YouTube Size Guide

Visuals play a critical part of the video viewing experience and creators, brands, and companies are looking for ways to get the video visuals just right. The stakes are high—every day, nearly 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube. It’s almost impossible to get an accurate count of how many videos are on the platform itself, since hundreds of videos are uploaded every minute. With high growth and traffic on YouTube, it’s hard to ignore the importance of the platform as a tool for building your brand’s online presence.

We know how important planning and designing accompanying images, stills, and banners for YouTube is. In this YouTube Size Guide, we’ll break down the correct dimensions for YouTube thumbnails, profile picture, banner, and of course, videos. We’ll also go over best practices for designing assets for YouTube and how to create these on the platform.

YouTube thumbnail size

Thumbnail images on YouTube are the first thing that viewers will see when searching for your video. This means that it’s particularly important to adhere to design practices that’ll help them identify what your video is about and, hopefully, entice them to watch it as well.

The recommended YouTube thumbnail dimensions are 1280px by 720px, or a 16:9 aspect ratio. Image formats best for YouTube thumbnails are .jpg, .gif, and .png.

YouTube thumbnail maker

There are a few different ways to create a thumbnail that’ll drive engagement to your video. Some choose to use text imagery to fill the whole thumbnail, ensuring that viewers quickly know what to expect from clicking on the video. Some might go with a still of an interesting excerpt from the video, giving viewers a sneak peak of the content itself. Many use a combination of both text and images directly from the video to create a winning thumbnail image. It’s easy to experiment with YouTube thumbnail designing with Figma’s free YouTube thumbnail maker frame presets.

When you think of YouTube, the first word that probably pops into your mind is “video.” But static images play an important role in your YouTube profile. YouTube channel art tells the story of your brand before your audience even hits play.

Your thumbnail designs should remain consistent across videos. By doing this, your loyal audience will recognize when a video is from your channel more easily. Beyond consistency a thumbnail design should include the key message or content that you are sharing in the video. This can be done by including minimal title text, along with an image or design that describes the video content. It’s also important to be accurate with your thumbnail, because the viewer will churn quickly if they are click-baited, which will impact your video’s relevancy score in the algorithm.

How to add a thumbnail for YouTube

To add a thumbnail to your YouTube video, you must first upload a new video to the platform. Once the upload is complete, users have the option of three thumbnails that are automatically generated from YouTube, or, you can opt in to upload your own thumbnail design.

  1. Make sure you’re signed in to YouTube Studio.
  2. Using the navigation menu on the left, select Videos.
  3. Select your newest uploaded video.
  4. Choose which thumbnail you want to use for your video.
  5. Save your changes.

How to change a thumbnail for YouTube

After you’ve set a thumbnail image for your YouTube video, you might want to change it for any number of reasons. Perhaps you think that engagement will be higher if you switch it up, or you’ve had a chance to revisit your initial thumbnail design and see some room for improvement. Regardless, changing a thumbnail for your YouTube video begins in the Youtube Studio.

  1. Using the navigation menu on the left, select Videos.
  2. Select the video you want to edit.
  3. Choose which thumbnail you want to use for your video, or upload a new image.
  4. Save your changes.

YouTube thumbnail viewer

When building your YouTube channel, it might be useful to be intentional about how your various video thumbnails will interact with each other. Some creators and brands like to carry over a theme or template for their thumbnails, resulting in a more cohesive look when a viewer visits their channel page. Visually planning and designing this interaction between your different thumbnail images can be done for free using the Figma community’s YouTube thumbnail viewer.

YouTube profile picture size

Every user on YouTube has the option to upload a profile picture. Some choose to leave it blank, but most creators, brands, and companies will cease the opportunity to display their unique image and branding. After all, this is how people browsing YouTube will identify you. It’s crucial that profile images for businesses are consistent across all various channels so that those who are familiar with your brand can easily spot you.

The recommended dimensions for a YouTube profile picture are 800px by 800px, or a 1:1 aspect ratio. The image, when used on the platform, will display much smaller than that so make sure that your image is recognizable.

Remember, if your YouTube channel is connected to a Google account, changing your profile image on Youtube will also change your Google Account profile image.

