Are you looking for information on how to set up a thumbnail for your YouTube video? Not only will I take you through the basic steps of setting up a YouTube thumbnail in Photoshop, I will also provide you with a downloadable template to get you started.

Thumbnail Size in Pixels & File details

Dimensions: 1280 x 720 pixels

Color Space: RGB/8

File Format: Jpeg

Setting up a YouTube thumbnail from stratch in Photoshop

To create your own blank YouTube thumbnail in Photoshop, do the following:

  1. Click on the ‘File’ menu and select ‘New’. Alternatively, hold down CTRL (or Command for Mac) and press ‘N’
  2. In the drop down to the right of Width and Height, select ‘Pixels’
  3. Type in your width (1280) and height (720)
  4. Resolution is irrelevant for anything screen-based. Leave it on “72”
  5. Color Mode must be “RGB Color”
  6. Click on OK
Setting Pixels for YouTube Thumbnail

You may also want to save your settings as a ‘Preset’ for future usage:

  1. Follow the steps above
  2. Click on “Save Preset…”
  3. Next to “Preset Name:”, type in a name for your preset, such as “YouTube Thumbnail”
  4. Click on OK

To call up the preset in the future:

  1. Click on the ‘File’ menu and select ‘New’. Alternatively, hold down CTRL (or Command for Mac) and press ‘N’
  2. Click on the “Document Type:” drop-down and select your YouTube thumbnail preset from the list
Creating a YouTube thumbnail preset in Photoshop

Tips on creating the artwork for your thumbnail

It is critical that you get this right. A badly designed, or misleading thumbnail will only harm your YouTube rankings. You want to entice people to click on your video, and not your competitors. A high click-through-rate is very good for rankings. Try and include the following in your thumbnails:

  • Use eye catching images, but keep it on topic!
  • Use a strong/bold and easy-to-read
  • Use plenty of contrast. Easy to read and eye-catching
  • Including text in all of your thumbnails. Think newspaper headline – short and snappy
  • Think brand: Design your thumbnails within a theme, with common elements such as logos or pictures of the author
  • Always tell the truth: you want your visitor to get what they expect. Mis-direction will hurt your rankings!

Download blank YouTube Thumbnail file

If you are still struggling to follow the steps above in setting up your thumbnail, perhaps this file will help. This file is entirely blank and will work not only in Photoshop, but any photo-editing application.