The best time to create your YouTube banner is as soon as you have created an online persona. While many may suggest that you create your banner as soon as you start your channel, sometimes that might not work, especially if your content is general and you do not have a focus or cater to a particular niche. The best time to create a YouTube banner is when you are ready.
Focus on Branding
A banner communicates several things — they communicate your brand, your message, and the focus of your channel. It’s also important to be contextual with your banner, with it communicating a message for passersby as well as current subscribers. Ideally, your YouTube banner will explicitly showcase the focus of your channel to new viewers, while also being relatable to current subscribers.
Creating Your Banner
Before you let your artistic ability flow, it is important that you are cognizant of YouTube channel art guidelines. The channel art needs to look great on multiple types of devices like televisions, phones, tablets, and other handhelds. According to YouTube, the ideal channel art has a size of 2560 pixels wide by 1440 pixels tall. Minimum dimensions are 2048 pixels wide by 1152 pixels tall. YouTube’s recommended size will allow channel art to show properly on TV screens.
For channel art that utilizes text and logos, the graphic should be 1546 pixels wide by 423 tall, with larger graphic possibly being crossed on certain displays. Images that use these dimensions will always be visible despite the screen. The file size of your banner should be less than 6 MB.
Now that you are aware of the dimensional limitations of your channel art, you may be wondering what exactly to put on it. Your channel art should be a representation of your brand or your branding effort for burgeoning channels. Brands focus on feelings. A combination of colors, imagery, aesthetic will conjure up emotions from your viewers. While it is just a small aspect of your channel, for many viewers your channel art will be the first experience that they have with your content. You want your relationship with your viewers and your stories to start with the channel art.
- Take advantage of color psychology. There are certain emotions that are tied to certain colors. For example, the color purple is associated with creativity, while red and blue provide stimulation and serenity. If your channel focuses on calming sound or even ASMR, then you might want to use green or blues — these are considered restful and peaceful. Warm colors like orange or yellow are popular with restaurants since they stimulate — these are colors that focuses on culinary or food preparation.
- Err the side of minimalism. While you might feel like adding as much as possible to your banner, keep in mind that there is such a thing as a photograph that is simply “too busy.” Everything on the web works best when it is less cluttered, and that includes your channel banner. Using fewer elements will also allow images to scale properly on different screens and devices. Focus on displaying the majority of your message on the center of your banner.
- Take advantage of royalty-free images. You also have the option of using images as a YouTube banner. Services like Unsplash, Getty Images, and Flickr offer images that can be edited and used for your personal projects.
When creating your YouTube banner art, take advantage of design software with predetermined pixels. Upload your desired image and add text and other overlays.
If you aren’t particularly design-savvy or are more interested in communicating a more abstract message to your viewers, then it is okay to have a banner without any text. As long as it is a high-quality image, it will work in your favor. You will find that working with colors will free you from working within YouTube’s recommended banner dimension since the colors of your image will be shown in the cropped version on different displays.
Changing Your Banner
Eventually, you may want to change your YouTube banner art. Perhaps you have learned to design an image and you want to improve your channel art, or the message on your art is inconsistent with your videos. Regardless of the reason, it is okay to change the banner – as long as you are consistent. This means working with a similar theme or color palettes to offer a new message, but still, be relatable to your videos.