Make Great YouTube Thumbnails | Evan (PolyMatter) | Skillshare

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Make Great YouTube Thumbnails

teacher avatar Evan (PolyMatter)

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (1h 11m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What Makes a Good Thumbnail?

    • 3. Getting Started

    • 4. Design Basics

    • 5. Advanced Design

    • 6. Complete Walkthrough: From Blank Canvas to Finished Thumbnail

    • 7. Mistakes to Avoid

    • 8. Testing Your Thumbnails

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About This Class

Thumbnails are the first and most important thing someone sees before deciding whether to watch your videos. This single image can make the difference between a viral hit and a complete dud. Join Evan of PolyMatter, a 1 Million+ subscriber YouTube channel in learning how to create amazing thumbnails to help grow or start your channel.

You don't need to have any background or experience in design or YouTube, I will show you exactly how to get started. I will also show you step-by-step how I created this thumbnail by recreating it for you:


Meet Your Teacher

PolyMatter is a YouTube channel focused on thoughtful content, on anything from business to design. It's written, animated, and made entirely by me, Evan.

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to this course on how to make great YouTube thumbnails. First of all, thank you for joining. I hope this course meats and or exceeds your expectations. Whatever those may be before we begin. This video is kind of intended as a quick introduction just to talk about what you'll learn , who this is. Four and give you a general overview of what's to come. So who am I? Well, if you didn't join this course from my YouTube channel, you might be a bit confused. I make short semi educational videos about things like economics, geopolitics and business, kind of just whatever interest me most. So here are a few examples of the thumbnails which I think are my best work. I make all of my thumbnails, and I chose these one specifically to kind of represent a wide spectrum of different styles that will cover in this course because it really isn't intended to teach you how to remake my style of thumb now. But I think it will be useful for anyone making thumbnails regardless of the type of style or even type of video that they want to make now, as you can see, there really isn't any kind of set away or formula to create thumbnails. There are general principles and guidelines which make a huge difference, and I intend on teaching those in this course. But I don't want to take the philosophy that there's just kind of a 10 step process or five step process that you have to follow in order to get a great thumbnail. That's not how design works. It's not how creative work is supposed to work. I'm going to try to give you the tools and ideas that you can take and then create your own style. And so what I try to encourage people to do is develop something new because no one else can do exactly what you're doing. And because of that, you'll have an audience built in because you have something unique, something some kind of niche. So don't don't copy me or any other YouTuber, and that's not just because I don't want it personally, but it's because I think it's not the right strategy for growing on YouTube. So with that in mind, I just encourage everyone to use these as principles as guidelines and not not a recipe were not cooking pasta here. Okay, enough about that. Now you might be wondering what specifically will we learn? What can you expect to be able to do by the time this course is over? Well, there are two broad goals of the short course. The first is to give you a general overview of design principles. Thes are actually more general than just thumbnails. They will help on things like creating logos for your channel and graphics for the actual videos. Now, actually, a few years ago, I made another Mawr General course called How to Make Animated YouTube videos, and most of the concepts I teach there are still quite applicable and I think still relevant. But after hearing people's feedback and looking back at it, I wish I had spent more time on the actual application of those concepts. So I've made it an explicit goal here to not only teach you what to do, but also how exactly to do it. Which means, for example, will talk about how to choose colors and then actually import them into a graphic design app and then use tools to edit them. I'm just gonna try to be as concrete and useful as possible so that you're not lost and just filled with ideas. By the time this course is over, and on that note, let's talk about software. So for this course, I'll be teaching using an app called Affinity Designer. It's kind of a less high profile alternative to Adobe Illustrator and, to a lesser extent, Adobe photo shop. The difference is that Adobe is a monthly subscription, which is quite cost prohibitive for new creators. I find that a lot of new creators the first thing they do before they start writing a script before they start working on graphics or coming up with ideas. They go out and they buy a bunch of equipment, a new Mac book and new camera software. All this stuff and I always try to tell people, Don't do that as your skills passed your equipment. Well, then you can upgrade your equipment, but there's no need to go and spend a bunch of money up front because at the beginning it's a learning process, and you don't need any kind of powerful equipment for that. What I like about affinity designer is that is a one time purchase and It's also universal , so you can follow along here, whether you're on a Mac, a PC or even a mobile device. So if all you have is just an iPad or an iPhone, you can still follow along, and you can start making great thumbnails and at a reasonable price. There's also a free trial of a Fendi designer, so you don't actually need to pay a dime to get started. And here's a screenshot of affinity. Designer. It does look a bit complicated, but do not be afraid. It's actually quite approachable. One of the things I love about affinity designer is that it's so extremely powerful. It's what I use for my graphics, and yet it's quite easy to get started, relatively speaking now, I should also say that because affinity designers so powerful, this course can't possibly teach every single thing there is to know about it. In fact, this other skill share course you can see here is actually entirely dedicated to this one single tool used in affinity, designer of a dozen or so total tools. So that gives you a an idea of how much there is to learn. We can't possibly cover everything here, But this is intended as a good introduction, and I think you'll be surprised by how much you can learn in this one course, and by the end of it, you'll know most of the basics, and the rest can mostly be learned just by playing around with the program once you have those basics down, but otherwise, if you need more help after that, there are lots of great courses that just cover affinity designer on skill share, so I'd encourage you to check those out once you finish this one. Now, who is this course for? Well, of course, the goal was to teach you a very specific skill, which is creating thumbnails. But because we cover such a wide range of different things, it could be useful for anyone who wants to get better at YouTube, someone who's thinking of starting a channel or anyone who wants to learn some of the basics of graphic design. And perhaps you're the type of person who doesn't really enjoy the graphic design aspect of videos. Maybe your videos air entirely recorded with a camera, and so you don't really do any graphic design, but I'd encourage you to still stick with this course because thumbnails are such a big part of getting your viewers attention even before they come across your channel or watch any of your videos. I think it's extremely important to growing your channel. Now here you can see a course outline. Each of these bullet points is one video, but that's enough talking for now. I think it's time to get started. I'll just finish with a final thought, which is that you will get more out of this course If you follow along, I'd encourage you to take some time and open up affinity designer or whatever graphic program you're using and just practice. Just mess around with all the different tools and, ah, try to feel more comfortable with them. All right, let's get started. 