YouTube Thumbnails are 80% Strategy 20% Design

Thumbnail strategy system - How to come up with your thumbnails strategy.

Step 1 - ALWAYS find videos other creators have made around the topic you want to talk about and save the thumbnail images that have picked up lots of views to a vision board.

If you find all the thumbnails with high views suck, examine the wider niche.

Step 2: Plan 3 thumbnails for the same video based on your research. (Keep this very draft)

  • What emotion/expression might you use?

  • What strategy will you use?

  • What items/assets will you need?

  • What will the hero be?

Step 3: Feedback

Share your three draft concepts and ask questions that will help you work out which one might work best.

Keep your questions simple and ask things like “what sticks out first?” or “what do you think this video is about?” or “what questions appear in your mind when you see this?”

Never go with your first thumbnail idea, keep trying to improve it. 

Step 4: Produce the images

Take your photos and edit your images.

Step 5: Turn your 3 images into 15

Make very subtle tweaks and save the image. This might mean changing the color of the background or text or swapping an item in the image.

Step 6: Add your 15 thumbnails along with their titles into, screenshot them, and then place them in a vision board so you can pick your top three (but also have some fantastic back up options too)

Step 7: Ask in the Discord “which of the top three would you click on”.