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What is a thumbnail and how is it used

What is a thumbnail and how is it used

Updated:  Jul 12, 2024
Created:  Oct 23, 2023
Time to read:  4 min

Back in the days, the only way to find a particular subject was to look for a specific topic and read the text. With the invention of video content, we got a visual representation of what we are looking for but at the same time that appears to be not the simplest way to save time and get what you require, especially in 2023 as there is plenty of those on the net. Thumbnails become a feature that helps with that, and today we are going to talk what is thumbnails the way it works and give you tips on how to create one on your own.

What is a miniature?

A miniature is a way to name thumbnails before the term invention. It came into existence for still images being the reference to the human thumbnail that you would use describing an image of small size. Miniature was invented in the 17th century as a way to refer to images of a small size.

What are miniatures used for?

A thumbnail, also known as miniature is an image that is used on a video on different social media that hopefully gives you an insight into what that video is going to be about and maybe encourages you to click on it and watch. So, when you upload a video onto a social media platform it will originally generate a thumbnail to partially show what is inside. Usually, that is a still image taken of a random moment from your video because that is coded to happen. Thumbnails that are generated automatically are not giving any actual hint to the viewer and this is why we recommend creating custom thumbnails. Making thumbnails is a very common routine for YouTube content, now let us see how you do that on that video hosting platform.

How to YouTube thumbnail?

Making thumbnails for YouTube content is essential as the effort you put into that miniature image would describe the content for those who live in a fast-paced world and scroll the feed until something catches their eye. A well-made miniature could place your video into trends as approved viewers' engagement by clicking ratio. So, how to make a thumbnail for YouTube?

As you start uploading a video it will offer you to drag and drop your thumbnail image on top in the following sections where you set up the content among the other options. So that you need to create and prepare the image first to make use of it. For that people usually go to Photoshop where the presented tools are enough to do anything image-related. Typically, you need to have a background image that reflects upon the content highlighting uniqueness, and some colorful text that includes the main subject of your video and is big enough to be seen in a miniature as well.

What is a thumbnail and how is it used — Photo №1

Download thumbnail YouTube

As you have made your thumbnail, you can download it with your video with no problems and see it in YT studio or on your channel’s main page. Creating YouTube thumbnails on your own might be overwhelming which is why people look for simple solutions in this regard. Convenient apps are now available so that is a matter of choice at this point. Let us see what useful apps are out there on the market!

Different applications for thumbnails

You can use a specific application your thumbnail maker for YouTube. As such we have collected in the following list.

What is a thumbnail and how is it used — Photo №2

Canva – is a good way to add thumbnails as they also have YT templates to create them. You simply put YouTube in Canva’s search bar and see what they offer. This is how you can start before you learn how to create it on your own. However, there is an option to create one from scratch by yourself.

Instagram – here you can take a photo of yourself and then adjust it in accordance with the thumbnail format for YT. Then you want to download some text asset from Google Photos in PNG format to have it with a transparent background to add to the main picture. To add that you go to Instagram again, swipe up, and look for that downloaded image to apply.

Adobe Express – here you will find premium features of Canva but for free to create your custom thumbnail with a lot of tools that are very intuitive to use. Just click Custom size graphic → Popular → YouTube thumbnail → Next, which puts you on the editing screen.


Making a YT video is a waste if you do not have a great thumbnail for it, because people are not going to click o your videos. And if you want to increase the click-through rate of your videos you want to make great, clean, and clickable thumbnails. Create one on your own or use the list of applications we have presented for that. And also, do not forget to fill your videos with effects and transitions to attract more viewers!



IT entrepreneur and co-founder of VJump. His passion is travel photography, within which, he has already visited 75 countries. Photos taken during his travels are actively posted on his social networks. For example, his Instagram account has more than 1 million followers.
In addition, his documentary short film Terra del Fuego was awarded more than 30 international awards and certificates at film festivals worldwide.

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