7 Best Practices for YouTube Thumbnails (In 2024)

Article last updated on:
April 18, 2024

In this guide, we’re presenting you with the actual best practices for YouTube thumbnails.The most basic tip is to respect the Community Guidelines — but we’re not here to bore you with that.

Best Practices: Make the Perfect Thumbnail

The absolute best practice for your video’s thumbnail is to A/B test it with multiple versions of itself. This helps you find out what type of thumbnail is most engaged by your viewers.

1. A/B Test

Cover image - AB Test Tool For YouTube Educational Content

Experiment with different designs and track how they perform through Thumbnail Test’s tools.

Use analytics to see which thumbnails achieve higher click-through rates and adjust your designs based on what works best with your audience.

2. Keep it Minimalistic

Focus on clarity and simplicity. This is an overall great example:

YouTube Thumbnail with Text Overaly - "2023, A Look Back" from Vox

Your thumbnail should clearly convey what your video or content is about with minimal clutter. Use bold, readable fonts and a clean design.

3. Use High-Contrast Colors

Choose colors that stand out and create high contrast to attract attention.

Bright and contrasting colors can help your thumbnail pop against the background of a webpage or a social media feed.

4. Add Relevant Text

Use text in your thumbnail to deliver a key message or to tease the content of the video. Keep the text brief and large enough to be readable even when the thumbnail is small.

Great example, once again:

Example of a YouTube thumbnail with a face

5. Great Backgrounds

Use high-resolution images that are visually appealing and relevant to your content.

If you are featuring products, people (faces), or specific actions, make sure they are clear and in focus.

6. Brand Consistency

Maintain a consistent brand image across all your thumbnails by using the same color scheme, font style, and layout. This makes your content easily recognizable to your audience.

Apple's Logo in the thumbnail of a YouTube introducing the Apple Vision Pro

7. Size it for all Screen Sizes

Different platforms may crop thumbnails differently or display them at varying sizes.

Ensure your thumbnail looks good on all platforms where it will appear by keeping important visual elements centrally located.


1. What are YouTube best practices for thumbnails?

The #1 best practice for YouTube thumbnails is to A/B test multiple images for one video. Online tools like Thumbnail Test help you track your success.

It’s a simple trick that works even for your old videos!

2. What makes a perfect YouTube thumbnail?

A perfect YouTube thumbnail grabs viewers’ attention and hints what’s happening in the video. It typically features high-resolution images, bold and readable text, and a compelling design that stands out, while also being consistent with the channel’s branding.

Thank you for reading this,

About the author

David is the head of the editing team at ThumbnailTest. With his help, the editorial team is able to provide you with the best free guides related to YouTube thumbnails and A/B testing.