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What Is Custom Thumbnail?

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Freelance thumbnail designers specialize in creating bold, branded, and engaging thumbnails, used anywhere you publish video content–think YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and LinkedIn as a few examples.

The thumbnail is a ‘front cover’ to your video and should provide an insight into what the video is all about or the types and themes of content you create for your followers.

Why are YouTube thumbnails important? With around 3.7 million videos added to the platform every day, it’s very difficult indeed to encourage clicks and views if you don’t have an engaged and loyal brand following. Rather than getting lost in the noise, an attractive thumbnail drives views by presenting a slick and professional introduction.

How Does a Custom Thumbnail Differ?

A tailored thumbnail, created just for you by your designer, is the gold standard in online video content. There are a couple of other options:

  1. Uploading your YouTube video and leaving the platform to choose a frame to include as the thumbnail: In most cases, the frame picked at random isn’t the best promotion for your video and could deter potential viewers.
  2. Picking one of the three generic thumbnails YouTube shows you once you’ve uploaded your video: The issue here is that you won’t stand out or attract attention if you have the same standard thumbnail as millions of other videos.

Custom thumbnails represent your style, channel, and branding, maximizing the attention you generate and enticing users to click and watch. Every YouTube user makes split-second judgments about which videos are worth their time, so a slick first impression is perfect.

If a YouTube viewer isn’t already familiar with you or your channel, this is your opportunity to present yourself in the right light and effectively grow your digital followers and subscribers with a simple piece of graphic design. You can even design multiple thumbnails or have a custom thumbnail created for every piece of evergreen content you post–think of introduction videos as a great example!

What Are the Benefits of a Custom Video Thumbnail?

The primary advantage of having a striking thumbnail is that you can achieve higher viewer and subscriber numbers and create a consistent, stylized brand where all your videos use a similar visual format.

There are also other compelling benefits:

  • Improved SEO: Saving your thumbnail graphic with a keyword within the title can generate a more visible presence on Google and boost your click-throughs, where users find your video content in response to a search query.
  • Generating more attention: With so many millions of online videos, a thumbnail is immediately more eye-catching than a generic and auto-generated YouTube thumbnail.

The standard thumbnails YouTube suggests are video stills selected at random. Because these images are not targeted or chosen with any specific criteria, they are rarely, if ever, ideal. Many end up being of a person in mid-speech or an irrelevant background image that doesn’t give any indication of what the video is about.

How Can I Find a Great Thumbnail Designer?

If you’re ready to use this small but important area of advertising, it’s well worth using a skilled design professional to create a customized thumbnail that is compatible with your YouTube channel and conforms to your branding. There are more than 6,000 designers, graphic professionals, and social media artists available to hire on Guru, whether you need one brilliant thumbnail for your next video or would like regular designs as you produce new content.

Hiring through Guru is straightforward–you can either post a job and invite qualified designers to send you a quote or contact any freelancer you think is a good fit via the platform quote request form. We’d recommend looking for a designer who understands your brief or who has previous thumbnail graphics within their portfolio that resonate with your ideas or relate to YouTube channels with a similar central theme.

For example, you could search for a thumbnail designer with a five-star rating who specializes in thumbnails for gaming channels, beauty vloggers, or kids’ toy reviews. Alternatively, you might filter designers by style if you’d like a thumbnail that is based on pop art, anime, or cartoon-style graphics. Most thumbnail designers are experts in digital imagery and can even use Photoshop and comparable tools to transform existing images, headshots, or screengrabs and make them an excellent advertisement to use as your video thumbnail!

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