Your free checklist to design more delightful YouTube thumbnails. Created by Nate Kadlac, founder of Approachable Design and the 80/20 Design Challenge. Subscribe to my Sunday newsetter here.

Start Here

Assemble Design Kit

Prepare Assets

Make Smart Design Decisions

Don’t do this

Design Resources


<aside> 👉 Build your design kit in Figma | View YouTube thumbnail presentation


🎯 Start here

Creating great thumbnails always start with a good idea. Ideally, you should have the idea and title picked before you start shooting.

Plan twice. Shoot once.

First, brainstorm thumbnail ideas using these 3 steps:

  1. Brainstorm 5 compelling story points from your video. It could be a question, story, topic, or something the guest said. These will act as separate potential ideas for thumbnails. Get specific.
  2. Write out 5 potential titles from these ideas with a max of 54 characters. (Longer titles can perform well, but will get truncated on mobile)
  3. Pick the most interesting title idea and use the design checklist below.
  4. BONUS: Take pictures related to your idea you might use for your thumbnails. It’s much more difficult to use low quality screenshots from your video.

Steps to Designing a thumbnail

1. Assemble your design kit

<aside> ☝ Your design kit is your starting point. It contains the fonts, colors, textures, icons, and motifs you use when you start a new project for you or your business.


2. Prepare your design assets

3. Make smart design decisions

🛑 Don’t Do This

🎨 Design Resources for non-designers

❓ FAQs