How to make a YouTube banner

YouTube Banners: Tips for Creating and Modifying

It towers over your name and is the first thing viewers see as soon as they click on your channel: the YouTube banner. It's responsible for the crucial first impression you make on potential viewers. We'll show you how you can create and edit your YouTube banner and perhaps turn a zapper into a viewer - or even a subscriber.

Fun fact: Why the YouTube banner is so important

A YouTube banner is also often referred to as a channel image in German-speaking countries. It's located above the channel name and acts as the cover photo. That's why it's so important. If you can tell the viewer at first glance which topics the channel covers, you save a lot of work in the description and explanation of your videos. Therefore, pay attention to the following things:

  • The channel image should be related to the content of your videos and provide information about what your channel is doing. This gives the viewer an indication of whether your clips are in their area of ​​interest.
  • Agree the banner with a nice logo and matching video thumbnails (= preview images). This turns your channel into an invitingly designed page that invites you to click through and discover.
  • Do you have a specific color, motto or graphic that gives your channel a specific branding? Are you always on the air at a certain time on a certain day? Include this information in your banner to get the message across.
  • Make sure that your banner does not violate the personal rights of third parties or trademark rights if, for example, other people can be seen in the photo or brand logos are shown.

Creating a YouTube banner: an example

Do you already have an idea of ​​your channel picture but don't know how to create it? A photo editing program will help you to put your ideas into action. With a free program such as GIMP, you can create effective editions in just a few steps. This is how you get a nice canal image with the software:

  1. Download and install GIMP as directed.
  2. Open the program. Go to file > Open and choose a photo that you would like to make your banner. Please note that, according to YouTube, the photo must be at least 2,048 x 1,152 pixels. However, you drive better with the dimensions 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. This way, your channel image will later stay in its intended position even on the largest screens. It is best to choose a picture in landscape format and do without portrait format.
  3. Now click in your Toolbox the Cropping-Tool on. It looks like a box cutter. A window then opens in the tab below. Put a tick next to "Fixed" and choose from the drop-down menu next to it Size out. In the field below you can enter your desired image size. Enter the ideal size of 2,560 pixels wide and 1,440 pixels high.
GIMP allows you to select in advance how large your image crop should be in the end.
  1. Now click on your photo. GIMP automatically makes a selection, thanks to your input, the dimensions correspond exactly to the ideal size ratio for a YouTube banner. Place the box until the most beautiful section of the picture can be seen in it.
  2. If you want to add a text, move your mouse over the Toolbox and click on that A.Icon. Draw a rectangle in your photo. This is how you determine the field on which you want to write. In the toolbox there is now a button in which you can select the font, the font size and the color of the text. Let your creativity run free here. You can then use the Move-Position the tool (four blue arrows) even more precisely.
  3. If you are satisfied with your picture, go up file > Export as. Give your file a name and choose the format JPEG image. Then click on Export. A new window will open.
  4. Put a tick here Show preview in image window. You will then see the file size of the image in the line above. YouTube stipulates a maximum file size of 6 MB. All files that exceed this limit will be rejected by the website. If your image is larger than 6 MB, use the slider next to “Quality” to adjust the image quality and thus the file size. Slide the slider to the left until you see a file size of less than 6 MB. Then click again on Export.

If you are still a little unsure how to use the GIMP, our extensive tips and tutorials will help you in many places.

Attention: The image section of your channel image varies depending on the output device. Pay attention to the dimensions that are ideal for your photo and any text.

Here you can see which section of your banner is displayed on which device.

Also consider that your channel also has a channel symbol, a logo or a photo. This is also displayed on each device and is stored on the left above your banner. So make sure that the images are in harmony and that the logo does not cover any important part of the banner.

Change the banner on the YouTube website

Once you've successfully created your banner, you'll want to upload it too. You can easily reach your goal in just a few steps:

  1. Log into your YouTube account.
  2. Navigate to by clicking on your account icon My channel. There you will see a button named to the right of your channel name Adjust channel. Click on it.
  3. Now move your mouse over your channel picture. A small gray pencil will appear in the top right corner.
  4. Click on the pen. A drop-down menu opens here. Choose Edit channel picture.
  5. In the pop-up window that now appears, you have three options for selecting a new channel image: Upload photos, My photos and Gallery.
  6. Click on Upload photos, select your file and click Open.
  7. YouTube will now show you a small preview of how your channel image will be displayed on the individual output devices. You can edit this section again minimally here.
  8. Click on Select. Your channel image is then changed.

Banner: Do’s and Don’ts

  • Image in JPG, PNG or GIF format
  • Size: at least 2,048 x 1,152 pixels, better even 2,560 x 1,440 pixels
  • Matched to various display devices
  • Image in accordance with video content
  • Important text messages, logos and image details visible


  • TIF or RAW files
  • Pixelated or shaky photos
  • Portrait photos
  • Important text or image section is hidden behind the channel symbol
  • Photo shows protected brands or persons who do not want a publication
  • have explicitly agreed
  • Kanalbild reveals nothing about video content or important airtime

Change banners via smartphone or tablet

Your banner can also be conveniently changed on the go. Upload your channel picture easily via smartphone or tablet. The procedure remains the same, regardless of whether you have an Android or iOS-powered smartphone:

  1. Open the YouTube app. If you don't have it yet, download it for free from the Google Play Store or iTunes.
  2. Sign in with your YouTube account. If you are logged in, tap on the account symbol.
  3. Choose My channel.
  4. In the window that opens, tap on the gray gear that you see to the right of your channel name.
  5. Above your channel picture you will see a white camera symbol in the upper right corner. Tap it and run over Choose from your own photos away.
  6. Select a photo. Tailor it to your liking. YouTube again advises you that the image section varies depending on the output device.
  7. If you are satisfied, tap on Use photo. Your channel image will be updated immediately.

A clever helper for more clicks

The in-house banner has long been part of the standard repertoire for professional YouTubers. You know that the good first impression ensures an increased number of clicks on your videos - and thus for more potential subscribers. The most important thing is the personal touch and the expressiveness of the photo. So let your creativity run wild and adhere to all the basic requirements - then nothing stands in the way of your individual banner.

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