2. What Makes a Good Thumbnail?: welcome back. So first things first. Let's talk about why thumbnails are important now. Of course, the most important part of growing a channel is making good stuff. And I would never tell someone to spend less time on the writing or research or making graphics or filming or anything like that in favor of thumbnails. All I would promote is that people spend more time on thumbnails in addition to all of those things, because the unfortunate truth is that no matter how much time and energy you put into research and writing and graphic design, none of it really matters of No one clicks on the video in the first place. You have to grab your viewers attention before you can impress them with your great ideas or graphic skills or all of the above. Thumbnails are your first and most important chance to stand out, especially when your channel is new. It's growing. No one really knows about it. It's your opportunity to entice viewers to come watch so people ask me, Well, how did your channel take off? How did you get from just making videos with 10 2030 views to where you are today? And the answer is, I didn't have to pay for any kind of advertising because that is the magic of YouTube. The algorithm advertises for you. Now that doesn't mean it's easy. It just means that if you do the right things, of course there's a lot component. Then you to will place those ads for you. Meaning recommended videos. The way it works is that you do is happy to basically by billboard slots on your behalf, meaning place your thumbnail all over peoples YouTube pages because it wants people to watch more YouTube, obviously, and that's how a lot of channels kind of grow exponentially is they get that one thumbnail or one topic that really does well and then all of a sudden, the algorithm really likes them and puts them all over. So if all you really have is a billboard, this is your resume, your CV. Your interview presentation is everything in one image, convincing complete strangers that your video was worth watching. Thumbnail is more important than tags, descriptions, even the title. Now, as your channel grows and you get more and more subscribers, the billboard kind of takes on a secondary purpose. It becomes more of a branding exercise, so you don't just want to attract a new viewers. Treating the thumbnail is kind of a billboard, like I said before, but you also want to communicate to your existing subscribers people who are already watching your videos, that this is one of your videos and give them a sense of what to expect. So Apple is a huge company. Everyone knows they exist, and they're big enough now that they don't need to spend a bunch of money and time and effort convincing people they exist and are big at this point. What they're doing with new products is signaling to their existing fans. Well, this is an Apple product. You already know what that looks like. And so here's another one. If you like those years, another product you'll probably like, and that's what your channel and your thumbnail should be doing. Rather, as you grow on, YouTube is communicating both to new people. Well, this might be something you'd be interested in, but also to people who already like your stuff. Here's more of what you've love, so you have kind of two things to balance. At the same time, and it's about maintaining those early viewers just as much as it is getting them in the first place in that early growth phase. So that's the why. The answer to the question. Why spend so much time on thumbnails? While in essence, because that image is your videos marketing, it's how you get new viewers and keep the ones you already have. So now let's transition to talking about the what? What makes a good thumb now? Exactly. So I pulled up a few of my educational youtuber friends, and we'll go through them one by one, explaining why they're thumbnails are so great and so effective. Now, if you're looking for inspiration, I recommend going to standard dot TV, and there's just a ton of creators here, including myself. So chances are if you click on Iran and one go to their channel, you'll find some great inspiration kind of get your creative juices flowing. Let's start off with City Beautiful. This is a channel I personally love. It's about city planning cities and sometimes through a gaming lens. Now you'll notice with this thumbnails that they are pretty consistent and pretty simple, so there's not anything super advanced or complicated going on, there's basically two elements to the thumbnails. First of all, a photo or two in the background. And then there's a design element, which is thetacticsroom, or shortened version of it in front of this tri color graphic element. So he kind of does two things at once, which is, if you don't know his channel, then you'll be intrigued by this pretty eye catching image. But if you're already a subscriber than this font combined with these three colors will make you remember that this is city beautiful. So it's simple and effective, so next is polyphonic. Now this is a great example of thumbnails as art. Every one of these thumbnails are beautiful. They look like album covers, and in many cases they are based on album covers because he covers music topics or they look like posters like that you'd put up on your wall. Now there's some differences from city beautiful in that there's less consistency. Of course, there are some consistent elements, like, for example, the background tends to be darker black background or a gray, but each one is mawr distinct. Here's a channel called Mustard. It's an aviation channel, and the reason I bring it up is to show how consistency can be accomplished in many different ways. So in city, beautiful is case. It was through those three colors, and in this case there aren't any kind of color consistency necessarily so much as a general art style. You just need to communicate to existing subscribers. This is one of your videos, but how you do that and that's up to you. Next is real engineering. Now what I love about these thumbnails is that there's such good consistency. But every thumb now is visually interesting. Almost everyone uses this blue branded color, and it really communicates very well to viewers. This is real engineering whenever they see that video pop up in their subscription feed. But the other thing is that every once in a while he can mix it up with a different color or different style, like with this one, and it really catches your eye, gives it a special distinction and is very effective. Now we're gonna talk about two more channels, which kind of proves the same. General point first is tears. Ooh, and the second is let me know, and both of these thumbnails, you'll immediately notice they're quite simple, these air, not super complicated thumbnails. And in the case of Lemme know, they're super, super simple to the point of often just having one color in the background in one object in the front, and the point year is that you don't have to go overboard. I've made this mistake many times myself of thinking you're some nail is gonna be huge. But the truth is, most of the time your thumbnail is gonna be displayed very small and often very small on a tiny mobile device. So make it your thumbnail Simple. Make it as scalable is possible so that whether it's small or big, people can still read the text. Get the gist of the topic in the case of tears. Ooh, it accomplishes the school, even if you can't exactly see what the element is in the thumbnail. So if you don't recognize what this animal is, it doesn't necessarily matter if you're an existing subscriber, because you see these black, white and yellow colors in this arrangement and you know instantly this is a tear zoo video . Let's talk about all shift X. Now you'll You'll notice. The's thumbnails are extremely simple white background, black tax that's huge and then just one face or one object off to the side. You can see by the views and by the number of subscribers good does not equal complex, all shift X probably doesn't have to spend hours and hours working on the thumbnail, and the thumbnails are still effective. So here I've kind of distilled everything we've talked about into a rough list of the things you want to watch out for. This is not necessarily comprehensive, but we'll expand upon all of these and future videos so that you know what each of them means, and we can start working on the actual creative process. 3. Getting Started: welcome back. So in this video, we're going to start the creative design process, and that begins with brainstorming. So I'm gonna be using my iPad to sketch some ideas, but feel free to use a piece of paper or whatever works best for you. So, as an example, let's take my Trader Joe's video. So this is a video about the grocery store Trader Joe's, and we're just deciding How could we translate this video into a rectangular image? So the question is, what kind of style or theme or object fits best? So we're just gonna be brainstorming different ideas, and this might take a long time for you. That's okay. So Trader Joe's is a store stores half layouts. How about that? So that could be an idea. What if the thumbnail was kind of a top down view of the store layout with all of the aisles and the cashiers and stuff? So that's one idea store layout. We'll write that down. Another idea. Trader Joe's has kind of a unique style of packaging. They do all of their own branding, so the film nail could actually be one of their products in their packaging style. Okay, so that's another idea. Film nail as packaging. Okay, what's something unique about Trader Joe's? Well, inside the store, they're all tropical themed, so that could be another thumbnail idea. Make the thumb now look like a tropical scene and then use the Trader Joe's fond or logo. So tropical. That's another idea, and you might have 20 or 30 ideas, or you might have two or three. Just get as many out as you can. And now that we have our ideas, we're going to start to whittle them down a bit. So one by one will just decide which ideas that came to us seem like they would work 1st 1 store layout. Well, my concern here is that it's not really unique to Trader Joe's, so I'm not sure it would communicate that store in particular the next thumbnails packaging . It's a pretty creative idea like this one. My only concern here is that I've done this for other videos like my Costco one, for example, so I don't want to repeat it. So let's go ahead and skip that idea. And the last one tropical theme that seemed like it would be visually striking. It would stand out as a thumbnail, and also it would communicate the store concept that seems like a winner now that we have a general idea of what we want the thumbnail toe look like In this case, it's gonna be a tropical theme. It all just comes down to the implementation and the details. We want to start sketching. Well, what are some specific ideas? Hmm? We probably won't have some palm trees. We want to have the Trader Joe's logo and or font, and we want something visually striking. So let's pick some colors that would catch people's eyes. So maybe a red or a yellow. And how were we going to incorporate our channel logo? Could be in the sun. There could be a setting sun and the logo is inside the sun. So if you hesitate it all, that's okay. Not everything needs to be perfect. These air just general ideas. So now we can take our ideas and we can start to