Looking for the best YouTube thumbnails? Wanting to find inspiration to create your own custom thumbnail designs? You’re in the right place!
Creating custom thumbnails is not only a great way to elevate your brand as a whole, but it’s also a way to influence viewers to choose your video out of all the options available. No, a custom thumbnail will not make your content better than it is so it’s important to focus on creating quality content — but the thumbnail will help your AWESOME content get noticed!
In truth, we started down this trail when creating our own video thumbnails for Campaign Donut. We wanted to provide our design team with examples of what engaging YouTube thumbnails looked like. In the end, our first design turned out a bit different thank much of what we saw and that was entirely because of the type of content we were serving up in our initial videos.
You can see our final thumbnail design at the end of this article.
Creating Great Thumbnails for YouTube Videos
As mentioned above, you want your thumbnails to be branded and engaging. There are a few common traits we identified in the YouTube thumbnails below.
- Brand Colors
- Large Text
- Obvious Primary Object or Subject
- Minimal Words
- Dynamic Images
- Custom Backgrounds
In addition to these traits above, it was also clear that creating cutouts, or masked images, of the primary subject was very a popular design choice for those who have the time, money, staff, or skill necessary to pull it off.
What Makes YouTube Thumbnails Important
Designing images for YouTube is much different than designing for a social network or create webinar promotional images. Why? Because your brand will be sharing real estate with dozens of other brands. Check out the image below.
The thumbnail, by far, is the element that draws the most attention without even looking directly at it. Also, notice what is getting the most real estate? The thumbnail.
As you explore the collection of video thumbnails we put together, remember that it will be important to make your thumbnail design your own. Don’t put pressure on yourself to duplicate a design perfectly or to get your graphic just right.
The best news is that you can always go back to any videos in your library and update the thumbnails in the future if your custom YouTube thumbnails don’t turn out to be exactly what you wanted.
Neil Patel’s Thumbnails
The Futur Thumbnails
ClickFunnels & Russell Brunson Thumbnails
Amy Landino YouTube Thumbnails
Justin Brown Thumbnails
Think Media Thumbnails
The Home Depot Thumbnails
Additional Brands with Simple Thumbnails
Not all brands go out of their way to get creative with their YouTube thumbnail design. Actually, the majority of channels we looked at while trying to find great examples of YouTube Thumbnails, those channels didn’t do anything at all — they didn’t even select a unique thumbnail.
These examples below show several channels that utilize very simple thumbnails with one or two elements to comprise their designs.
Campaign Donut Thumbnail
In contrast to many of the examples above, we took a more “instructional” approach to our YouTube thumbnails. The videos we were creating were more about providing a specific solution to a specific problem — rather than discovery.
Here are a few examples of instructional video thumbnails that you can use for inspiration if you’re considering the same approach to your videos.
Shopify Help Center Thumbnail
Elgato Gaming Thumbnail
WPMU DEV Thumbnail
Creating Your YouTube Thumbnail Designs
After taking a look through the designs above, you should have a few ideas for your design. Some of the examples, such as the ahrefs designs, are more advanced than others and you may want to enlist the help of a designer if you are to pull off those designs.
Something else to consider is the scaleability of your designs. In other words, will you pursue a design that is more templated that requires you just changing out background, text, and colors or will you pursue a design that will require a professional illustrator to create new designs? The NBA designs are a good example of templated designs that are easy to reproduce. Anyone with basic design skills can easily create new templates with updated content. The thumbnails from Justin Brown will require completely new designs and updated masked images to keep up with over the months ahead.
At Campaign Donut we have a full time design team that can produce anything we need. However, we didn’t always have that luxury. Prior to our team, we enlisted unlimited graphic design services that helped us handle new design mock ups and overall production. If you are not a designer and you do not have your own in-pocket designer, give unlimited graphic design services a look.
Final Thoughts On Custom Video Thumbnails
If you have any question about creating your own custom thumbnails, creating thumbnail design templates, or enlisting design services to help create your thumbnails, send us a message or leave a comment below. Sometimes all you need is another brain thinking through what you’re working on — other times you just need a specific answer to a specific problem… either way, we’re here to help!