YouTube Banner Size, Dimensions, and Best Practices Guide

KC Kinniburgh
By KC Kinniburgh
October 31, 2021 · 19 min read

If you are looking to draw more attention to your YouTube channel, you are going to want to have all your visual assets optimized. One of your first action items should be to make the most of your YouTube banner’s size, design, and format.

Scrolling through YouTube channels, you have probably noticed that all YouTube channels have a large rectangular photo that resembles a cover photo on Facebook. This is what is known on YouTube as a banner, or channel art, and is a key factor in how much attention and followers your channel is going to get. 

A banner (commonly referred to as Channel Art, Channel Header Image, or YouTube Header) is a powerful way to instantly capture viewers’ attention and communicate why your viewers should subscribe to your channel.

This article will provide you with a banner guide containing vital information to help your YouTube channel and promote growth.

What is a YouTube Banner?

A banner is the large banner image that sits on the top of a YouTube channel page. It’s the first thing visitors see, and it provides viewers a sneak peek preview of your channel and what they can expect from your content based on your visual branding. Think of it as your book cover. The banner can be a crucial factor in whether visitors decide to browse through your channel, watch more content and subscribe. 

The YouTube channel banner size often needs adjustments due to the specific dimension requirements, so it is essential to pay attention to sizing details. In addition, it is crucial to communicate your brand’s visual language, messaging, and personality and give your YouTube channel that professional finish. 

Why Are YouTube Banners Important? 

In small business marketing, first impressions are everything! In society, we often say, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in today’s visual marketing world, that’s just lousy advice. Today your social media visual presentation is like the cover of your book, and it’s imperative to use visual branding to catch your audience. In fact, studies show consistent visual brand messaging across media channels increases revenue up to 23%. So having a cool banner that reflects your brand’s voice can communicate what your brand is about and critical information about your channel. 

Furthermore, not only does YouTube channel art play a critical role in highlighting the features of your brand, but it also provides a key opportunity to increase engagement with strategic placements of CTAs (Calls to Action) and a connection to other brand social media channels. 

YouTube Banner Dimensions

  • Maximum recommended YouTube banner size: 2560 x 1440 pixels (as seen on television)
  • Minimum banner dimensions: 2048 x 1152 pixels (as seen on desktops)
  • Designated “Safe Area” size for logos and text: 1546 x 423 pixels (as seen on mobile devices)
  • Maximum channel art width: 2560 x 423 pixels (as seen on desktops)

YouTube Channel Art Format & File Size

  • Accepted file formats: JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF (not animated)
  • File size: up to 6MB

Banner Aspect Ratio

The standard aspect ratio for YouTube is the widescreen 16:9 and bearing in mind that you have correctly placed critical brand information within the YouTube banner safe area, your banner will appear correctly across multiple devices. If your image has a different aspect ratio, you might find you end up with letterboxes (black bars) or distorted images when you upload. It’s a great practice to familiarize yourself with aspect ratio and how to change a YouTube banner and format your images properly. Additionally, on a side note, when you upload videos to your YouTube channel, it’s also essential to understand the aspect ratio as well.

Planning the YouTube Banner Size for all Devices 

By now, you have an idea of what a channel banner (channel art) is and that there are different sizes to be aware of, and the importance of understanding each margin size in your channel art. You need to know a few key YouTube banner dimensions to optimize your banner for every viewing platform.

The three main margin areas to be aware of to ensure your  content is showing up correctly for your banner on all devices are as follows:

  • The television area (which is how your channel art looks on TV) 
  • The desktop area (which is how your channel art looks on a computer screen) 
  • The YouTube “Safe Area” (which is how your banner looks on a mobile device)

YouTube recommends 2560 x 1440 pixels as the ideal dimension or resolution for banners. However, when creating a banner, you need to keep in mind the different “viewing areas” above that will optimize the viewing experience across multiple devices. Let’s take a look at each one more specifically. 

YouTube Banner Safe Area

Imagine you designed and uploaded your YouTube channel banner on your desktop and it looks perfect, but then when you open your YouTube channel on your mobile device, there are critical elements missing, like your channel name or your logo.

