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Lesson 3: Creating a YouTube Banner

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Creating a YouTube banner

Are you starting a new YouTube channel and need some help to design your channel’s homepage? A great design for your banner, also known as channel art, can give your page a polished and professional look, and entice viewers to check out your content.

If you're new to graphic design and YouTube, we're here to help you. We'll show you how to use Canva, a free online graphic design tool, to create your design. Canva's templates can be customized to fit your needs and are sized to fit YouTube's dimensions.

Watch the video below to learn how to create a YouTube banner in Canva.

One challenge with YouTube banners is creating a design that works for all devices. With 70% of YouTube views on mobile, it’s important to size your image to look good on a phone.

The YouTube Channel Art template helps you lay out your design for different devices. Depending on the type of device, YouTube crops the image. On a TV, it will show the whole image, but on other devices it will crop out most of the image and just show the middle area. Later in this lesson, we'll show you how to use this template to make sure all the important information is within this safe area.

Screenshot of YouTube Channel Art template

Getting started with Canva

Let's begin by going to canva.com and creating a free account. For more information about creating a Canva account, check out our Creating a Facebook Post lesson.

Canva's YouTube templates have a variety of layouts and are suited for different topics. We'll help you narrow down your choices to find one that both fits your channel's personality, and has a layout that works for different devices.

In our example, we want to create an image for a baking channel to get people excited about watching our weekly videos about making doughnuts.

We’ll start by choosing YouTube Channel Art on the homepage.

screenshot of Canva homepage icons

Choosing a template

Canva has created different categories of templates for different channel topics including travel, beauty, and music. You can browse through these, or you can use the search bar to type one or more keywords. This could be a topic, such as food, or even a color. In our case, we'll look for a yellow template.

screenshot of "yellow" templates search results

You’ll see a variety of template designs. This one has all the important elements in the center, so it will look great on a smartphone. And the solid background will eliminate any issues with cropping out images or graphics.

Screenshot of template on canvas

Customizing the text

Now that we have a design that we like, we’ll just make a few changes to customize it.

Let’s start by changing the text. We’ll change the title to the name of our channel. Then we can let people know a little bit about our channel.

Screenshot of customized text

Finding a new image

Now it’s time to find an image to fit our message. We’ll select the old image and click the trash icon in the menu bar to make way for a new image.

screenshot of trash icon with "Delete"

At this point, you could upload your logo or another image. For this example, we’ll use one of Canva’s vector graphics by clicking Elements. We'll search for images of red donuts.

You’ll see both free and paid images. Paid images are marked with a price or a crown. These images usually cost one dollar each. However, we've found that there are many free images to choose from, so we'll focus on those.

screenshot of "red donuts" images search results

Once you find one you like, you can click it to add it to the design.

screenshot of donut with resizing

Resizing the photo

If the image is too large or too small, you can drag the corner or side handles to resize it. In this case, we'll size it down.

screenshot of donut with resizing

Then we'll position it in the same place as the previous image.

moving donut image next to text

Checking the layout with the YouTube template

We want to make sure our design will look good on YouTube, so now it’s time to upload the YouTube Channel Art template and place it over our design.

You can find the template on this Google Support page: Create or edit channel art. Scroll down to the YouTube banner template and size guidelines. Then click the drop-down arrow and click Channel Art Templates to download it.

Screenshot of YouTube help page with channel art template

The template is in a zip file. You'll need to unzip or extract it before you can use it in Canva. The procedure will vary depending on whether you're on a PC or a Mac.

Now let’s return to Canva to upload it and check it against our design. Click Uploads, then select Upload an image or video.

screenshot of "Upload an image or video" button

Navigate to the Channel Art Templates folder and then open the PNG file.

screenshot of YouTube template file in file manager

Now we can lay this YouTube template over our design by dragging the template over the edge of the Canva template. It should snap into place so that it fits the whole canvas.

screenshot of YouTube template in Canva

If the YouTube template is making it hard to see the banner design, you can change the transparency. In the menu bar, we’ll click the transparency icon. And then we can bring it down until our image shows through.

screenshot of changing transparency

We'll check that the text and image fit in the center area. If it doesn't, you can make some adjustments now. When you're done, you can delete the YouTube template by clicking the Delete key on your keyboard.

Publishing on YouTube

When you’re ready to publish your design on YouTube, you can click Download in the menu bar.

screenshot of "Download" menu

Next, we'll set the file type to PNG and then click the Download button.

screenshot of "PNG" file type and "Download" button

Finally, let’s go to your YouTube page. Make sure you’re signed in to your Google account, and then choose Your Channel.

screenshot of YouTube account menu

Next, click Customize Channel.

screenshot of YouTube menu bar

Here you can add or edit your channel art. If it's your first time creating a banner for your page, you'll see Add channel art in the banner space.

screenshot of blank channel art space with "Add channel art" button

Then we can drag and drop the file from the Downloads folder.

screenshot of file being dragged and dropped

YouTube will show you a preview of your design on TV, mobile, and desktop. If it’s not fitting quite right, you have the option to Adjust the crop right here in YouTube.

screenshot of YouTube banner on different devices

Since everything looks good, we’ll click Select to add it to the page.

screenshot of final YouTube banner

Now you have a head start on a great YouTube channel. We encourage you to get started on your own channel art design that will show your channel’s personality and get people excited about your video content.

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