YouTube thumbnail ideas

You know that feeling when you've spent hours creating the perfect YouTube video, only to see it struggle to get any views? It's a common problem; the culprit is often a lackluster thumbnail. That's right; your YouTube thumbnail is the first thing people see before deciding whether or not to click and watch your video. In other words, it's a big deal.

Luckily, you don't have to be a design expert to create a killer YouTube thumbnail. With the help of platforms like Strikingly, you can easily make professional-looking thumbnails that will grab people's attention. In this article, we'll share 10 eye-catching YouTube thumbnail ideas and what mistakes to avoid to help you boost your views. Let's get started!

Simple But Effective Thumbnail Ideas

Alright, let's dive into some simple but effective thumbnail ideas that can help boost your views on YouTube! After all, the best YouTube thumbnail is one that catches the viewer's eye and makes them want to click.

#1 Bold Text And Contrasting Colors.

Sometimes less is more. A bold and eye-catching font paired with a contrasting background color can make your YouTube thumbnail stand out in other videos. Make sure the text is easy to read and summarizes your video in just a few words.

#2 Minimalist Design.

On the flip side, a minimalist design can also be effective. Use a single image or a simple background with a clear and concise title. This approach can create a clean and professional look that will make your video stand out.


Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

#3 Emphasizing The Subject Of The Video

Your YouTube thumbnail should give viewers a clear idea of your video. You can emphasize the subject of your video by featuring an image of it in the thumbnail. For example, if you're making a video about cupcakes, use a thumbnail that shows a delicious cupcake front and center.

You have three simple but effective thumbnail ideas that can help improve your views on YouTube. And the best part? It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to create a YouTube thumbnail! You can easily create these types of thumbnails using Strikingly's user-friendly platform. Creating the perfect YouTube thumbnail is easier than ever with customizable templates and various design tools. But before diving into that, let's explore a few more thumbnail ideas to make your videos stand out.


Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Creative Thumbnail Ideas

Are you ready to make your mark on YouTube? Don't underestimate the power of a killer thumbnail! A thumbnail is the first thing viewers see when browsing videos, so it's essential to make it count. Lucky for you, we've got some creative ideas for making a YouTube thumbnail stand out.

#4 Pop Culture References

First, let's talk about using humor or pop culture references. There's no denying that people love a good laugh or something that feels current and relevant. Adding a funny or clever twist to your thumbnail can pique viewers' curiosity and encourage them to click on your video. And if you can tap into the latest pop culture trends, even better! Just ensure your humor or references are relevant to your video's topic.

#5 Collage

Next up, collages or grids. Collages are an excellent way to showcase multiple images or elements in a single thumbnail. You can use a grid format to create a visually appealing and organized thumbnail that communicates what your video is all about. A well-designed grid can also be making a YouTube thumbnail look more professional and polished.

#6 Graphics

Let's talk about bright and bold graphics. Vibrant colors and bold typography can catch viewers' attention, making a YouTube thumbnail pop. This approach works exceptionally well for channels with a distinct brand or aesthetic. Ensure your graphics are relevant to your video and not overwhelming or distracting.

#7 YouTube Thumbnail Size

When creating your ideal YouTube thumbnail, it's also essential to consider the YouTube thumbnail size. The recommended size for YouTube thumbnails is 1280 x 720 pixels with a minimum width of 640 pixels. Remember that your thumbnail will also be displayed in various sizes, so it's crucial to ensure your design is clear and readable at different scales.

There you have it, folks! With these tips, you're well on your way to making a YouTube thumbnail perfectly. Be bold and experiment with different styles and designs once you find what works best for your channel.


Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Branding And Consistency

Ah, branding and consistency! Nothing screams professionalism like a well-branded YouTube channel with consistent thumbnail designs. In this section, we'll explore tips on branding on your YouTube thumbnails.

#8 Consistent Style And Color Scheme

Viewers who come across your channel should know it's you just by looking at your YouTube thumbnail. A consistent style and color scheme throughout your thumbnails is essential to achieve brand consistency. You can do this by using similar fonts, colors, and designs. It helps your channel look more professional and organized.

#9 Branding Elements, Such As Logos And Fonts

Adding your logo to your thumbnail can help reinforce your brand and make your content easily recognizable. Additionally, using the same font across all your thumbnails can help keep your branding consistent and make your channel look more polished.

#10 Templates To Save Time And Maintain Consistency

Consider using templates if you need help creating new thumbnail designs that align with your branding. With the help of a tool like Strikingly, you can create a template incorporating your brand elements, even if you don’t know how to create a YouTube thumbnail. Besides helping you to save time, the platform easily enables you to maintain consistency.


Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Thumbnail Optimization

Ah, the thumbnail - the unsung hero of YouTube videos. The thumbnail is the first thing viewers see before they click and watch your video, so it's essential to make it as attention-grabbing and accurate as possible. Here are some tips to optimize your YouTube thumbnails and boost your views:

  • Ensure the thumbnail accurately represents the video's content.

Your YouTube thumbnail should be a visual representation of your video's content. Don't use clickbait or misleading images to lure viewers into watching your video. Instead, use photos that accurately depict what viewers can expect to see in your video. This way, viewers will know exactly what they're getting into, and you'll avoid negative comments or dislikes.

  • Test different thumbnails to see what works best.

Like any aspect of video creation, testing and experimenting with different thumbnails is essential to see what works best. Try different styles, colors, and images to see which ones get the most clicks and views. Use YouTube's analytics to track your progress and adjust your YouTube thumbnail strategy accordingly.

  • Use Strikingly's image optimization tools to ensure quick load times.

You don't want viewers to click on your video only to be met with a slow-loading thumbnail. Use Strikingly's image optimization tools to ensure your thumbnails load quickly and efficiently. It will improve your viewers' experience and increase their likelihood of watching your video.