think about how we would implement those precisely the logo. We might want the logo to be in the middle. We'll put the logo there in the center, and we don't know what the text will be exactly that might be some below here, but generally the text will be in the center. We might want some palm trees off to the side. Doesn't need to be good image. You can tell my drawing skills are not very good, but that's not important. And then in the center there might be kind of, Ah, beach. And then we might even have, like, a coastline here of water. And then the sun can be kind of setting right here between the logo and the water. So that's just the general idea. We don't want to start the design process yet. If we open up affinity designer and just start playing with shapes, we won't really have a direction. We won't really be working towards any kind of goal. And so this step, as silly as it might sound, is really important because you want to know what you're actually creating before you decide how exactly to do it. This is the kind of the big picture step, and in the next few videos will actually be doing the creating the shapes and messing with the colors. But before all of that, we want to have some general idea of what it should look like by the time it's done. So in preparation to begin the actual design process, we're just going to open up affinity designer and get our canvas ready. Now, this might look a little bit different. Depending on the device you're using. We'll go to file and new. And in my case, I already have a preset created to save me a bit of time. But in your case, you can just type in the dimensions. The with is 12 80 the height is 7 20 Now. Once you have those set, you can just click the create button, and now you're presented with your canvas and in the next few videos will give you a complete introduction to all of these different tools and start working on the thumbnail. 4. Design Basics: welcome back. So in the last video we left off by creating this blank white canvas in affinity Designer and we're going to start this video by giving you a brief tour of the interface. So right now you can see this white spaces where we can create our design. We can zoom in and out of it, and on the left side are all of the tools at our disposal. Now we'll go through each and every one of these at some point and in some form. But for now, let's just focus on a few important ones. So let's start with the shapes each of these air, just potential shapes that we can create. And here are a bunch of more specific ones. And so let's just create a circle. So we click on the circle, and now you can see our cursor has changed, and that means that we can start creating shapes. So if we just click and drag, then weaken. Set the dimensions and location of our circle, and a little tip is that you can hold down the shift key while you're doing this to create equal with and height dimensions. Now you'll notice that when we let go, the shape is created, and yet our cursor stays as thes crosshairs. What that means is that we can continue creating circles or whatever shape we have selected , and we could just go on forever. But if we want to go back to not creating circles, then we need to change to a different tool. So in this case will go back to our original move tool here at the top. And now you can see our cursor is back to normal, and we can click and select the different shapes to edit their properties, delete them, move them around, and, ah, click and drag to select multiple of them. Now, you may have noticed that as we create each shape, a new row appears here on the right side of our screen. Now this is called the Layers panel. Now we can switch between these different panels, and we can actually click and drag this panel to give it a little bit more room. And if you really wanted to, you could even move thes around now for each of these rows, they represent one of the shapes on our canvas. So let's play around a bit. So for this shape, let's set it a different color. And perhaps we want the shape in the background while these rows here correspond to the order that they appear on the screen. So if we want this green one behind the others, we can just click and drag it in the back. And we also have a few other tools. We can change its capacity here, make it a little bit more transparent somewhere in between. And we can also hide this layer entirely. We can also click command l or right click and lock it so that no matter what we do, we won't move it around. So, for example, you might want to create a background and then you might want to lock it in place so that you don't accidentally move around e background so we can just move that to the back and command. Oh, and now it's locked. We can also rename shapes which is useful when you're dealing with a very complex design. So we can double click here on the ellipse in this case and just type in, you know, green shape or whatever you'd like. And whatever shape is selected here or multiple of them or from the Layers panel, we can now change its color over here on the top right section of the screen. Now you'll notice that there's actually two different options here. There's a doughnut, which represents the outline around the shape. And then there's the full circle, which represents the fill color. So if we want the Phil to be blue, then we'll make sure were selected on the full circle. And then we can choose a different blue that we like. And then we can click on the outline and change it to whatever color we want. Now you notice that the outline is quite small, so we can change that up here stroke, and then we can click on this button to change its size. Now, let me just say, I'm aware that this is a lot to take in, and I don't expect you to memorize every button and feature all at once. The idea here is just to give you a general sense of where everything is located on the interface because I think if you have a panel with 100 different buttons, it's kind of overwhelming, not to know in any way what they do, even if you only end up using, for the most part 10 or 20 of them. So let's continue with our tour of the interface. Now. A lot of these different buttons here the top are only available when we select one of our objects. So let's do that and let's explore what these do. So all of these are about aligning or different objects so we can select all of them and say we want them all to be aligned here at the top. Well, we can see this blue line is represents the alignment. So if we click that all of them will jump to the top, see? So all of them are lined up according to their fill right here. And you can play around with these. So, for example, thes space, the different objects out so we can put them like this. And if we want them to be spaced out, we can select all of them. I'll shift click this last one, since I can't reach it, and then we can distribute them equally vertically. And here are our different options, which basically do what we did earlier of moving the different layers around. So if we want to move one to the back or the front, we can click on it here or in the layers panel and then move it to the front or move it to the back or just move it forward one space or back one space. So notice what happens in the layer panel. As I click on these buttons. Over here, we have the different flip options so we can flip it, which you don't notice, because it is symmetrical where we can flip it the other way. What you just notice by the handle. But for example, if we rotate it, then you'll notice the difference, and then we can rotate it by 90 degrees in any different option. And these options here have to do with snapping. So that's a little bit more advanced, and we won't play around with these buttons quite yet. But to give you a general sense as we move these shapes around, you'll notice that they have these red and a green lines. Those air helping us a line are different objects together, but we won't get into that yet. Now, finally, here in the corner are five different options that have to do with compound shapes. And I would argue these are some of the most useful features in the entire application if you know how to use them. So let's talk about those in depth. So I brought in these three icons here to help illustrate why these five features in the top right corner are so fundamentally important. Now we're going to design each of these three ourselves, and we're going to start with the house. And you might be wondering, Well, how do we create a house shape when none of these shapes over here on the Left Tours panel look like a house? And that's the magic of those features. So if we break each of these down there, just combinations of these other basic shapes. So for the house, we just look at this will notice that, well, this is a triangle at the top, and this is a rectangle, and it's got another rectangle cut out of it. Well, that's pretty simple, right? So we can just choose the triangle, click and drag roughly here, and we've got some weirdness going on. What's happening is our stroke was turned on, so we'll turn that to know line style, and then we can just this. So I'll click the move tool and move this down just a bit. If you have any trouble with the snapping, then you can just use the arrow keys to move by just a little bit. We're good there. And so now we can move to our rectangle tool and click and drag that to create it. And let's set the opacity down a little bit so that we can see through it to create our other rectangle. And I'm gonna click command D to de select this shape so that we can create a new one. And now I'm going to just create this other shape. So if you were really in a pinch, then you could just set this shape to a white color and basically achieve the same effect that we're about to accomplish. But that doesn't really illustrate the usefulness of these tools. So bear with me. What we want to do is create a new shape based on these three shapes we have here. So, for