When this happens, it is because your YouTube channel art gets cropped depending on the viewing device on which it’s displayed. So while the high resolution of a 2560 x 1440 YouTube banner image ensures a quality viewing experience on televisions, your channel will look different on desktop and mobile phones depending on where features are within the margins. 

This is where the YouTube “Safe Area” comes to play. The safe area size shows you the part of your channel art banner that is viewable on all devices. You can see the designated safe areas below. 

Why is the YouTube Banner Safe Area Critical?

The safe area is the essential part of your channel banner. The safe area on your YouTube channel banner is where you should place all the critical information for your brand, like your logo and channel name. This includes any CTA you don’t want to be lost when your channel is viewed on a mobile device. Additionally, the safe area can help with branding your channel, which we discuss further in this article.

Now that you understand that your YouTube banner for all devices displays differently across various  screens, let’s take a look at the YouTube banner size and dimensions below: 

YouTube Banner Channel Art Guide

Banners are generally static images, referred to as “channel art” or “background images.” The YouTube channel banner image is divided into specific margin sizes to reflect viewing across various devices like computers and mobile phones. Typically the entire image is referred to as the “channel art” or “background image.” When viewed on television, the background image is the margin area that includes all the visual messaging in the broader areas outside the “safe area” (discussed further below). The “safe area” is the margins in the center of the image and is often referred to as the “banner header or header image.” This safe area includes all the visual messaging seen on computers and mobile devices. Further down in the article, we break it down.

Because images are potent motivators, they encourage viewers to engage with content. In addition, images help form associations with your brand, and choosing the right image for your banner doesn’t have to be challenging. Creating an aesthetic YouTube banner is not difficult with the vast resources online, like Getty Images and iStock, which provides quality images of every sort. So before we go into various channel art sizes, let start with choosing the most appropriate channel art images.

How to Make YouTube Channel Art?

When scrolling for that perfect image that reflects your brand’s personality, an important question to keep in mind is what messaging or stories you want to communicate about your brand. What image will reflect your brand’s personality and works well with your messaging? In addition, how does the image look with the primary messaging focused on the safe area banner?

Your YouTube channel art template needs to be consistent in style, design, and even in your brand’s colors in general. For example, if you choose a black and white image as your channel art for YouTube banner and your logo are green – will that combination reflect your brand’s visual language? Starting with those questions will help you discover what type of image will help engage your viewers further into your content. 

YouTube Channel Art Size

It is not uncommon to resize an image to achieve the perfect visual messaging for channel art. Understanding the perspectives of all the margin sizes that you need to make sure your channel art is viewable across different devices will help you resize your image according to the YouTube specifications. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a simple ratio adjustment or even cropping an image that will go a long way in highlighting the essential elements in your banner that you want to stand out. For example, suppose you wish to highlight a portrait in your banner. In that case, your background in the broader area surrounding the portrait probably won’t contain images of a lot of other people. With an easy image cropping tool, you can easily crop out any unwanted elements (like other people) in your image.

YouTube Background Wallpaper

Some YouTube channel creators pay close attention to the header image dimensions within the “safe area” (discussed further down) but forget to ensure that the background image is consistent with the brand’s personality. The broader area extending outside the banner image safe area is commonly referred to as the YoutTube background wallpaper. It is important to be consistent with your brand’s visual language. So, when you add colors, logos, or other visual elements in your safe area, they should be in the same theme and style as the background in your image. 

So, consistency is crucial whether you want a Fortnite banner for your YouTube gaming channel or black and white background for an aesthetic YouTube banner.  Additionally, it’s easy to design photos with your brand’s visual language like colors and logos with online tools and then effortlessly trim to the required specifications with an online image resizer. The key is to make sure your images, text styles, and overall visual language match throughout your channel art.

Using a Channel Art Template

In addition to using high-quality images and creating your YouTube channel art template from scratch, many banner templates are available online. Typically, they come preformatted with various imaging. Additionally, you can usually choose from a large variety of themes and colors like Poster My Wall and Fotor. However, the only restriction for some of these templates is that you often lose the ability to customize your look & feel in the images. Additionally, you might need to reformat the banner size or ratio.

Editing Your YouTube Banner 

Sometimes it’s necessary to make changes to your channel as it grows. Whether you want to change your YouTube background image or add some creative, easy border designs to an existing banner, making those changes is simple. 