Following these tips, you can create the perfect YouTube thumbnail that accurately represents your video, catches viewers' attention, and boosts your views. Go ahead, experiment, and have fun with your thumbnail creations - the results may surprise you!

Thumbnail Mistakes To Avoid

Regarding YouTube thumbnails, a few mistakes can completely ruin your chances of getting more views. Here are some pitfalls to avoid:

Misleading Thumbnails

Don't use clickbait or misleading images that have nothing to do with the actual video content. It will only disappoint your viewers and harm your credibility.

Viewers who click on a video based on a misleading YouTube thumbnail will likely be disappointed when the video content does not meet their expectations. It can lead to decreased views and engagement and a loss of trust in the content creator. Viewers may be less likely to click on future videos from the same creator if they feel tricked into watching something they weren't interested in.

Overly Busy or Cluttered Design

Don't cram too much into your thumbnail. Keep it simple and visually appealing, with a clear focal point that grabs the viewer's attention.

When creating a thumbnail, content creators should consider the following tips to avoid creating an overly busy or cluttered design:

  • Choose a clear focal point that represents the main idea or message of the video.
  • Use simple and bold fonts that are easy to read and add text sparingly.
  • Use eye-catching colors that reflect the video's overall tone.
  • Use high-quality images or screenshots that accurately represent the video content.

Poor Image Quality or Resolution

Low-quality images are a surefire way to turn off potential viewers. Ensure your YouTube thumbnail is high-resolution and looks professional.

In addition to making an excellent first impression, high-quality thumbnails can also improve the overall perception of a content creator's brand. Consistently using high-quality visuals in thumbnails can build trust with viewers and establish a professional and trustworthy brand image.

To ensure high-quality thumbnails, you should:

  • Use high-quality images or screenshots relevant to the video content.
  • Make sure the thumbnail is of the appropriate YouTube thumbnail size and resolution, matching YouTube's guidelines.
  • Use editing tools to enhance the image quality, adjust the colors, and improve the overall visual appeal of the thumbnail.
  • Test different thumbnail designs and analyze the performance of each one to see which performs best.

Lack Of Branding

Your thumbnails visually represent your channel's brand, so make sure they reflect your unique style and personality. Use consistent colors, fonts, and imagery to create a cohesive brand identity.

To ensure that your branding is effective, you should:

  • Identify the critical branding elements that reflect your channel's unique style and personality.
  • Use consistent colors, fonts, and imagery in your thumbnails.
  • Make sure your thumbnails are visually appealing and high-quality.
  • Test different thumbnail designs and analyze the performance of each one to see which performs best.

Text Overload

While adding text to your thumbnail can be helpful to give viewers a hint about the video content, avoid using too much text. It can clutter the thumbnail and make it difficult to read. Keep the text short, sweet, and to the point.

Focus on using only the most crucial information to help entice the viewer to click through to watch the video. It might include a catchy title or tagline, the main topic of the video, or a call to action that encourages the viewer to take a specific action.

Not Optimizing for Mobile Devices

Many viewers watch YouTube videos on their mobile devices, so ensuring your thumbnail is optimized for smaller screens is essential. Remember that the text and images should be clear and easily read on a smaller screen.

One of the biggest challenges of creating a thumbnail that works well on mobile devices is ensuring the text is legible. If the text is too small or detailed, it can be difficult for viewers to read it on a smaller screen. Also, it's essential to test your thumbnail on different devices and screen sizes to ensure it looks good and is easy to read, no matter where it's being viewed.

Ignoring YouTube's Guidelines

YouTube has specific guidelines for thumbnail images, including YouTube thumbnail size and content restrictions. Ensure you follow these guidelines to avoid your thumbnail being removed or your channel penalized.

To avoid it, familiarize yourself with YouTube's guidelines for thumbnail images. Some of the critical rules to keep in mind include the following:

  • YouTube thumbnail size and aspect ratio - Thumbnails should be at least 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It ensures that your thumbnail looks good on all devices and platforms.
  • Content restrictions - YouTube prohibits sexually suggestive or explicit content in thumbnails and violent or graphic imagery. Ensure your thumbnail is appropriate for all ages and doesn't violate YouTube's community guidelines.
  • Avoid misleading or clickbait content - As we mentioned earlier, misleading or clickbait content in thumbnails can harm your credibility and lead to disappointed viewers. YouTube's guidelines also prohibit using deceptive or sensational thumbnails that don't accurately represent the content of your video.

Not Testing and Analyzing

Creating a compelling thumbnail is an ongoing process, so testing different designs and analyzing their performance is essential. Use YouTube analytics to see which thumbnails get the most clicks and adjust accordingly.

In addition to testing and analyzing your thumbnails, keeping an eye on your competitors and other popular videos in your niche is also a good idea. Pay attention to the types of thumbnails that are working well, and consider incorporating similar elements into your own designs.

By avoiding these mistakes, you'll have a much better chance of creating a thumbnail that gets clicks and boosts your YouTube views.

Remember, a great YouTube thumbnail can make all the difference in getting your video noticed. With the right tools and techniques, such as those offered by Strikingly, you can create the perfect thumbnail that accurately represents your content and entices viewers to click. Experiment with different designs and ideas, and watch your views soar!


YouTube thumbnails are the unsung heroes of video marketing. They might be small, but they play a massive role in attracting viewers and boosting your views. By following the tips and tricks discussed in this article, you can create the best YouTube thumbnails that stand out and catch people's attention. Plus, with Strikingly's user-friendly platform, you can easily create professional-looking thumbnails that reflect your brand and style.

Don't underestimate the power of a perfect thumbnail - it can make all the difference in getting your content noticed. Go ahead and explore different ideas and see how they can take your videos to the next level!