example, let's imagine that our background is actually a greedy int and we wanted to show through this door here. Well, we can't show the same Grady int on the door, so we need it to be transparent, but just in this box. So now you see the dilemma. So, actually, when you do subtract this rectangle from this one, and the way that we do that is by clicking on the move tool and then selecting this one and this one, so we'll hold down our shift key. So now we've got both of them selected. You can see here on the layers panel, and then we go up here to the top, right? And it's this subtract button. Now the one that is subtracted from is the bottom layer. So because our white rectangle is on top, it will subtract from the blue rectangle below it. So that's correct. And now we'll click Subtract. Now you actually don't notice any difference visually because our background is white. But say we put something in the background, You can see that it actually shows through this rectangle here. So we have made a difference. And lastly, we want to combine this shape with this shape so we'll do the same thing So, like this one hold down shift and then select the second shape. Both are selected here in the layers panel, and now we can click, add. So now we have a new compound shape The looks exactly like we wanted to. So we did it. We've recreated the first shape. So the reason I chose this second instagram icon is that there's actually a bunch of different ways you could recreate this and achieve the same result. So we'll just choose one different way for variety than the way we did it the first time. And that is by creating outlines for all of these different shapes, with the exception of this circle, so we can zoom in a bit. And the first easy part is that obviously this is just a little circle that won't take much work. But for this one, we're gonna be creating an outline. In other words, a shape that has no Phil. But on Lee has an outline. Let's some command see to copy the shape and Command V so you can see a new shape appeared in the layers panel, and this is just to get you practice. You could just as easily have created a new circle here on the left side. And then we'll click to the move tool, and we will position this one where we want it. And I'm clicking and dragging this, and I'm actually holding down the shift and the command keys to make sure that it centered and stays proportional. So I'm moving into that white space and then we're actually gonna go up here and make it. No, Phil. So click on the Phil and then this little button sets it to be no Phil. So now, actually, it's a shape, but it has no filling. It has no outlined, so it's invisible. Still, command, See that move and then, for the outline will click on the doughnut and will change it to ah, whatever color. We want something different, and then we can change the stroke size. Remember here the top, and actually it's doing something funky so we can play around with where that outline is started. In this case, we wanted to start on the outside. I noticed that difference so we can play around until we get the results we want. Great. So we've got our 1st 2 shapes and the last one is actually a rectangle. So we will click the rectangle tool and we'll start here holding this shift key. Remember, Because we wanted to keep the square dimensions and we will move it a little bit to position that great. And the corner function up here allows us to kind of change the curvature. And ah, was just set this to that same read that were just used. So I'm clicking the swatches, changing it to to be the fill. And then this has all of our recent colors. So we've already recently used that color. So for consistency, we'll click on that. And now we've achieved our second shape. Hooray! Now this last icon gets a little bit tricky, And that's because you can't just add in some track to the existing shapes to reach this result, at least not in an easy way. So the purpose of this is to show you how to create custom shapes, and we're not gonna create this entire shape just for the interest of time. But we're going to start on this base so you can see how custom shapes are designed. So in this case, we just need a starting shape, so we can really choose any of these. But I'm gonna choose the lips tool, and the reason for that is sometimes you can notice that although the shapes pretty different from any of these, for example, there's no triangle, and none of them look like a rectangle or a rounded rectangle or even a circle too much. There are some individual shapes that you comptel within the larger one, so here there's obviously a circle going on. So let's start with that. All we need to do is just start with some kind of shape, so I'll create the circle there, put it in place, and this is where the custom shape begins. Now what we're going to do is start editing the points of this circle to change its shape into something unique. And to do that, we need to tell affinity designer that we wanted to show us the points that create the shape so that we can start editing them. So all we have to do is click the shape and then go up to convert to curves, and now we can click on the no tool, and the no tool effectively shows us the different points that create the shape, so the shape itself did not change yet. But we can start to change it now that we have thes shapes. So actually, I'm going to rotate this event that the bottom point is directed in the way that we want it . Then go back to the no tool, and then you can see that I can actually click and drag. And just like a shape, I could click and drag to select multiple nodes, in fact, and just a bit of terminology. Thes points are called nodes, so if you see that in the interface, that's what that means. And so I can click and drag on this node, for example. Move it where I want it to be, and then these two handles on the side allow me to change the curve so you can see that I'm matching the curve, and you can click and drag anywhere on this line to create a new node. And in fact, you can option click one of the handles to remove it entirely so that there is no curve. It's just a direct line, and you can just keep on adding more nodes, adjusting their curves, the leading them and so on until you achieve that end result. And that's how you create a custom shape using nodes. Now I know this video is getting a bit long, but before we end this particular lesson, the last thing I want to go over is text, because that's something you're certainly going to need to create thumbnails. And this, luckily, is pretty simple. There are two text options here on the A button, and the one that you'll probably working with is the basic one, which is called the artistic text tool. And it works just like any other shape. You select that tool, and then you just click and drag to create it, and then at the top, we can change its properties. So if we click the move tool to select all of the text, then we can move it around, rotated like any other shape, and we can change the font. And, of course, all of these different options. The cool thing you can do is select your text and then converted to curves. Now we ran out of room for the convert to curve button here, but the easy way to do it is holding down command return, and that turns it into a group of shapes. We can ungroomed it with command shift G. Now we have each letter as an individual curve, and we could edit these just like any other shape by going into the no tool and clicking and dragging around. And this is useful for style izing text or doing anything custom that you want with it. Now, once you change it to a curve, you can't change it back to text, so make sure you type in whatever you want. Before you converted to curves, let me just say again that this stuff takes practice. So before you begin the next video in which will go over some or advanced techniques, take a while maybe an hour, to even to just monkey around and have something in mind that you want to create a good place to start is a simple icon shape and then try to recreate it and just play around with the interface because that firsthand practice is necessary to achieve that mastery level which results in good thumbnails. So get some practice and I'll see you in the next video 5. Advanced Design: welcome back. So in the last video we went over some of the basics of affinity designer, and you may have finished that lesson thinking that there's so much more to learn. You can look at the interface and see all of the different tools and buttons and aspects that we haven't covered yet and think that you're just at the very beginning. But I'm here to tell you that that's not true, that that first video is enough to get started just knowing how to manipulate and create and add and subtract from shapes and add text. That's enough to get you most of the way there, and everything else is more advanced. And I say that just to encourage you, that everything you're doing past that point is something extra that will help make your videos even that much better. So in this video, we're gonna go over some of the more advanced features and tools building off the stuff that we've already covered. So I'll proceed with the assumption that you've had some time to practice in between the last video and this one, and if you haven't, that's OK, but I would strongly encourage you to pause this video, open up, affinity designer or whatever other application you're using and just practice playing with a different tools that shapes everything we've covered and just generally get to the point where you feel comfortable creating a new document and designing something pretty basic. Now, as you could probably tell, I left out teaching you some of the other tools and details of the application, just in the interest of not overwhelming you. But this video is intended to be kind of a hodgepodge of the things that we didn't cover in the last video that I think would be useful and introducing you. And it's worth