How to change YouTube profile picture

Businesses and creators change their profile pictures on YouTube all of the time. Although brand recognition is valuable, it’s important to keep content fresh and your image one that feels timely. To change your Youtube profile picture,

  1. Click on your profile picture.
  2. Select your channel.
  3. Select “edit channel”, then click on your profile picture.
  4. Choose your new profile image, or use your camera to take one directly on the platform.

YouTube banner size

Channel banners are the best way for businesses and creators to show users what their content is all about since it spans the top of the profile when a viewer clicks on a YouTube channel. The recommended Youtube channel banner dimensions are 2560px by 1440px. This will create the best image viewing experience without sacrificing quality or automated cropping. With that being said, there are several other requirements for your channel banner.

  1. Minimum file dimensions: 2048px by 1152px
  2. Maximum width: 2560px by 423px
  3. Maximum file size: 6MB

Apart from your videos and video thumbnail images, YouTube channel banners are the best way to convey to the audience what your content is about and how you stand out from businesses and creators who might have a similar offering.

YouTube banner template

Because of YouTube channel banners, you have the rare opportunity to tell your viewers what makes your YouTube channel unique without them actually watching one of your videos. That makes a clear, easy to recognize design that much more valuable. If you don’t have a channel banner yet, or have been thinking about redoing yours, Figma’s free YouTube channel banner template can help you plan and design a winning image.

How to make a YouTube banner

After designing and saving your channel banner image, it’s time to share it and see how it fits in with the rest of your channel offerings. To upload and change your Youtube banner, start in Youtube Studio and sign in.

  1. Using the menu on the left, click “Customization”, and then click “Branding”
  2. Select upload, and choose the image you’d like to use. You can preview the image at this point and change how it’s cropped, if at all
  3. Select “Done”
  4. Click “Publish”

Video sizing is important

The thing about video sizing on YouTube is that if you do correctly, no one will notice. However, getting YouTube video sizing incorrect seriously impacts the viewing experience, and can even lessen the video quality itself. Half of the battle is getting viewers to click on your video. The other half is creating content that is a pleasant viewing experience, resulting in your audience watching the video end to end.

The recommended aspect ratio for YouTube videos is 16:9, or the pixel dimensions below, sorted by playback quality. The higher the pixel count, the higher the quality.

  • 2160p: 3840x2160
  • 1440p: 2560x1440
  • 1080p: 1920x1080
  • 720p: 1280x720
  • 480p: 854x480
  • 360p: 640x360
  • 240p: 426x240

Most mobile phone cameras will automatically capture in a 16:9 aspect ratio when turned horizontally. It’s also easy to make this crop in various video editing softwares before you upload to YouTube itself. While vertical videos will still be uploaded, they won’t take up the whole Youtube video player, resulting in a limited viewing experience.

How to setup and upload a YouTube video

To set up and upload a video to YouTube, begin in the YouTube Studio signed into the channel you wish to upload to.

  1. Using the top right menu, select “Create”, and then click “Upload video."
  2. Choose the video file you wish to upload.
  3. Wait for the upload to finish, which can take up to 15 minutes.

Afterwards, you’ll be prompted to “Add basic info” about the video. You’ll input things like the video title, audience settings, thumbnail options, and more. For those who are eligible, you’ll be able to select your monetization plan. After the video elements and info has been added, you can go ahead and preview, then publish it.

YouTube video format

Uploading a YouTube video begins with selecting the right video format. Luckily, Youtube accepts almost all common video formats, such as:

  • .MOV
  • .MPEG4
  • .MP4
  • .AVI
  • .WMV
  • .MPEGPS
  • .FLV
  • 3GPP
  • WebM
  • DNxHR
  • ProRes
  • CineForm

It’s important to note that some video formats may not work on different players — some formats may only be compatible with a desktop player, some with just a mobile player, etc. The recommended YouTube video format is .MP4. This ensures high quality sound and image on the video as well as options for playback at varying qualities.

Conclusion

Now that you know the basics for designing great images and videos for your YouTube channel, you can practice and experiment with creating these on Figma. The result? A fresh new video strategy, and recognizable, tangible brand assets that help build awareness. Check out our size guides for Instagram, LinkedIn and more to start designing for your brand.