How to Add a YouTube Banner 

YouTube Studio has been the home for YouTube creators since 2005, but in 2019, it received an overhaul in design to adapt to Google’s user interface. YouTube added many options to manage and grow your channel. Uploading channel art for YouTube from your mobile device or desktop is effortless as a result. 

You can access the edit channel options with the mobile apps by tapping on your “profile picture” and then “your channel.” It is crucial to ensure your banners are correctly formatted according to the YouTube specifications and your essential information is in the safe area we described above. If you find that your banners need editing, you can use any image editor to customize your banner to ensure it’s viewed correctly on multiple viewing devices. 

To upload your YouTube channel art from your computer using your browser:  

  1. Sign in to your Google account and go to YouTube.
  2. Select “Your channel” via the drop-down menu under your Google user icon in the top right corner.
  3. Select the blue “Customize Your Channel: button. (This will take you to YouTube Studio).
  4. On the “Channel customization” page, select the “Branding” tab.
  5. Select “UPLOAD” under the Banner image section. From here, you can change or upload YouTube channel art.  

To upload channel art for YouTube from your mobile device:   

  1. Sign in to your YouTube account from your mobile.
  2. Click on your user icon and select “Your channel.”
  3. Select the “EDIT CHANNEL” button.
  4. Select the camera icon in your channel header on the upper right to change or upload the banner from a file. From here, you can upload youTube channel art.

YouTube Banners Design Tips

Considering the number of users on YouTube today, it’s understandable why small businesses turn to YouTube to expand their audience and reach. However, even if you have a YouTube channel, crafting your brand identity is essential so that your visual content reflects your brand’s personality. Therefore, having a consistent look and feel across all your visual marketing channels, whether it’s your YouTube channel, blog, or Instagram, is not only professional but critical. 

Studies show that, on average, it takes at least 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember your brand, and 90% of customers expect a brand’s visual marketing to be similar across all devices and platforms. 

A tip for maintaining consistency in your video creation so that your video content has the same look and feel as your banner is by using an online video maker for your content. This way, you can ensure your videos have the same theme by adding the same color, design, and fonts that coincide with your YouTube channel art.

Most successful YouTube channels have clear brand messaging that promotes consistent visual language in their graphics and content. Your banner should also reflect the same messaging, look, and feel your brand has in any YouTube intros or channel trailers. 

Customize and Brand

Many factors contribute to a brand’s identity, and your YouTube channel art is a great way to promote a brand’s personality. It is best to create graphics with the recommended design and visual identity that reflect your brand’s identity. Here we will look at a few essential features to keep in mind in your visual marketing strategy. 

Use Only High-quality Images 

You can use any image for your YouTube channel art and add your profile pic and logo. Remember that your YouTube channel banner is the viewer’s first impression, so using high-quality images for your YouTube banner image size is imperative. Additionally, having your banner formatted correctly according to the proper ratio and size is critical. Consider creating your banner as another opportunity to brand your small business or channel and increase your visibility online. You want your brand to appear professional and well polished to viewers to get them to stop scrolling, so high-quality images are a must.

Make Sure the Channel Art Works With Your YouTube Thumbnail

In addition to branding your Youtube channel with a great banner, another important thing to keep in mind is your thumbnail. You want your YouTube thumbnail to reflect the essence of your brand as well. Creating a good YouTube thumbnail is easy with an excellent online thumbnail maker to ensure consistent branding.

Add Your Font & Logo to Your Banner

Using the correct banner font across all your video and graphic designs will contribute to your channel’s identity. Adding creative fonts and styles to your banner and keeping your color palette simple is a great way to provide branding consistency across your sharing channels. In addition, it’s relatively simple to take any image, add customized text to your banner image, and even add the same text style to your videos to ensure the same look and feel is present in all your content assets. 

Additionally, adding your logo to your banner is essential. The designated YouTube banner safe area of your banner is the perfect place to highlight your brand’s logo and is part of communicating a consistent brand language by placing your logo in all your graphic design, videos, and social media channels.

YouTube Banner Best Practices

Among the many creative options or tips and tricks you might find online, we have singled out the most important and highlighted the following for a quick guide. 