noting that we won't cover everything, because I'm trying to balance giving you enough information to get started, but also making it accessible and not too much all at once. So with that in mind, let's open up affinity designer and go over some of the other different features. All right, so the first thing I've pulled up is one of my previous thumbnails, and this video was about the S a. T. The exam that Americans take to get into college, and the filming was designed to look like one of those answer sheets. And as part of that, I wanted to recreate a paper texture to make the background look ever so slightly like a piece of paper. So it's kind of subtle, and if you zoom out, it's not quite as a parent, but in the background. If we zoom in, you can see that there's a subtle texture going on. And that's something that you might want to do in your designs, not necessarily for a piece of paper, but just to texture the background. So I've pulled up a blank canvas here and before we can place that texture, you want to find it online. Some of them will be images. Some of them will be vectors. But you just wanted Google or wherever you find your images, search for paper texture or sand, texture or desk texture. And then we'll go down to the bottom left and click on the place Image tool. And now we can choose that image and place it on our canvas. So in this case, I'm going for kind of 1/2 tone look that you'll see sometimes in like a retro poster or something, and I'm just going to align it on the canvas and our command elta lock it in place. And then really, all of the magic happens right here in the layers panel and you change it from normal to whatever opacity style fits best. So you can just hover your cursor over all these different options. Many of them don't seem to have much effect on this particular design. But you're just picking something that looks the way you want it to and all of these air just playing around with how this layer interacts with the layers below it. So in this case, that rectangle background and then we can play around with the opacity of it further. And, um, if you have some kind of shape or design in the background, so just as an example will place this here and then you put it that layer below your textured, you can see the texture layer applies on top of it. And if we change that style, you can see that it will have a different effect. So, for example, on saturation, it won't change the background in this case, but it will change the shape, so just play around until you get the desired effect. And then we're done. Another random thing that you might want to do is play with the actual shape of the thumbnail. So, for example, you might want to create something like a rounded rectangle as your background the size of the canvas, change the corner and then pretend like that is the shape of your thumb now will not, including anything on those corners. You could also do a page curl, for example, as if it's an actual piece of paper. So for that I'll create a rectangle copy and paste it and turn it. And one of about to do is subtract this top rectangle, which I'm about to turn blue from the white one to create that triangle that we want. So, for example, this white could be the space that we're pretending is below or beneath this actual thumbnail. And then we can create the page curl effect by rotating that one. And you know, we can choose something, maybe a little bit darker, to simulate the back of the page and then switch to R no tool. Click on this one and then and those handles. And actually, if you hold down the option key while you move a handle, it doesn't affect the other one. So right now, if I click and move it, the other one moves to adjust a curve to make it smooth. But instead, if I hold the option key, then I can move this one independently and make it look like the pages being turned. And I can click on the special effects and maybe make a outer shadow for the background so that it looks like, uh, its three d and then placed this on top of it. So that's a page curl effect. And while we're on that subject, it's worth noting that that effects panel it's really useful. It's really worth just checking out and playing around with. You can do all sorts of fun stuff. You can create a shadow, an inner shadow and outer glow, and so on. All of these things are generally to make the object in question. Mawr three D If you ever want to incorporate some kind of image off the Internet, but you find that the background is white or black, and you want to just isolate the actual object in the photo by itself and I'll show you what I mean by that in a second. Then I'll show you how to do that, because this is probably something of a common situation. So just as before, we can click, place, image, and in this case I'm using a picture of a watch. Then click and drag to place that image. And we don't want this white space around the watch. That's what I mean. So if we use that opacity tool like before, then we can actually use it to isolate the white background. So try each of these until yet the effect that you intend. But for example, if I remove the background, you can see that the linear of burn so it's a few others accomplish basically what we're going for without that white background, Here's something else that might be helpful. In the last video we talked about how if you have two or more shapes, you can add and subtract them. So, for example, if I just want the middle part of this triangle shape here that I can create this new shape , have made it blue here to distinguish it and then place it over the the Star and then so like them both. And then click on this button, for example, to just get the middle button so that we've created a new compound shape from two of them. But something else that you might want to do is that exact same thing for an image or a group of shapes, and in that case it's a little bit more complicated and you have to use something called Masks and masks are basically telling affinity designer that you only want to selectively see part of an image or a group of shapes. So let's put this in more concrete terms. So sometimes I work with a flag in my videos, but I just want to show part of a flag, like, in this case, the circular part of this flag. So let's import using the place image, function a new flag and say, I just want to show this middle part. So what I can do is instead of subtracting or adding or multiplying with these functions, is actually to use a mask. So in this case, I'll create a new circle just because I want it to be a circle and I'll place it here in the middle and you can see in the layers panel. The blue ellipse is in the front and the flag is in the back so I can select the blue Ellipse and then I can drag it over the flag. But just to the right of where that preview shows so you can see just barely that little blue line appears. And when that appears, I can let go. And now you can see I'm applying this'll, which is called a mask. Which is to say that the image is cut and Onley shown where that cheap waas. So let's rewind and do that again this time maybe with a different shape, just as an example. So I will create a star and place it right in the middle. And then I'm just clicking and dragging that star in the layers panel over the Macau over the flag and just to the right of it, not below it, not above it, but just to the right. And there we go. And you can do that to all sorts of images or groups. So you can see I've done that here. Ah, the full. If I delete this mask, you can see that there's an entire flag there, but I've just taken a circle, and I've just selectively shown it like that. So that's a useful tool that you can use for all kinds of different things. A few other random things is there is a great ingredient function in affinity designer. So if you select a shape or any group of shapes, then you can click and drag to create a new ingredient. And you can choose whether it's linear or elliptical or radio and so on, and that just affects how the ingredient is distributed. And if you click on this square or rectangle rather on the top while you have the radiant tool selected, then you can click on each end of the spectrum of colors and adjust it how you see fit and just play around with that. You can even change the opacity so you can get all kinds of cool effects. So two more ideas I'll mention in this video just to give you a starting place to practice on your own. The first is custom text paths, so imagine you have a custom shape like this one or, for that matter, any shape, and you want your text to follow the path of the outline of that shape. So this is kind of a bad example, because we probably wouldn't want text to follow this weird shape. But you can imagine a situation where, for example, the pages curved in some way, and you want the text to follow that curve for decoration, so you can click on that shape that you want the text to follow its path and then click layer at the top and then convert to text path So it's kind of a hidden feature, but once you start typing there, it will follow the path of whatever shape you had selected. And these triangles allow you to change the start and end positions and move that around to your heart's desire. And the last idea is the pen tool and the vector brush tool. So both of these things kind of accomplish the same thing. But in different ways. The pen tool allows you to click and add a new node to a new custom shape so you can just make something random and new, and then it just gets treated as any other shape. It can change its food and outline and so on. And this is useful, especially if you're trying to trace some kind of object. So if you want to recreate something, then you can import it into affinity designer, lock it, change its opacity down a bit, and then just click to kind of follow his path and recreate that shape yourself. Another thing you can do on that note is the vector brush tool here, and that is basically the same thing as the pen tool. But it's a smooth curve, so it's like you're drawing on the screen, like with a stylist, for example, so you can adjust the width and the opacity and make it more stables of the curves or smoother. And I use this in my videos to simulate a pen. So, for example, if I'm trying to cross something out on screen, then I'll use the vector brush tool and then cross out like this. And then can I just adjust it toe where it looks exactly like I want it? So that's kind of a handy feature, and without will end this advanced design video again, just like last video, I'd encourage you to take what we've just talked about. Apply it to something more concrete on your own, and then come join us in the next video with that new understanding. 