Want your YouTube banner to draw people to your channel?
When someone arrives on your YouTube channel, the first thing they see is your channel art. So it needs to look good!
It’s the large banner across the top of the screen on desktop or mobile, similar to a cover photo on Facebook.
Except that when people watch YouTube on their TV, the channel art covers the whole screen! That makes it a bit tricky to set up right.
You can only upload one image that has to work on any device viewers use to watch YouTube videos:
- Web browser
- Mobile phone
Wherever they watch, this art makes a huge impression on people, so it’s an important part of setting up your YouTube presence.
One of the easiest ways to get this working well is to use a YouTube channel art template.
Let’s look at what your YouTube banner should feature, how to make it, and where you can get these templates – free!
Disclosure: Some links below may be affiliate links, which means I may make a referral fee, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.
What do YouTubers use for channel art?
There are lots of different ideas about what kind of channel art you can feature.
The overall aim is to grab someone’s attention. How you do this may be different depending on your niche.
Because you want to attract the right people, who’ll be interested in your content!
For instance, lifestyle and fashion vlogs often choose to feature the type of products they talk about, such as women’s clothes, makeup tools, or room decor.
Channels that talk about, explain, or review products might feature a general image of their product type in use.
This could be someone weight lifting for a fitness business. Or wearing a VR headset for tech reviews.
Some people use a simpler approach, with their logo or a headline on a colorful background.
Another popular look is to include a photo of yourself, when you are your brand. This helps create that important human connection.
Finally, you could highlight a special event, a promotion, or even an email freebie in your banner art.
This is where channel art templates are even more useful, because you can change them frequently.
What is the banner size for YouTube?
On a desktop web browser, the banner is a narrow horizontal image with an aspect ratio of approximately 6:1. On a mobile device, it’s more like 3.65:1.
But for those watching on a TV, it’s a full-screen background image in an aspect ratio of 16:9!
You can only upload one image, so how can you make it work for all viewers?
Using a template for your channel banner art is one way to make the whole process easier. But some of you creative types may wish to start from scratch!
Currently, the best overall banner image size is 2560 x 1440 pixels.
YouTube also recommends:
- Minimum dimensions: 2048 x 1152 pixels.
- On the minimum dimensions, the safe area for text and logos is 1235 x 338 pixels.
- If you use the recommended banner image size of 2560 x 1440 pixels, then 1546 x 423 pixels is the ”safe space” that shows on all devices.
- Maximum file size: 6MB.
It sounds confusing – but here’s what’s going on:
So it’s important to get any headline, words, or focus image into that “safe” area. That way, it will show no matter what device someone views it on.
And you can use the rest of the area for an image or background that’s seen on TV.
Minimum YouTube channel art size
The minimum dimensions are 2048 pixels wide by 1152 pixels high.
If you try to upload an image smaller than that, you’ll get an error message.
This is actually a good thing! It prevents uploading low resolution images, which would look very unprofessional when viewed on a large screen TV.
Do you already have photos uploaded into your Your Photos tab? If they’re smaller than the minimum size, you won’t be able to select them as your channel art because they’ll be grayed out.
Maximum YouTube channel art size
You know I’m a fan of providing the highest quality, largest file sizes you can.
Since many people now view YouTube videos on their Smart TV, a quality, high-resolution image is more important for your channel art than just about anything else!
You’re not limited by pixel dimensions but by the maximum file size of 6MB.
If you have a huge photo you wish to upload that exceeds 6MB, you can reduce the resolution until you get it smaller than that maximum file size. You’re not limited to 2560 pixels wide by 1440 pixels high as long as you don’t exceed the file size.
How do you make a YouTube banner in Photoshop?
If you’re an Adobe Photoshop user, taking a template and using it to make channel art is simple.
There’s a free template you can download at the end of this article!
Here’s how to use it:
1 | Open the template in Photoshop. It’s already set up at the recommended size, so no worries there, but you can adjust the Image Size to be larger if you like. Just be sure to constrain proportions so it doesn’t get stretched out of the proper aspect ratio.
2 | Add guidelines to match template, or use template as a translucent layer for guidance by setting it to about 10% opacity.
3 | Before you create your image, change Image > Mode to RGB (template is an indexed color PNG).
4 | Add a background image or color on another layer, then add any text or logos you want. When designing, keep important details within the template’s “safe zone” that appears on all devices. On my template, it’s the purple rectangle in the center.
