5 Free Apps To Make YouTube Thumbnails + 20 Free Templates

Thumbnails are arguably one of the most important aspects when it comes to a video on YouTube, but creating them is where the real stress is, especially if you don’t know anything about design or know any free apps to make YouTube thumbnails.

There are several free apps to make YouTube thumbnails which will make generating visually appealing and eye-catching thumbnails a lot easier. In this article, we will discuss the best 5 free apps to make YouTube thumbnails. But before we dive in let’s answer some questions you might have about YouTube thumbnails.

Frequently Asked Questions About YouTube Thumbnails

What Are Thumbnails?

Thumbnails refer to clickable images that represent videos on YouTube. YouTube uses thumbnails to represent your videos in search results, on your channel page and when you’re browsing videos.

They serve as a preview or a visual summary of the video’s content. and are crucial because they are the first thing viewers see when browsing through videos on YouTube. Thumbnails act as a visual gateway, enticing viewers to click and watch the video.

What Happens if a Video Has a Bad Thumbnail?

If a video has a bad thumbnail, it’s unlikely that many people will click on it. Even if your content is great, no one will see it because of an unappealing thumbnail. On the other hand, if you have an eye-catching thumbnail then more people will click on your YouTube video to watch and share it with their friends and family.

What is the difference between images and thumbnails?

Images encompass various visual representations used for multiple purposes such as conveying information, showcasing products, or capturing moments, while thumbnails specifically denote scaled-down versions serving as previews for larger content like videos or galleries.

Images come in diverse sizes, resolutions, and contexts, functioning as standalone content for viewing, sharing, or inclusion in creative projects. Conversely, thumbnails are compact representations designed to attract attention, provide a glimpse of larger content, and entice user interaction, serving as entry points to access and engage with the complete content they represent.

What makes a YouTube thumbnail successful?

A successful YouTube thumbnail captivates viewers’ attention by being visually compelling, relevant, and enticing. Moreover, it effectively represents the video content through clear and high-quality imagery, engaging graphics, or concise text overlays, ensuring immediate comprehension of what the video offers.

Successful thumbnails often employ vibrant colors, eye-catching visuals, and consistent branding elements to stand out amidst other videos, encouraging click-throughs. They maintain relevancy by accurately depicting the video’s essence, avoiding misleading or clickbait elements.

Additionally, a successful thumbnail is optimized for various devices and screen sizes, ensuring its impact remains potent whether viewed on desktops, mobile devices, or other platforms, ultimately leading to higher click-through rates and increased viewer engagement.

What is the purpose of the thumbnail on YouTube?

The purpose of a thumbnail on YouTube is to act as a visual gateway or preview that entices and informs viewers about the video content. It serves as a clickable representation, offering a glimpse into the video’s topic, style, or key elements.

Thumbnails play a crucial role in capturing viewers’ attention amidst the vast array of content available on the platform. They aim to attract users, communicate the essence of the video, and encourage them to click and watch. Essentially, a thumbnail serves as the initial point of engagement, influencing users’ decisions to explore and view the full video based on the impression it creates.

Are there rules for YouTube thumbnails?

YouTube provides guidelines rather than strict rules for thumbnails. These guidelines emphasize authenticity, clarity, and relevance. Thumbnails should accurately represent the content of the video, avoiding misleading or deceptive imagery.

While there aren’t rigid rules dictating specific dimensions or formats for thumbnails, creators are encouraged to use high-quality images, clear text (if included), and compelling visuals that cater to various devices and screen sizes for optimal viewing. Ultimately, while YouTube provides guidance, creators have flexibility in designing thumbnails as long as they align with the platform’s principles of authenticity, accuracy, and suitability.

Do thumbnails increase YouTube video views?

Yes, thumbnails play a significant role in increasing YouTube video views. A compelling thumbnail that accurately represents the video’s content can capture the audience’s attention, prompting them to click and watch the video.

Studies and analytics consistently show that well-designed thumbnails with vibrant visuals, clear imagery, and relevant text contribute to higher click-through rates (CTR). When a video’s thumbnail stands out among others and effectively communicates the video’s essence, it can significantly impact viewers’ decisions to click and ultimately boost the overall views of the video. Therefore, optimizing thumbnails is a crucial aspect of attracting an audience and increasing a video’s visibility on YouTube.

5 Free Apps To Make YouTube Thumbnails

As already emphasized, creating engaging YouTube thumbnails is crucial for attracting viewers to your videos or YouTube channel. There are several user-friendly and efficient apps to craft compelling thumbnails with little to no stress, I have listed 5 of the best FREE apps to make YouTube thumbnails.

Whether you’re an aspiring YouTuber or a seasoned creator looking to optimize your visual presence, these free apps provide accessible solutions for designing eye-catching thumbnails that stand out on the platform.

  1. Canva
Free Apps To Make Dope YouTube Thumbnails

Canva is one of the most popular and easy-to-use free apps to make YouTube thumbnails in the market. It has a huge variety of templates and designs that you can customize for any purpose, including YouTube thumbnails.

Furthermore, the platform has a built-in editor so you can seamlessly create designs without having a previous background in graphics design or without paying so much money for a simple design.

  1. FotoJet
Free Apps To Make Dope YouTube Thumbnails

Fotojet is another popular option out there because it’s easy to use and gives you a lot of options in terms of what kind of layout and design you want. You can choose from various background styles, shapes, fonts and colours to create something that will stand out but still fit into the parameters of being a YouTube thumbnail.