6. Complete Walkthrough: From Blank Canvas to Finished Thumbnail: welcome back. So at this point in the course, I want to step back and take a moment to reflect on everything we've learned thus far. We started by breaking down what exactly makes a thumbnail good. And we gave examples from current channels. And then we moved on to some of the details of how to use affinity designer as well as some graphic design concepts more generally. But I'm aware that a lot of the different things we've covered might feel kind of separate or independent and that you might not have the confidence yet Toe actually apply these lessons and make a great thumbnail. So this video is about piecing together all of these disparate parts into one cohesive process to show you from start to finish what the process actually looks like in concrete terms. So I've pulled up a thumbnail that I made in the past. This is kind of an older thumb now, but I think it turned out pretty well and it's ah, fairly simple, but effective, I hope, and that makes it a little bit easier to break down. However, in the interest of showing you how this was created, we're going to forget that we saw this and pretend that we're starting a new from the very beginning the brainstorm process. And I'm gonna talk to you about what the thinking process was to actually come up with this idea, and then we'll open up affinity designer and design it. So by the end of this video, we will start from a blank canvas and we will recreate this very thumbnail. So let's get started. Okay, so I've pulled up a note pad here and again. We're just going to be brainstorming from the very beginning. What are some good ideas for what the thumb now could look like? Pretending again that we don't already know how this eventually turns out. And so let's start by reminding ourselves what actually makes a good thumb Now. We created a list earlier in this course, so let's just remind ourselves of what that looked like. So the first thing we decided was striking visuals. So it has to be something that will catch your eye. The second thing was consistency. So it has to be consistent with the other video thumbnails that we have something that people would recognize as our video. The third thing would be relevance. So it has to be something that is related to the video topic, and the fourth thing is scalability. And of course, this just means that whether the thumb now is small or large, it will be readable and understandable as to what it is. So this is a good starting point. So this video is about North Korea's economy. We know that. And of course, in any discussion of North Korea, what people most commonly associated with is the leader, Kim Jong Eun, as well as nuclear war. So those two things might play a role in our thumbnail. And let's combine what we just said, which is the topic with those four factors that we talked about just now. So consistency we can kind of disregard for now because we're not designing a brand strategy here. We're just designing one thumbnail, so we'll set that aside for now. But the other ones so striking visuals. We want something that will catch people's eye. And I'm immediately thinking there should be some kind of nuclear weapon involved, like maybe a ah, maybe the bomb itself, or like an explosion. So I'm gonna write explosion off to the side, and I don't know how that will be incorporated yet. But again, we're just brainstorming and explosion would catch people's eyes pretty well for relevance . Like I said, I think we'll incorporate the leader in some way. So maybe a a recreation of vector graphic of the leader, past or present, just in some recognisable way and for scalability. You want to keep everything pretty big, and that probably means like a world map in the background or a big picture of Kim Jong Eun or something that everyone will be able to see from afar, even if it's small. Okay, so we have those ideas, and as you think about this, hopefully some other things will just pop up in your head. There is no methodology, necessarily. Just that your brain automatically comes up with stuff, of course. So we want a world map in the background because this is kind of a global issue, and we want a an explosion again. So maybe an explosion in the background and I'm thinking for the leader could be like a statue that will probably fill most of the space. Oh, another idea real quick is like a grid like a military grid pattern, which kind of like people associate with war and maybe, like a green or bright red War kind of color that will catch your eye. But also you associate would like emergencies or war. So now we kind of know what is going to look like, and we just want to know kind of where in the scene with all of that take place. So imagine there's, like a grid batter in the background and we're gonna have, like, a leader statue here and ah, the background will be, will be read and then we want, like, our title in the top left corner. This something like that. Hopefully you've already determined this by the time you get to this point. So in my case, my channel often has this ah title in the top left corner. So we already have that. And that's kind of the branding element. And actually, in this corner kind of behind the title, we can have the North Korean flag, so we'll incorporate that and we can kind of, like, faded in so it kind of like fades away as it moves towards the center and we went like all eyes on this statue. So we might have, like, a star in the background toe emphasize this part. You knows we have a lot of space to the left and right, So maybe, like some other people who are saluting him And I think that will basically take up the entire space. So Oh, yeah, and the branding element. So we will have the Poly matter p here in the bottom left corner. And what else really missing the nuclear explosion. So we could maybe have that, like, right here in the background in this unused space, I think people's eyes kind of naturally go towards the corners. So by having like the North Korean flag here and the poly matter branding here and then like a nuclear explosion here, we've covered all of our bases. Now we kind of know what it's going to look like, and we're ready to move on to the actual design stage. Okay, so I've opened up affinity designer, and we're going to open a new document year thumbnail size and again start with the blank canvas and we'll reference this thumbnail so that we know what we're going for. And the first thing. Let's start with the background. So I generally, like toe work from the background to the foreground. So for the grid, remember that we can do custom lines. And so the fastest way probably is just to use the pen tool click. And then if you hold down the shift key, it allows you to move by just one access. So I'm actually moving my finger down into the right or to the left, but it just moves straight down, so I'll do it off screen there. So you can see I have a one line of this grid. Now copy both of those and paste, and we'll just repeat this. Okay, Now copy and paste again and rotate it to get the other side and then make it long here. Okay, Great. I don't like how it's just kind of cut off on the corner, so I'm gonna command a to select everything soon out of it. Okay. Cool. And I'm actually going to command G what she means. Everything that I just selected is turned into a group here in the layers panel. Because, really, this is just acting is one thing, which is our grid. So just piece it together for convenience. And now, in the stroke panel, we can kind of play around with how thick we want it to be. Okay, so we've got our grid done, and actually, we want it to be semi transparent, just kind of in the background there. And it looks like we're going for kind of a red color. So let's ah, bright red color. So I'll make a new rectangle the size of the background. 