Stay Inside the YouTube Banner Safe Area

The most important factor to keep in mind when designing your channel art is your critical brand information needs to be within the safe area. However, that said, it’s easy to focus on that tiny rectangle in the middle and inadvertently ignore the rest. While you want to make sure your banner is viewable across all devices, you also need to ensure it looks great on the larger screens. This means we don’t want to neglect the area outside the designated “safe area.”

Don’t Forget Your Social Buttons

Users can add a minimum of one and a maximum of five social media links on your banner. When you view a YouTube channel’s banner, you will notice that there is a grey overlay in the bottom right corner that has the social links along with the channel icon. It’s helpful to remember this when creating your channel art, so you don’t place critical information in those areas. 

When you add social media links on YouTube Banners, it promotes users to connect with you on all platforms, which increases brand awareness and drives engagement. Placing your social links in your banner makes them easy to spot; but you don’t want them to cover any vital information or design elements in the channel art.

Include a YouTube Banner CTA

A call-to-action otherwise known as CTA is an interactive element that appears on your channel and YouTube ads to help with lead generation and drive clicks to your website or solicit subscribers. This is an effective want to build your brand. The banner is the first thing users see when they open your YouTube channel and is considered prime marketing real estate for your channel. This makes it the perfect place for a call-to-action (CTA) or links to your other social media accounts. 

YouTube Banner Creative Tips & Layout

There are so many ways to highlight essential information on your Youtube channel banner that the possibilities seem endless. So we decided to provide a quick overview of some of the common layouts YouTube channel creators have successfully used to brand content.

Sectioned Layout or Collage 

This banner style is quite common and provides an array of options for creativity and diversity. It’s simply what its name reflects, a collage. You can combine several images to make a brand collage that highlights key elements of your brand and arrange them in different creative ways that line up with the margin areas needed for proper formatting. For example, a real estate agency might place images of different listings to reflect types of properties for rent or sale.

Centered Title Layout 

This banner style is primarily used to highlight text in your banner or particular elements that reflect your brand in the center. For example, to make your brand name stand out, you would center the text in a creative font style across the YouTube Banner safe area to stand out.

The Asymmetrical Layout

The asymmetrical layout is often used to reflect a more relaxed or fun style. Placing text, images, and key brand elements throughout the banner asymmetrically communicates an upbeat, creative tone. For example, a baker that offers diverse baked confections might bring delicious images to life through the fun use of color. 

 

The Creator Layout

This style and layout bring the channel’s creator into focus on the banner and highlight the profile pic or other key images of the YouTube creator in the safe area. This style usually features a professionally posed picture of the content creator as the main image focus. Often the background image will not contain any elements to distract from the creator’s picture.

The Logo Layout

The logo layout is self-explanatory. The primary focus of the banner is the brand’s logo. The centered tile and logo layouts are often combined to drive a clear and powerful brand message. For example, high contrast colors can be used to bring out the logo of a small business as well as centering it in the banner. 

The Tagline Layout

Like the logo layout, this style places the focus on the brand’s tagline. Often this is accompanied by the logo because many brands have their tagline connected to their logo, but not always. For example, the well-known SEO company ahref is centered in the banner with ta tagline “grow your traffic.” 

The Representative Layout

This layout typically uses an image that reflects what your channel is about. For example, if you have a health and fitness channel, this image might be a collage of fitness pictures that highlights an active lifestyle and health. The idea behind this layout is to communicate what your business is about without using a lot of text.

A Standout YouTube Channel

When you cover all the above topics and connect the dots to the larger picture, it’s easy to see how vital channel art for YouTube is to your small business or gaming Youtube channel. As channel creators invest time into their YouTube channels and brand their channel art with their visual messaging and language, it becomes a unique opportunity to create greater online visibility and drive user engagement. 

The possibilities are almost limitless when choosing the perfect channel art with all the online resources. Additionally, it’s effortless to trim banners to the specific sizes necessary for proper viewing across various devices with online Youtube banner image size trimmers. The most important thing to take away is to understand that visual branding and consistency are critical and will determine the success of your small business YouTube channel.

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About the author

KC Kinniburgh

KC Kinniburgh is a content manager at Promo. Her writing genre includes almost all aspects of the digital online industry, emphasizing the hi-tech sector. When she is not obsessing about proper punctuation or capitalization, she is learning about the E8 lattice or working out.

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