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In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, “the first impression is always the right one”. Your YouTube channel art provides you with an opportunity to make a positive first impression with your audience, helping to grow your following on the platform. 

What is YouTube Channel Art?

When you set up your YouTube channel, you will have been asked to upload your profile picture and a banner, sometimes referred to as a “header image”. These two elements create the visual foundation of your channel branding, and are what we refer to collectively as “channel art”.

Aside from your actual video content, your channel art is one of the most important factors in creating a successful YouTube presence. When fully optimised, your channel art turns into a powerful asset that provides your audience with a striking first impression.

What Are The YouTube Banner Dimensions?

Your YouTube banner will show differently on computer, mobile and TV displays, with larger images being cropped for smaller displays.

Here is an easy template to help you make sure your designs are kept within the safe zone:

How do I optimise my YouTube Channel Banner?

A visually striking YouTube banner acts like a giant advertisement for your profile and is the first thing anyone looking at your channel will see. To be fully optimised, this header image needs to be representative of your brand – this means you need to ensure it is as high quality as possible.

However, great YouTube banners go beyond just being visually appealing and attempt to communicate something to their audience, whether that’s sharing further information like a posting schedule and other social media profiles or something more abstract like personality.

Whatever you’re sharing, it has to be eye-catching, easily digestible and representative of the rest of your brand.

Sounds easy, right?

Let’s break down some key elements of YouTube channel art:

Show Who You Are

Your YouTube banner should tell people instantly that they’ve come to the right place. Do you have a logo? If so, this is the perfect place to share it. If not, fear not – a photo of you or a recognisable brand element can be used too!

Make sure you don’t hide this away in some remote corner – place your logo or brand element in a recognisable location and utilise colour and contrast to make it stand out from its background.

Take a look at the YouTube banner we designed for Blake McFarland. You cannot mistake this channel for anyone else’s – it has his logo and his face as his personality and image is a large part of his brand.

The other elements further convey what his channel relates to – sculpture.

Make sure you check out our YouTube banner margins guide at the top of this post to make sure you’re visible across all devices.

Keep It Simple and Focused

If there’s one thing you should take from this blog post, it’s that you shouldn’t try and overcomplicate things. Simpler messages are more effective messages, and more effective messages will help grow your channel.

A YouTube banner doesn’t give you a lot of space to work with, so you have to make sure you don’t dilute your message with clutter and distracting elements.

Take a look at this YouTube banner from the Harvard Business Review:

The logo is strong, placed centrally and instantly recognisable – the background image is thematically appropriate, universally recognised as a place of business, and further emphasises the channel’s focus.

All of that is conveyed through one image and three words.

Share your Posting Schedule

It’s not uncommon for YouTube channels to advertise that they are regularly posting videos to a particular schedule like “Weekly”, “Monthly” or more specific options like “Posting every Wednesday”. 

What does this tell potential subscribers about your channel?

It showcases that if they subscribe to your channel they will be rewarded with regular content updates. Recent studies have shown that regular upload schedules can help dramatically when it comes to channel growth.

By providing users with information about your channel in an instant, you are pushing them to subscribe and enjoy future content that matches the quality of what brought them there in the first place, and also encouraging them to regularly check back on your channel for new updates.

Look at this example from Aurelius Tijn. Anyone visiting this channel will know immediately that Aurelius will post a new video every single week.

Make Sure You’ve Optimised For all Devices

Mobile users visit twice as many pages on YouTube as desktop users, so it’s imperative that your channel art is optimised for all screen sizes and devices. 

Take a look at Blake’s YouTube banner at various screen sizes and you’ll see that the content is still visible whether you’re on desktop, tablet or mobile. 

We’ve created this graphic to help you understand what will be shown across the spectrum.

Operate Within Your Brand Guidelines

This may sound obvious, but we’ve come across some channels that deviate massively from their already existing brand and it is quite jarring to see. 

Whilst we appreciate that some creators want to create a unique space for their YouTube channel, by using colours and branding elements that don’t match what people may expect to see from you there is a risk of confusing your audience.

We always recommend that you stick within existing brand guidelines to ensure any channel visitors know they’ve found the right place!

Take a look at Colin & Samir’s YouTube channel and Twitter profile – if you went from one to the other you’d be absolutely certain you’ve found the correct space.

Push Traffic Towards Social Media & Website

99% of YouTube users are also on other social media platforms. That means you can boost your following across all touchpoints by highlighting your social media profiles through banner links.

To add social media links and links to your website to your YouTube channel art, follow these steps:

1 – Head to your Channel Customisation Page

2 – Input the URLs to your social media profiles and websites 

3 – Select which of these you’d like to feature on your channel art

4 – Publish to your channel

When you’ve finished, it will look something like this:

This channel implements a CTA, “free training”, with social media and website links.

Pushing visitors towards your website or online store can be an incredibly powerful way of turning subscribers into converting customers for your product or service. 

Want Us to Help?

Does this all sound like too much work? Good news, it’s right up our street.

We love working with creators to improve their channel art to help drive more subscribers and growth. 

Our team has years of design experience and know-how and would love to help create the best YouTube channel art possible for your brand. 

Get in touch today and optimise your profile!

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Contact us to find out how we can support your business.

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