YouTube Thumbnail Rules: 2024 Standards

Article last updated on:
June 03, 2024

Before creating a YouTube Thumbnail, you definitely want it to be in tune with all the rules. Today, we’re explaining them in simple terms.

Related: What’s not allowed in thumbnails.

Are there rules to YouTube thumbnails?

Yes, there are two main types of rules for YouTube thumbnails: technical specifications and content guidelines.

Google has an official guide with all the rules:

YouTube Thumbnail Policy
Screenshot from YouTube’s Thumbnail Policy

But that’s not the 100% most helpful guide, so let us break it down.

YouTube Thumbnail Rules, Explained

A. Technical Rules

  • Size and Resolution: The ideal size for a YouTube thumbnail is 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall, with a minimum width of 640 pixels.
  • Aspect Ratio: Use a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is the most commonly used format for YouTube players and previews. For podcast playlists, you can use a 1:1 square aspect ratio (1280 x 1280 pixels).
  • File Format: Your thumbnail should be uploaded in one of these image formats: JPG, PNG, or GIF.
  • File Size: Keep the file size under 2MB for videos and 10MB for podcasts.

B. Content Rules

This is all related to YouTube’s Community Guidelines.

  • Avoid Shocking Content: Don’t include nudity, violence, or disturbing imagery in your thumbnails.
  • Be Truthful: Your thumbnail should accurately represent the content of your video. Don’t mislead viewers into thinking they’ll see something different.
  • No Clickbait: Avoid using overly sensationalized text or imagery to get clicks.
  • Keep it Clean: Avoid profanity or vulgar language in your thumbnails.


So there you have it — all the rules for thumbnails!

Hope this article is what you needed.

Thank you for reading this,
Thumbnail Test

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.