When someone sends me a really great YouTube video, I always want to know who is behind it. Was it an advertising agency? A small or medium business? A B2B technology company? No matter who it was, when I’m impressed I want to see more of the content creator.
Once the video is done, I’ll click the link to visit their profiles.
And from there, when the brand is really at the top of the game, I see their channel art – the horizontal banner that appears at the top of the user’s YouTube channel, which hopefully shows a combination of good design and branding.
But how do you do it?
We have all seen design work that inspires us but may have a bad habit of not going any further. What makes something like strong YouTube banners so great? And how can you create your own beautiful works of art? To answer those questions, we found three great YouTube banner template resources, as well as seven creative channel banners – both old and new – that inspire us as marketers.
What makes a good YouTube banner?
A YouTube channel banner takes on different dimensions depending on the platform on which it is displayed. For example, a banner can have different dimensions when displayed on a television, desktop, or mobile device.
The YouTube banner dimensions suggested by Google are:
- Recommended: 2560 x 1440 px
- Minimum for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
- Minimal “safe area” to ensure that text and logos are not cut off: 1546 x 423 px
- Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
- File size: 4 MB or smaller
The recommended resolution seems like an exorbitantly large file. However, think about how YouTube banners will appear on a 30 inch smart TV or higher. With a growing number of options for viewing YouTube videos this way, make sure your channel art is large enough to be viewed on larger screens.
Here is a helpful visual representation of these dimensions:
Notice the “safe area” we pointed out in the first section. Your banner is essentially your greatest branding opportunity when people land on your channel. You should therefore make sure that your logo and supporting text are well represented in the channel graphic. Because of this, it may be best to put your company name and logo in this central area. This avoids confusion for the viewer if the company name is accidentally truncated after the YouTube account.
If you are unsure how to capture the entirety of a 2560 x 1440 frame, video production company MiniMatters suggests “Build”[ing] the image from the center out, “put the most important assets in the center and go from there.”
In conclusion, we would like to follow some basic rules about what to put on your banner:
- Use a high resolution image. A pixelated or blurry banner doesn’t exactly signal that high quality video needs to follow.
- Keep it on the mark. While your channel art doesn’t have to be a copy of your logo or slogan, it should contain visual elements that you want to associate with your brand, such as certain colors, fonts, or keywords.
- Your banner should reflect what your company is doing in a timely manner. For example, if you’re running a bakery and getting ready for summer, an eye-catching banner could be a high-resolution photo of a brightly colored work surface covered with flour and a rolling pin, along with accompanying text like, “April showers bring May flour.”
How to make a YouTube banner
“This is just great Amanda,” you might think about these tips. “But where the hell should I get these beautiful design assets?”
You’re in luck – there are dozens of free resources out there on how to make a great YouTube banner. Here are some of our favorites:
- Google: Why not start with the hosting platform itself? Google has its own channel art templates that you can use to start your banner design. (Note: clicking this link will automatically download the zip file with these templates.)
- Canva: Canva is one of our favorite DIY design destinations, and has several free art templates for YouTube channels to use with your own art or the library of stock photography.
- Photor: Similar to Canva, Fotor also offers a selection of free YouTube banner templates that allow you to use both your own visuals and your own image library.
8 cool YouTube channel art examples
1. Death Wish Coffee Company
In 2016, Death Wish Coffee was named the winner of a small business marketing competition from software company Intuit. The reward? A free 30-second commercial during Super Bowl 50. Since then, the self-proclaimed maker of “the world’s strongest coffee” has used that dynamic to ensure its branding stays just as robust.
The former YouTube banner is no exception. It’s straightforward, but also brave. The company logo is displayed as a channel icon as well as a tiled watermark that does not interfere with the text display. And that message leaves no doubt about what the brand is doing. “The strongest coffee in the world?” Okay, I’ll watch.
2. Adobe Creative Cloud
Since turquoise is my all time favorite color, our selection of Adobe Creative Cloud’s YouTube banner can have a touch of aesthetics. But color can have quite an impact on marketing – for example, shades of blue have been found to inspire confidence.
However, this banner doesn’t just make use of color. In a single photo, it represents creativity and visual quality – two things that Adobe Creative Cloud promises with its suite products. The person pictured seems to be creating something remarkable – an ocean in a balloon – with accompanying text to confirm this: “Make wow.” To find out more, the social buttons are right in the picture.
3. Enjoy your meal
Is anyone else hungry? It only seems right that channel art should be appetizing for a food magazine like Bon Appétit. And with a phrase used as often as “Bon appetit” – before dinner or as the title of a pop song – it’s important that people who land on this YouTube channel know what they’re getting into.
That’s one thing that makes this banner so great. The branding is clear, from the logo symbol to the iconic title text in the center of the image. Plus, the photo itself sends a signal of the kind of content visitors can expect – no pun intended – when they watch the channel’s videos: anything to do with food.
4. Taulia Inc.
One great thing about YouTube banners is that they can be swapped out or changed anytime time permits. This makes them particularly conducive to temporary promotions or campaigns. Tech company Taulia did just that for “P2P superheroes”: a campaign that shows how its software can eliminate difficult, time-consuming tasks so everyday professionals can focus more on their work and turn them into superheroes.
The banner communicates two things: 1. that Taulia is in the P2P (“Procure to Pay”) business and 2. the brand is really celebrating procurement specialists. And by using original, cartoon-like art, Taulia transforms what could be a dry topic into something that is fun and engaging.
We’re big fans of showcasing the people who make your brand great. That’s one thing Refinery29 does well, frequently featuring its writers, editors, and content producers in its videos. As it turns out, they have all become hugely popular personalities – which is why the brand puts them at the center of their channel art.
Creating a banner of this type is done in two ways. First of all, you need to find a way to incorporate your company’s talent into video content in a way that engages and engages your target audience. Here at HubSpot, we have our blog authors who, for example, provide important information from blog posts in video and audio summaries. Once you’ve consistently produced enough of these media – and if they get the right attention – you can use these personalities to promote your channels.
6. TripAdvisor B2B
TripAdvisor is a resource used by millions of travelers to discover and rate accommodations, restaurants, and more about endless destinations. But did you know that it also offers B2B services for hotel and other property owners to make the most of their presence on the website?
We like to think of it as a B2B mix of the reviews site Yelp and vacation rental sites Airbnb. On the one hand, TripAdvisor B2B business owners help build a profile with photos, descriptions and other information that will be helpful to travelers. However, like Yelp, they can also monitor and act on their business reviews.
This is represented in the YouTube banner by showing what the site is about – travel – but also how visitors use rating icons to provide feedback on their experience.
7. Nuvolari Lenard
What we notice most about this banner is its simplicity. It represents an Italian yacht design company Nuvolari Lenard known for their work mimicking a luxurious and chic lifestyle. And while the channel art itself isn’t specifically nautical, the use of capital letters and graduated monochrome means a brand that is high-end.
This type of digital aesthetic creates what is often referred to as aspirational marketing – the type that symbolizes something that is out of the reach of most but still has a large following of people “who covet the brand’s look and feel,” like Mediaboom puts it. Can i afford a yacht? Of course not. But when I see something like that, I want one anyway and want to consume the video content that goes with it.
Channel your creativity
It’s important to understand that really cool YouTube channel art is only part of a comprehensive video content strategy. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your banner is if, for example, your channel doesn’t have high quality videos or nothing new has been added in several weeks.
So, along with great design, you need consistency. And once you start creating both, these examples can inspire you.
What are some of your favorite YouTube banners? Let us know in the comments.