information about the project, its direction and mission.
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Potential viewers first study and evaluate the “cover”, and then they understand whether it is necessary to continue exploring the channel, whether this content is really interesting and useful. If the cover catches on, the user will probably want to subscribe or, at least for a while, follow the development of the project as an outside observer. Both are good (though not equally so), because attention is exactly what any blogger needs.
Can we call a cover for a YouTube channel a visual reflection of the essence, the meaning of the work? Yes! The main picture is a kind of “announcement” of each publication, so you should be responsible and careful when creating it.
There are three main tasks that a YouTube channel cover should fulfill:
- give the user the most complete information about the channel;
- arouse interest, be stylish, original;
- to be displayed correctly from a desktop computer and mobile devices: to be adapted to all gadget formats.
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How else can a YouTube channel cover be used?
Besides the main purposes of informing and attracting attention.
An account cover can be used to:
- increasing the recognition of a company or a specific person (blogger);
- important announcements, etc.
Regardless of the task, the cover should be created carefully, because it is the “core” of the channel (contrary to the popular opinion about the teaser: the cover is noticeable immediately, while the teaser should be watched on purpose – many people just don’t get to this stage).
Let’s consider each step of creating a cover in detail
Technical requirements. The site has restrictions on the parameters of the background “pictures”:
- The maximum “weight” of the file is 6 MB;
- Optimal size of the “header” – 2560 x 1440 pixels, aspect ratio – 16:9;
- Minimal size of the cover – 1024 x 576 pixels. A smaller resolution will simply not load.
To work correctly on different devices, the main elements of the cover (text and/or graphics) must be placed in a “safe area”.
Its minimum size is 1546 x 423 pixels for smartphones, and its maximum size is 2560 x 423 pixels for desktops.
By the way, the cover is displayed differently on different electronics. You can find out exactly how by logging in to your YouTube (Google) account, selecting “My Channel” from the menu on the right, and clicking on “Customize Channel View”. The next step is to select the “Branding” tab at the top left, then go to the “Banner” section and click on “Edit.”
YouTube will then prompt you to upload an image. As a test case, take any picture with text. Once uploaded, an additional window will open with a visual example of how such a cover will look on your TV, computer and mobile devices of different types.
Note: The gadgets display a central, horizontally stretched rectangle.
Anything beyond that, the user can't see on the YouTube channel from the phone. YouTube has no other technical requirements for the cover.
Every blogger wants the eye of both a guest and a regular channel viewer to be literally hooked on the channel cap. It is possible to achieve such an effect: you need an interesting idea. Of course, no one forbids to be inspired by the work of your colleagues – to wander through various YouTube channels of your focus or other topics and see how others solved the problem.
As you start working on your channel header, think about the main themes of your content and answer the questions: What, about what, what are you doing? What is your value, what is unique about you? Of course, if it’s about blogging rather than brand promotion, a good option would be to feature yourself on the cover. If different employees of the company periodically appear on the channel, it might be worth uploading a photo of the staff.
What information should I put in the header of my YouTube channel?
- A short story about yourself and the topic of the channel – 2-3 sentences are enough.
- A timeline for publishing your videos: If you’re really on schedule or plan to in the future, include it.
- A call to action (sign up for other social media accounts, likes and comments, etc.).
- Announcement of events and activities: you can tell about plans to create new columns, spell out the date and place of a meeting with subscribers, etc.
- History of your achievements – awards, mentions in publications, etc.
3 YouTube channel cover design rules
- Maintain a unified style. One graphic theme should be evident in the videos, the header, the logo, and the images in the Community section. If the corporate style is already developed, it suits you, use it, because in this way you can increase the recognizability.
- Don’t overload the cover with information: don’t try to tell everything at once – it’s enough to say the main things. No one will waste time parsing the fine print and delving into the long history of development.
- Use several shades, and leave “air” – free space. Colorful, too bright and flashy covers are more likely to cause confusion, rather than attract increased attention.
YouTube channel cover apps
You can make a high-quality, stylish “hat” in programs:
- Turbologo – the site has dozens of handy and useful tools for implementing the most unusual ideas! The functionality of the resource is constantly expanding and being updated: Turbologo designers follow trends and quickly incorporate them into the project, so that each user can quickly and easily implement any idea.
- Canva, Fotor and Snappa – they have a limited number of tools, but for those who are bad at design basics, it’s not a bad option thanks to hundreds of interesting templates.
- Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr, GIMP – the possibilities here are wide, but you need skills to create something really beautiful and unusual.
As a rule, the algorithm for working on online services is similar – you need to create an account and choose what you want to design (in our case, a cover for the YouTube channel). The next step is to select templates and/or individual components of the future cover. The third step is to use the functions for transforming the elements: filters, effects, etc.
An alternative option is to make the cover in “Google Presentations”. After opening the title slide, click on “Page Settings”, then choose the size “Other”, then specify the format “Pixels” and write the desired resolution. The rest is the same as in the usual presentation – focus on the “safe area” and follow the above rules.
By the way, a good solution for those who are new to using graphics editors is minimalism. Develop a cap in this style is relatively easy, the main thing is to rely on the concept of the project and the tactics of presenting the material.
Remember that many of the images from the Internet are protected by copyright. Do not take the first picture you like from a search engine: we recommend using stock images without copyrights.
Creating a stylish, original, memorable cover for your YouTube channel is real, you just need to think through the concept, give the development time and effort. Approach the matter carefully and attentively, put your heart and soul into it, and the audience will appreciate the result!
I’m a product and graphic designer with 10-years background. Writing about branding, logo creation and business.