A custom YouTube banner, also called YouTube Channel Art, is one of the first things potential subscribers see when they check out your channel. It’s an opportunity to introduce your brand and build familiarity to grow your channel, so you should definitely be taking advantage of it.
Creating a YouTube banner background is fairly simple, but there is one specific challenge involved that can be difficult to overcome. YouTube only makes it possible to use one banner background image across all screen formats – TV, desktop, mobile, and tablet – so getting the image to fit on all devices usually requires some tweaking.
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This complete guide on how to make a YouTube banner will not only help you overcome this challenge, but also provide you with tips and tools – like the #1 recommended free software – to create a YouTube banner in a matter of minutes.
So if you’re ready to learn how to make channel art the easy way, let’s get started!
Software Recommendation for How to Make YouTube Channel Art
In this YouTube channel art tutorial, we’ll be showing you how to make a banner using free software called Snappa. There are quite a few different free and paid software options you can use to create your channel art, but we love that Snappa is easy to use – and it’s completely free!
If you’re not using Snappa, always make sure to refer back to the YouTube Sizing Guide provided by the platform. This guide lists out all the specific requirements for creating YouTube channel art and even includes a YouTube banner template.
Snappa already has this guide built-in to the interface, which is yet another reason we love it. You can also use Snappa to create awesome thumbnails for your videos which you can learn more about in this tutorial.
How to Make a Free Banner for YouTube Using Snappa
Once you’ve downloaded the free Snappa software, it’s time to start creating your banner. Here are the exact 5 steps we’ll be covering:
- Step 1: Create a Graphic
- Step 2: Select a Template or Start Creating a Banner from Scratch
- Step 3: Familiarize Yourself with the Different Device Banner Sizes
- Step 4: Start Creating Your Channel Art
- Step 5: Download Your Channel Art & Add It to Your YouTube Channel
Step 1: Create a Graphic
The very first step is to create your graphic by either manually inputting the ideal YouTube banner size – 2560 x 1440 pixels – or simply selecting the YouTube Channel Art preset.
Since you know that the graphic should be 2560 x 1440 pixels, we recommend just selecting Snappa’s preset option. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be taken to a page with a heap of different templates to choose from.
Step 2: Select a Template or Start Creating a Banner from Scratch
If you’re looking for the easiest possible way to create a banner, consider using one of Snappa’s preset templates. The software makes it really simple to choose a preset option and customize it up to fit your YouTube channel.
For the purposes of this complete tutorial, though, let’s focus on creating a banner from scratch. To do this, just select the ‘+’ icon labeled Create From Scratch.
Step 3: Familiarize Yourself with the Different Device Banner Sizes
Considering the wide range of screen sizes out there, it’s no surprise that your YouTube banner size will vary from device to device. You can’t expect the banner to look the same on a massive 70” TV as it does on a 6” iPhone, right?
That’s why Snappa gives exact details on how the banner will look based on each specific viewing device (TV, desktop, tablet, and mobile).
As you’re creating the banner, you can keep this detailed device layout as an overlay on top of the banner image, but if you find that it’s getting in the way, Snappa makes it possible to turn it off and on with a toggle feature.
If you’re not using Snappa to create your banner, this is the part of the process where you’ll need to upload the official YouTube Graphic Template. Here’s how to do it on most software interfaces in 5 steps:
- Select Graphics on the left-side menu bar.
- Click Uploads and select the green Upload an image button.
- Select the YouTube Graphic Template that you previously downloaded to your files and click Open.
- Once the template has been uploaded to the software interface, add it into the editing area and scale it up to the proper size.
- Lower the transparency (opacity) of the uploaded sizing guide so that it’s just barely visible over the banner you’re creating.
No matter which software you’re using, always make sure to turn this sizing guide overlay off when you’re finished creating your channel art. If you forget to do this, it will be visible overtop the banner, which won’t look very professional!
Step 4: Start Creating Your Channel Art
It’s time to get into the fun part of how to make channel art for YouTube on PC and Mac – the actual creation!
