5 Thumbnail Apps: Used By The Biggest YouTubers (2024)

Article last updated on:
April 02, 2024

You’re likely here because you have a favourite YouTuber and you’re curious on how they make their thumbnails.

Whether you’re a:

  • Small creator who wants to make it big
  • Or a viewer who’s curious.

This guide is for you. We’ll go through the most used apps for thumbnails amongst the biggest channels.

Top 5 Apps: Used by YouTubers to Make Thumbnails

These are the top 5 apps used by YouTubers to make and test thumbnails: Canva, Thumbnail Test, Photoshop, Fotor, Figma.

1. Canva

Link: Canva.com

Canva Thumbnail Maker - Online Landing Page
  • Features:
    • Easy drag-and-drop interface
    • Large selection of thumbnail templates, images, and fonts
    • Option to add personal images
    • Team collaboration features
  • Pros:
    • Very intuitive interface
    • Ideal for those just starting out
    • Comprehensive variety of design components
  • Cons:
    • Advanced features may need a Pro plan
    • Templates might lack uniqueness due to wide usage
  • Pricing:
    • Free tier available
    • Pro tier pricing begins at $12.99/month

2. Thumbnail Test

Link: ThumbnailTest.com


  • Thumbnail A/B Testing: Experiment with different video thumbnails to find the one that attracts the most views, engagement, or clicks.
  • Title A/B Testing: Test various titles along with thumbnails to see which combination works best.
  • Analytics for Tests: Gain insights into how your thumbnails are performing with comprehensive analytics.
  • Revive Old Videos: Use the tool to test thumbnails on older videos to increase their visibility and views.


  • Efficiency: Saves time by automating the thumbnail testing process, allowing you to focus on content creation and other important tasks.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Provides detailed data on average view duration, CTR, and audience demographics, helping to make informed decisions.
  • Customization: Offers more control over test parameters, including audience targeting and test duration.


  • Cost: Unlike manual thumbnail switching which is free, ThumbnailTest is a paid service, which might be a consideration for those with limited budgets.


  • Paid: $24/month to $75/month, depending on your plan.
  • Small channels: You get 40% off if you’re under 10k subscribers!

3. Adobe Photoshop

Link: Adobe.com/Products/Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop Website


  • Advanced photo editing tools (brushes, layers, masks)
  • 3D design functionality
  • Extensive plugin support
  • Customizable workspace
  • Cloud storage integration


  • Industry-standard software with robust features
  • Regular updates with new tools and improvements
  • Wide range of tutorials and community support
  • High precision and control over editing


  • Steep learning curve for beginners
  • High subscription cost compared to some alternatives
  • Can be resource-intensive, requiring a powerful computer
  • Some might find the interface cluttered


  • Monthly subscription as part of Adobe Creative Cloud: Individual plans typically start around $20.99/month for just Photoshop or $52.99/month for all Adobe apps (prices might vary based on location and promotions).

4. Fotor

Link: Fotor.com

Screenshot from Fotor's YouTube Thumbnail Making Tool - Landing Page


  • User-friendly drag-and-drop interface
  • Wide selection of templates and stock photos
  • Text and sticker overlays for customization
  • Basic photo editing tools (crop, resize, filter)
  • Direct social media sharing options


  • Easy to use, even for beginners
  • Quick creation of visually appealing thumbnails
  • Free version available with basic features
  • Online platform, no need to download heavy software


  • Advanced features locked behind a paywall
  • Limited functionality compared to professional design software
  • Some templates can look generic without customization
  • Free version includes watermarks on designs


  • Free version with basic features and limited assets
  • Paid subscriptions offer more templates, stock photos, and advanced editing tools. Pricing usually starts around $8.99/month, but there can be discounts for annual commitments or special promotions.

5. Figma

Link: Figma.com

Website Homepage - Figma


  • Vector graphic editing and prototyping
  • Collaborative design in real-time
  • Extensive plugin ecosystem
  • Auto layout for responsive design
  • Cloud-based with version history


  • Highly collaborative, allowing multiple users to work simultaneously
  • Intuitive interface, easier to learn for newcomers
  • Free tier available with essential features
  • Cross-platform compatibility (web-based)


  • Can be less performant with very complex projects
  • Some advanced features may require a learning curve
  • Dependent on internet connection for real-time collaboration
  • Limited offline functionality


  • Free version for individuals with basic features
  • Professional plan typically starts around $12 per editor/month for additional features like unlimited projects and version history
  • Organization plan with advanced security and admin features, priced higher, often tailored to team sizes and needs.


1. How do YouTubers make their thumbnails?

YouTubers use graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Canva, or GIMP to create their thumbnails, then A/B test them with ThumbnailTest to see which picture is better.

The process is like this:

  • They start by choosing a compelling image or design that represents their video content well.
  • Many add bold text overlays with eye-catching fonts to summarize the video or grab viewers’ attention.
  • They also use bright colors and contrast to make the thumbnail stand out among others.
  • And then, branding: logos, colors, and any other branding elements.

Let’s see the top 5 apps!

2. What do most YouTubers use to make thumbnails?

Most YouTubers use this website to make their thumbnails: Canva.com — it is a free designing tool with many templates which you can use for free.

Alternatively, you can try Figma.com as it’s free and very similar!

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.