  1. Photopea
Free Apps To Make Dope YouTube Thumbnails

This is a free app that allows you to create your images using photos or built-in templates. It has an intuitive and quick interface, so it’s great for creating thumbnails in a short amount of time.

Photopea offers hundreds of free templates that you can use to create professional-looking images which makes it one of the best free apps to make YouTube thumbnails.

Editing in Photopeas is made easy using the drag-and-drop sections. You can add text to your image with thousands of fonts available, and change the colour, saturation, brightness and contrast of your design. So you’re sure to find something that fits your style.

  1. Pixlr
Free Apps To Make YouTube Thumbnails

If you’re looking for an app with a simple interface, Pixlr is the one for you. It’s a free photo editor that has all of the basic editing tools you need to create professional-looking YouTube Thumbnails and images.

In addition, you can edit different types of images by using filters, effects or tools with each tool feature bearing multiple options so you can customize them to fit your needs perfectly. Feel free to explore its premium features like filters, cropping, rotating and straightening tools, blemish or red-eye remover and collage, amongst others.

  1. Crello, now called VistaCreate
Free Apps To Make YouTube Thumbnails

Crello (VistaCreate) is one of those Free apps to make YouTube Thumbnails that give you access to stunning images and animated gifs. The app includes a variety of filters, which can be used to enhance your photos in a variety of ways.

You can also use the app to add text, stickers, shapes and more to your photos. Just like the other free apps, the Crello/VistaCreate app features a very simple interface, which makes it easy to use even if you’re new to photo editing apps. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

How to Increase Video Views With YouTube Thumbnails

To make YouTube thumbnails effectively increase video views, consider the following tips:

  1. Use High-Quality Images: Bright, visually appealing, and well-composed images relevant to your video’s content often attract attention.
  2. Engaging Visuals: Eye-catching graphics, with vibrant colors make your thumbnail stand out among others and draw attention.
  3. Relevance Matters: Ensure your thumbnail accurately represents the video’s content. Avoid clickbait or misleading images that don’t relate to the video
  4. Incorporate Clear Text and Fonts: Use readable fonts and concise wording that complements the visuals. Highlight key points or add intrigue without cluttering the thumbnail.
  5. Employ Branding Elements: Use consistent branding elements, such as colors, logos, or fonts, to help viewers recognize your content easily.
  6. Experiment With Designs: Try out different thumbnail designs to see which ones resonate better with your audience and to understand what drives higher click-through rates.
  7. Optimize for Mobile: Consider that a significant portion of YouTube views come from mobile devices. Ensure your thumbnails are visually clear and compelling, even on smaller screens.
  8. Follow YouTube’s Best Practices: Follow YouTube’s guidelines for thumbnail size (1280 x 720 pixels) and formats (JPG, PNG, or GIF) to ensure compatibility and quality across devices.
  9. Analytics Review: Regularly review analytics to understand which thumbnails perform better. Pay attention to metrics like CTR (Click-Through Rate) to refine your thumbnail strategies.
  10. Test Thumbnail With Audience: Share different versions of thumbnails with friends, family, or online communities to get feedback and insights on which designs are more appealing.

Evidently, you can optimize YouTube thumbnails to increase video views by implementing these strategies and refining your approach based on viewer engagement and feedback.

How To Add Thumbnails on YouTube Videos

The process of adding thumbnails on YouTube is quite simple. You need one of the aforementioned free apps to make YouTube thumbnails and the correct dimensions for YouTube thumbnails. If you’re creating your thumbnails afresh instead of using a template, the standard dimensions for a YouTube thumbnail is 1280 X 720 pixels.

Unquestionably, using an already existing template as a benchmark for your YouTube thumbnail is easier and faster so you should grab the 20 FREE YouTube Thumbnail Templates I customised for you on Canva.

Free Youtube Thumbnail Templates Pack

Next, you have to upload the video on YouTube and follow the below steps to add the thumbnail which you have created:

How to Add Custom Thumbnails on Android or IOS

  • Step 1: Open the YouTube app 
  • Step 2: Tap Library to see Your videos.
  • Step 3: Beside the video you’d like to edit, tap MoreEdit, Edit thumbnail.
  • Step 4: Tap Custom thumbnail to upload the thumbnail from your device.
  • Step 5: Confirm your thumbnail selection and tap SELECT.
  • Step 6: Tap SAVE.

How to Add Custom Thumbnails on a Computer

  • Step 1: Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  • Step 2: Locate the left menu and select Content.
  • Step 3: Click the video you’d like to edit.
  • Step 4: Select Upload thumbnail to upload the thumbnail from your computer.
  • Click SAVE.
Watch this video to learn how to upload your YouTube thumbnail faster


In conclusion, the availability of these free apps to make YouTube thumbnails presents a fantastic opportunity for content creators to enhance their YouTube presence. They offer an array of tools, templates, and features, empowering creators to craft visually captivating thumbnails that effectively represent their video content. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced creator utilizing these free apps to make YouTube thumbnails can elevate your thumbnail game, attract more viewers, and potentially increase engagement with your YouTube content.

Embrace these free apps to make YouTube thumbnails, experiment with designs, and leverage their capabilities to create compelling thumbnails that entice audiences and make your videos stand out on the platform.

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Gift Vincent is a digital communications specialist and an entrepreneur who specializes in helping digital enthusiasts and entrepreneurs build a sustainable digital business and an optimized online presence to reach their full potential.

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