Selecting Your Banner Background
Start by focusing on the background of your channel art. Snappa gives you lots of background photos and textured patterns to choose from, or you can upload your own image to use as the background.
Once you’ve selected your image or pattern, you can add effects that will make your banner background pop. Here are the background effects that Snappa allows you to edit:
- Color Overlay
When playing around with background effects, try to stick with your branding color. At Primal Video, we use a signature blue color so our channel banner is primarily blue.
Add In Your Text
Next up is adding in the banner text. To do this, select the Text option in the menu bar and select Add a heading. If you’ve turned off the device overlay, it’s recommended that you turn this back on before adding text. This will allow you to see exactly where the text should be inputted.
The key thing to remember when it comes to text placement is to position all your text within that main rectangle portion in the center of the banner. By doing this, you know that all of the text will show up on every device.
The text should include your channel/brand name as well as some of the key features of your channel. If your brand has a go-to font, make sure to change the text font so that it goes with your branding.
One thing you can do to make text stand out within the banner is to place the text over a filled-in shape that is different from the original background color. Here are the exact steps for doing this on Snappa:
- Select the Shapes feature in the editing menu.
- Choose the shape that you’d like to pair with your text – a rectangle usually works well.
- Choose the fill-in color and make sure this is different from the text color.
- Select the shape and click the Move layer back button so that the text is visible over the top of the shape.
- Make adjustments to the size and positioning of the shape so that it’s directly behind the text.
Add In Some Unique Elements to Make the Banner Stand Out
Now that you’ve got your background and text all figured out, your banner is finally coming together. However, it probably still looks pretty basic at this point, so the next step is to add in some unique elements to spice things up.
Once again, the Shapes feature is another great choice for creating some unique elements within your banner.
You can start by adding in a simple square, and then scaling it up and rotating it slightly to get an effect similar to the one in the photo above. Just make sure to move whatever element you’re using behind the text so that the text is visible over top.
From here, you can add in additional photos, maybe even a photo of yourself depending on the type of channel you have.
Add a Call to Action (Desktop Only)
If you’re using YouTube to grow your business and increase brand awareness, it’s definitely a good idea to include a Call to Action button within the banner.
Because of the sizing restrictions for different devices, YouTube only allows a CTA to be visible on desktops. Adding in a simple call to action for the desktop banner is a great way to draw more attention to your channel – and get more subscribers.
Just remember that the CTA link will only appear in desktop mode, so design the banner accordingly and make sure the call to action fits for desktop (and doesn’t cut into the mobile banner space).
Step 5: Download Your Channel Art & Add It to Your YouTube Channel
Once you’re happy with the results, it’s time to download the banner to your files so that it can be uploaded directly to your YouTube channel.
Snappa gives you a few download options, but it’s recommended that you go with a High-res PNG file for a higher-quality image.
After the download is complete, save it on your computer and log in to your YouTube channel. Once logged in, here are the steps to add the banner as channel art on YouTube:
- Visit the Home page of your channel dashboard.
- Click the Customize Channel
- At the top of the customization page, click Add channel art.
- Upload the banner that you just created.
- Check out the preview that YouTube gives you to make sure everything looks right for desktop, TV, and mobile.
- If the banner needs any adjusting based on the preview (it probably won’t if you followed the template guidelines), click Adjust the crop and resize/reposition the banner.
That’s it! Your banner has officially been added to your channel for all to see.
Now You Can Make a YouTube Banner the Easy Way!
There you have it – the complete guide on how to make a YouTube banner.
In this tutorial, you learned how to make a YouTube banner without Photoshop or any other complicated software. All you need is Snappa and you’ll be able to make kicka$$ channel art that will look amazing on all devices.
If you haven’t already got one, an animated intro video is another awesome way to brand your videos and create an image of professionalism and consistency on your YouTube channel.
Check out our full tutorial to learn exactly how to create a professional video intro, quick and easy
If you’d like more tips and tricks to create videos for your business in less time, check out our guide on the ULTIMATE Process for Editing Videos Faster. This free download provides you with tons of video editing tips that can take your videos to an entirely new level.
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Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!