5 | Delete or hide the template layer from your image file when your design is done.
6 | Save your layered file as a PSD or TIF for future edits, and save a flattened JPG or PNG file for your channel, no larger than 6 MB.
Then you are ready to upload to your channel.
How do I make a YouTube banner without Photoshop?
If you aren’t a Photoshop user, there are some easy design tools that provide templates to make your YouTube banner for free.
They make it even easier by providing some basic designs you can choose from, and then edit to make your own. You can download images from free photo sites and use your business colors to carry out your branding.
Two tools I recommend are Canva and Snappa.
As a bonus, they also make great YouTube thumbnails for your videos!
How to use channel art templates in Canva
On the homepage, type in YouTube, and the channel art option appears at the top. Select this.
Alternately, you can hover the Templates tab and you’ll see YouTube Channel Art under Social Media.
You will now see all of the templates that Canva offers.
If you don’t subscribe to Canva Pro and want to create a YouTube banner free, be sure to set the dropdown to only show free templates.
You can see the all the text-based information is across the center, so replace anything on the template with your own details.
You can switch out the background photo by uploading one of your own, or finding a free one in Canva.
When you’re done, click Download in the upper right corner of your screen. Then you can download the finished image as a PNG to upload to YouTube.
Just be sure the file size is under 6MB. If it’s not, try a JPG.
How to use channel art templates in Snappa
From Snappa.com, choose YouTube Channel Art in the “Headers, Banners, and Profile Pages” section.
Create from scratch or select a template to get started.
The text on all their designs is already cleverly placed in the Safe Zone! So you can just edit the wording to say what you want – but don’t move it out of the zone 😉
Once you choose a design template, you’ll see that the croppings on various devices are clearly marked. So if you decide to use a background image with faces, for example, you can make sure you get the parts you want in the safe zone.
For this demo, I’m keeping the pretty colored background, but feel free to use one of the many free photos available right in this browser-based design app!
To change the text, just click on the text box. Select the text that appears and type in what you want instead.
Pick your font from the dropdown, and change the color if you like. I changed to Raleway in white.
This design had a white box behind the text, which I decided to delete. Then I adjusted the text box size by pulling on the side handles to make it wider, so my text fit on one line.
I clicked on the “Graphics” tab to upload a photo of myself for brand recognition.
As a last step, I checked out my creation with the safe zone toggled to “Off,” and then downloaded my creation.
For best results, you can download a Retina JPG file at 2x size. The PNG files exceeded YouTube’s maximum file size of 6MB, but you can try it with your design and see.
Done in 5 minutes!
Can YouTube banners be animated?
Did you find old videos from 2014 on how to make an animated YouTube banner?
Don’t waste your time.
Now you can only upload a static image to YouTube. You can’t use actual video content or an animated GIF as your banner.
Some accounts seem to have had a test option to upload a GIF or animated image, but this is no longer available.
How to upload or change YouTube channel art
Once you’ve created your channel art, go to your YouTube channel and into Customization.
Click the middle tab for “Branding.” The Banner image is the second option down.
Click Upload if you’ve never added channel art. Otherwise, click Change or Remove.
Click whichever is appropriate and upload your new image. Then make sure everything is where it should be. YouTube provides a handy preview.
Once you are happy with it, click “Done,” and the image will be set as your channel art banner.
Be sure to click “Publish” in the upper right corner to make your upload live on your channel. If you don’t see the plain red banner change to your art, it’s not live.
How do I get a YouTube banner template?
You can find lots of free templates inside Canva to use, by searching as described above.
Snappa offers over 100 banner templates you can use, as well as plenty of stock photos if you want to create a style of channel art there.
Remember that these are pre-designed, so you can just edit the text in the template and be ready to go! If you want to customize more, you can also change fonts, photos, colors, and add your logo.
Or grab my template here and use it to design your banner with whichever graphics app you prefer! Just right-click to download.
Instructions to use it are above, in the Photoshop section.
Customizing your YouTube channel
Creating a banner for your YouTube channel is an important step in customizing it and making it your own.
Using a template means you don’t spend hours trying to get the right size or layout, so you won’t suffer weird things being chopped off on desktop or mobile.
What kind of look do you want your YouTube channel to have? Try out one of these free banner templates and it’ll look great!