01 more thing just for convenience is I'm going to right click on grid layer and exclude from snapping because we just created a ton of different lines and we don't want any object to snap to those lines. So I'm gonna move the rectangle to the last layer. So it's in the very, very background, and we're gonna find some kind of red that works for us. I think we picked kind of a darker red, so it looks like ours is a little bit brighter. Okay, so the way we did it is by having a shadow on the edge. So we've got that color, and we might want adjust it later. But for now, what we can do is copy and paste this rectangle, put it on the top and then we're gonna set it to have no Phil, but only an outline. So a black outline make it bigger. Maybe about that big. See, what we're going for is kind of a shadow coming out of the corner, and then we're going to change the opacity a bit. And in the effects panel, turn on the blur and just blurt a bit so you can see it kind of turns into, like a shadow as we do that cool. So you see how starting to come together, just keep playing with it until you get the desired effect. Cool. And, ah, next we have the world map. So for a lot of these different things, it would be super time consuming to, like, trace a world map. So actually, I downloaded these off the Internet, and I would encourage you any time you want to use something that's too complex, that would take like, hours and hours. So download those off the Internet. Of course, be careful that you're allowed to use them. But there's lots of resource is online. And in my case, I've downloaded some. So I've opened all the files here, and we're gonna just extract them as we see fit. But some of these you actually could make yourself pretty simply like this one. You could get a photo of a person saluting and then just trace it using the pen tool, for example. So you don't necessarily need to download stuff off the Internet. But in the interest of time, we will. And so will start with the world map. And I just found this online, and we just want to extract the map itself. All right, so I'll copy that map or to the other tab here and make it a bit bigger holding down the shift in command keys while I do that to keep the proportions right Said to a black. And I believe we haven't kind of like a darker color like that. Something like that, right? Right. So it's already is coming together pretty well, and I'm gonna move that underneath the shadow effect and let's just check in how we're doing here. Let's start with the flag. So the flag is gonna be simple, cause we just downloaded this off of the Internet. So I'm going to select everything, copy it and paste it over here. Command G to group it and rotated a bit. So we're just gonna put it here in the corner and a tool that we didn't talk about. But it's so simple that we don't necessarily need to is the opacity tool So clicking on this glass here will allow you on any layer that you have selected to click and drag just like the ingredient tool, But to affect the transparency so you could do something like this. What else? So let's do the title and the branding element. So what we've got here is a rounded rectangle with no outline and a dark shape dark color rather. And this is very imprecise because we're going for speed here, and we'll just the corner radiance to something like this. And let's ah, start adding text just to get that frame, change that to white, get a bit smaller. Let's check in how we're doing here. So I'm going to select the text now that we know for sure what it's going to say and command return, turn it into a group of shapes and then command shift G to ungroomed it so that I can group separately the top line selected command G and do the same for the bottom. So now we have them independently, and I'm going to center this text on the top here so I can select both of them and then use thes align tools so line vertically and then are aligned horizontally to put it in the middle very easily and down at the bottom. We have another one here, and actually we are snapping to the map. So I'm going to exclude that from snapping. So now we're going to move that, and we wanted to be a line, so I'm actually going to create a rectangle just for the purposes of aligning it. So it's the size of this rectangle on each side just for reference. Cool. Got that. And we actually want it to not be rounded rectangles here on these corners. So the way we do that is selecting both rectangles and command, returning just as before, and you'll notice that in the layers panel it goes from a rounded rectangle, which is just a curve, and remember that allows us to edit the curve. So if we go into the no tool. Now we can start to play around with these and remember a few option click a note. It goes away, stops being curved. So do that on both sides. And likewise for this one, I'll select the tax to use the color picker to get that same block. Okay, cool. Very rough approximation here. Okay, we got that. And I'm going to select the two rectangles. Actually used the effects panel to give them a outer shadow. Kind of give it a three d effect. So it might be kind of subtle, but if I toggle that back and forth, you see that it really adds something, because now the title is kind of above the rest. What else are we missing? The logo. I'm not going to recreate that. So I'm gonna copy and paste it over, and we're basically doing the same thing as the rectangle down here. And, of course, I encourage you to use your own branding elements. Right. So don't just ah, put your logo in the same place in the corner in a circle because that's gonna look a lot like mine. And I would encourage you to do your own thing developed something unique for your branding . But this is, ah, useful as a point of reference. Hopefully. So figure out how to show your logo in some kind of creative way, and we'll select all of this to center it on the screen. See, that red line is showing us that it centered. And I always like to select and command g to just group stuff for the sake of keeping things simple in the layers panel. There we go. And I'm going to lock the flag and lock the map and lock the grid and backgrounds that we don't accidentally move those and this one. Okay, so it kind of got the framework here. We want to work on some of the details. We've got a nuclear bomb in the background. Let's add that we want just the explosion, so we will paste that in. And he's the color picker to give it a similar color. Maybe a little bit darker or this is a layer. So we're going to select all of that. Move it out of the layer, delete the layer. Now we have individual objects. You can see they're all separate, and we want this to act. We're gonna group that act is one object, and this tact is another. So we can kind of play around with how these look will move these around. Yes, something like that. And now we've got the biggest thing. Here is the focal point. So we have this Kim statue I downloaded off the internet. But I don't like the color, actually. So I changed that. And I don't like these little spots, so actually got rid of those. So I'm just clicking, dragging, selecting and deleting this stuff I don't like. And now you can see we have a a bunch of different objects. But basically, since we're gonna do two colors the darker color in the lighter color, we want to select all of the darker color so that we can group it and treat it as one thing . Okay, someone, a command G, and then the rest will select and then de select just that darker part and group that. So now we have two groups you can see and we're going to copy and paste thes into our design. So we had something like this and we want to change it to kind of a yellow gold. And actually, I really like the gold I picked before someone tried toe. Recreate that somewhat. Okay says something like that. And for the back layer, let's add that three d effect as before. So we're adding an out of shadow. Give it more of a three D effect and you can see I did a shadow coming off of the back. And there's a couple of ways you can do that. But the simple way is just a copy and paste the same shape. And on the 2nd 1 well, first of all, we'll get rid of the shadow and we'll just give it like a dark black color and move it kind of down. And then we will change its opacity toe look like a shadow. So something like that close enough and we have these stars coming out of the background. So let's look at that. So I'm clicking and holding on the star tool, which gives us a bunch of other different options. Looks like we're using something like the double star tool, so I will put that in behind him in the layers panel and has all these different options here and we had kind of like a bigger one. And the last thing really is thes people, and that's gonna be pretty easy. So I just found these and I just got rid of the outline. I'm going to select the people, move them into our documents, make them a bit smaller again. Reminder. I am making them smaller, but keeping the proportion by holding down command and shift. And now it's just a matter of arranging them. And from here, we can just give them. I think I gave them, Yeah, kind of a dark red color. And right now they don't look great. And that's why I added the white outline. So I have them selected and I'm just going up to stroke and increasing that outline. And I also gave them a shadow. I remember so increased the radius something like that. Cool. So that is kind of the short, quick and dirty version of how I made that thumbnail. You can hopefully see the design process. And of course it takes a lot longer than that. So don't think that making a thumbnail is that easy. My intention is more to show you the process more than anything and ah no, that actually making it took a lot longer. In fact, I usually reserve at least one full day on just the thumbnail. That's how long it takes because you'll make mistakes. You'll try different things. I think at one point I had the bomb as the focal point of the thumbnail, and I decided that it would be better to have this Kim Il Sung statue. So I played around with a lot of things. And of course you will, too. And that's OK. And don't think this happens super quickly. There's a lot of just playing around with things, trying different versions and seeing what works, what doesn't. And in the next video, we'll get into some of the mistakes that are easy to make, and we'll talk about how to avoid them and then will be almost to the end of this course. So get some practice and we'll see you in the next video 7. Mistakes to Avoid: welcome back. So in this lesson, we're going to cover some of the most common mistakes that people make when creating thumbnails. Now, I'm so glad you made it this far because in my opinion, this particulary lesson is the most valuable in this entire course. These are the kinds of mistakes that people make over and over and over again, not knowing that they're doing them. And it cost them a ton of viewers. But these are not complicated things. They're really quick fixes once you know you're doing them. So actually, I would encourage you to write these down. If you want to go that extra mile. And as you're making a thumbnail, ask yourself. Did I violate any of thes rules? I really want these mistakes to stick in your brain so that you never make them. But I also don't