How to create YouTube Thumbnail and Channel Art for Free

Are you new on YouTube and don’t know how to do some basic things like designing a YouTube thumbnail or channel art. Don’t worry as in this post I am going to show you exactly how to create professional YouTube thumbnail and channel art for free.

YouTube is a ‘video wonderland’ where you get to see a lot of videos and that too according to your personal taste. Many people become a creator on YouTube on a daily basis for several reasons like to share their knowledge with the world, showing their travel adventures, funny videos of their pets, or to make money.

I am sure by now you must have set up your channel on YouTube and now looking for ways to enhance the overall look and feel of the channel and your videos. Trust me when I say that your channel art and especially your video thumbnails play a major part in the success of your channel in totality. Of course, you can’t ignore that the title of the video and the video content itself is extremely important.

YouTube creates Auto-Thumbnails so why create my own?

You are right. When you upload any video to YouTube, it automatically creates a thumbnail taking a random snapshot from that video. But is that enough? No, not at all. YouTube isn’t smart enough to make fancy adjustments to the thumbnail on its own, like adding custom text or a different image, etc.

So in order to get all these things done, you need to create a custom thumbnail yourself which you will upload in the video (uploaded) settings page.

Why is custom YouTube Thumbnail a must?

As I said earlier, for any video to get more views an interesting title is a must. Not only that, an eye-catchy thumbnail is even more important. Whenever anyone searches anything on YouTube the very first thing they look at is the thumbnail of the video, and only then they notice the title. After this, a person decides whether to go ahead and click the video and watch it or not.

So, in short, it can be said that the first thing a person notices is the thumbnail of a video before anything else. And the first impression is the last impression, that rule applies here too.

How to make free YouTube Thumbnails?

Okay, now let’s see how you can create a professional-looking YouTube video thumbnail and channel art right now, for FREE!


Canva is an online tool where you can design your own custom creatives like greeting cards, YouTube channel art, brochures, Instagram stories and more. It gives you the freedom to create professional-looking design material for free. You can also choose their paid plans too if you want even more resources for your creatives.

How to create YouTube Thumbnail and Channel Art for Free

Designing a YouTube thumbnail is actually very easy on Canva. You can design one from scratch or use one of the many design templates available there to edit. Pick a design that you like the most and the change the photos and the text according to your video content. And that’s it. You are now ready to download it and use it on YouTube.

You can visit the website here or download the app on your phone.

Adobe Spark Post

Just like Canva, Adobe too has an app and a website for creating creatives fast and easy. Here you will find hundreds of design inspiration for your projects. You can simply visit the website and then pick a layout that you like and start editing by adding your own photos and text.

I have personally observed that you get more design options and freedom with Spark Post as compared to the very similar Canva.

How to create YouTube Thumbnail and Channel Art for Free

What I like more about Spark Post is that not many people use it. Canva is much more popular and so the designs, kind of, get common too. But this doesn’t mean that you should not use it, in fact it gives you the ability to change as per your taste and requirements.

You can visit the website here or download the app on your phone.

Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo

If you like to work on your PC or Mac then there is nothing better than Adobe Photo and Affinity Photo. Ok, there is a bunch of other software too like Gimp for an example.

Photoshop, or a matter of fact any desktop image editing software, makes it so easy to create these creatives for the web or for print.

How to create YouTube Thumbnail and Channel Art for Free

Also, it doesn’t matter at all if you have the latest version of the software or not. Actually I am also using a very old version of Photoshop (sorry, simply can’t afford that stupid monthly subscription plan). When the old software still works so well for me I don’t see the need to upgrade at all.

Only this?

Frankly yes. Canva and Spark Post are the best apps to create a YouTube thumbnail and channel art for free. If you are on a desktop then Photoshop, and any other similar software, is your best choice. Yes, you can too use Canva and Spark Post on the desktop too if you are in a hurry or want a more diverse design inspiration. Or if you want something readymade to edit.

I almost forgot to mention this… You can also use a free online image editing tool called Photopea which looks the same as Photoshop and its features are almost the same.

So which service will you be trying out next? Tell us in the comments below.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here