want to call anyone out or make anyone a bad example. So I'm going to talk about thes in general ways. But I've also recreated six of my past thumbnails, change them a bit and then we'll show them side by side to see which one is better. How these mistakes make the thumbnail worse and give you something concrete toe learn from . So let's see some of those examples. Here's the 1st 1 and whether you've seen this video or the thumbnail or not does not really matter. Just look at the thumbnail. Try and see if you can figure out what is wrong with this picture, and I'll give you a minute to think about that. Now. This one was was pretty easy. So if you guessed small text, you are correct. On the left is the version of the thumbnail that I released, and on the right is a version I recreated with smaller text. And the reason this mistake is so common is that you're probably going to be designing the thumbnail full screen on your laptop or computer. And then YouTube is going to make it really small to show to people on the side bar or in their feeds. Or imagine someone sees your tiny thumbnail on their already small phone that the mail is gonna be really small in absolute terms. So make sure the text is big enough that people can see it no matter what screen they're looking at. All right, moving on. Here's another one. Take a moment to think about what is going wrong here, and you might notice a pattern, and that is text. In this case, there's just too much of it. And text tends to be the most common source of problems for thumbnails, either. How it's laid out, how much of it there is, what the color is stuff like that. So it needs to be very clear in a moment's notice in the case of the right thumb. Now that's a full sentence. And if you're having trouble coming up with that shortened version like the one I use on the left, will then write out the full version, like on the right, and then pick it apart until you can get the most crucial elements and then reproduce that for the thumbnail. And one extra step you can take is try to introduce some visual variety and emphasized the important parts by maybe making it capitalized or bigger or a different color. All right, here's 1/3 thumbnail, and, of course, your mind is immediately going to say this is black and white, but I'll give you a hint. That is not the main problem here. There's nothing wrong with black and white thumbnails. But there is a problem with this specific version, and the answer is there is not enough contrast. So there's no problem, Like I said, with having just a couple colors, keeping it simple. But there isn't enough contrast or difference to tell every element of the thumb now apart . So, for example, the text doesn't really look distinct from the rest of the image, and my logo doesn't really look distinct. Nothing is really grabbing your attention. It all just looks kind of the same. And more specifically, the text actually is hard to tell, apart from some of the other elements. So the rectangle behind the words solved kind of blends in with the protractor behind it. So that's problematic. And for some thumbnails, contrast is so low that you can't actually even read the text. So obviously that's a huge problem. Here's another example, and in this case, what you're seeing right here is the thumbnail I officially used for this video. But in hindsight, I recognize that I did make one big mistake here to see if you can spot the theme of what's going wrong here, and the answer is there's too much going on, and where does that come from? Well, there's this temptation to kind of fill every empty space with elements. So in the left case, you can see that any time there was a little bit of background showing, I just put a new element, a cloud or ratched or sparkle to just fill up that space. But it's a little bit too much all at once, especially when the thumbnail is small. So on the right. I just cleaned it up a bit and made it a little bit more obvious. What's going on is a little bit easier on the eyes, so don't be afraid to leave empty space. Empty space can tell a lot, and it could be very useful moving along. This one I gave you kind of a hint, and you probably noticed the time stamp on the bottom right corner. And this is a super common mistake, and the reason that people make it is that you make the thumbnail and then you to puts the time stamp of the video right here on the bottom right corner. You don't even think about that until after it's uploaded, and then it covers whatever is in that corner. So the lesson is, don't place anything important or anything small in the bottom right corner, because it will just get over laid on top of. So in this case, I originally put the Chinese flag design in the bottom right corner. But the time stamp completely hides it. So you don't even know what that red thing is in the corner. And finally, we have 1/6 mistake. This one again should be pretty obvious. And that's kind of the point, these red arrows and circles that you see all over YouTube. Personally, I think that it comes from people trying to stand out to get attention. But if you really need an arrow or a circle or some kind of big element on top of your design, probably your design was not obvious enough in the first place. Probably there wasn't enough visual distinction, or you weren't drawing people's eyes in as it already waas. So I think if you're drawn to use those kinds of elements like an arrow, stop right there and say, Why is the arrow necessary and then fix that problem? And actually a secondary problem is that everyone has started to do this. You see these red arrows all over YouTube, and so they don't really stand out anymore. There's just so many of them that they actually blend in by trying to stand out. So don't make that mistake now. I want to end this video with something actionable that you can use, and that is a website called Thumbs up dot TV. It's a really simple interface. You just click, and you can add your thumbnail that you've designed and then type in a title for it. And then it will show you exactly how your thumbnail and title will look like when they're uploaded to YouTube. So you can get a sense of, for example, how small it will be shown and whether your title will fit in YouTube's user interface or whether it will get truncated. So this is a super useful, entirely freeing no ad service. I use it myself. I would encourage you to as well. All right, that's gonna be it for this lesson. 8. Testing Your Thumbnails: for the final time in this course, welcome back. And in this last video we're going to talk about getting feedback. And in the end, thumbnails are designed to catch other people's attention, not the creators. So ask those other people and don't assume what you think is visually appealing or striking will be so for other people. Now it's true that if you have other friends who are creators or you know someone who works in graphic design, their feedback might be more specific and actionable. But that's not to say that their feedback is more important than anyone who you could ask. In my opinion, family and friends are Justus, good of a source because ultimately it's about how the image catches their eye and that can come from anyone, anyone who's feedback. You trust anyone who will give you their honest thoughts. That's good enough. Now there's a completely different school of thought, which I'm not sure I completely subscribed to, but I think it's worth bringing up, which is that people don't always give the best feedback, not because they don't want to, but because they literally can't. People might give bad feedback on accident because they don't understand the criteria on which people actually choose thumbnails to click. So they might say, Oh, this one looks really aesthetically pleasing. I like the way it looks. But in fact, when it shows up in people's subscription boxes, they choose the one that's the most flashy or the brightest color. So just be aware of that. Some people take it a step further and say, Actually, I'm going to disregard any kind of feedback, and I'm just going to see how people actually click in the real world so they do some kind of a B test. That's kind of the great thing about YouTube is that it gives you an insane amount of data . It will tell you what operating system people are using, where in the world they're viewing, for how long they're viewing. There's all kinds of data that YouTube shows in the Creator Studio analytics section, so be sure to check that out. What some people will do is religiously check these metrics once a video is released, and if it's not performing as well as they expected, views wise, they will change the thumbnail what you can do as many times as you want to something else , and if that doesn't do well enough while then they'll switch to 1/3 thumbnail and repeat, and some people will go back to the 1st 1 But you get the idea, so that is one option. That's one strategy. If you're more of the analytic type and you're okay, creating multiple thumbnails, well, you can switch them out and see which one works and then stick with whichever one performs best. And that's not for everyone. Personally, I prefer to ask people explicitly. But there's different strategies here and to each their own. And with that, we conclude this course, thank you so much for taking it. I really, really, sincerely hope it was useful for you because I can remember when I first started out YouTube. There's a long period of no views, just kind of flat line with no feedback, and that could be very discouraging. So if nothing else, I hope this course gave you some amount of confidence or motivation to get started. Keep going and practice. I wish you all the best in creating your own channel if you haven't already. I welcome your feedback for how to make this course better. And consider this course page a friendly place to post your thumbnails as you work and practice on them. Get feedback and find fellow creators, So thank you.