With a portfolio of over 7 billion videos, of which 5 billion are watched every single day, YouTube has deservingly established itself as the most popular video platform in the world.
For content publishers, this unbeatable variety means that standing out from the crowd and getting your videos clicked on isn’t exactly the easiest thing.
However, one thing is true – humans are particularly visual creatures, and a great YouTube thumbnail will go a long way to gaining you the visibility that you strive for. For this reason, today we will see some awesome YouTube thumbnail examples – and why they work.
So, let’s waste no more time, and jump right into them:
Awesome YouTube thumbnails – and why they work
In my previous post, I talked about some tips and best practices on how to create great YouTube thumbnails. However, I believe that the best way to learn why and how something works is by seing some good examples.
1. Claudia Ayuso
YouTube thumbnail examples #1: Claudia Ayuso
We are starting our list of great YouTube thumbnail examples with this one from YouTuber Claudia Ayuso. There are a few reasons why I think it really stands out, but I will focus on one of them as we will discuss the rest in other thumbnails.
The contrasting, high-quality image of the city gives us an immediate overview of what to expect from the video. This photo is combined with the face of the girl behind it – in my previous post, we saw that human faces in the thumbnail trigger a psychological reaction that helps us decide whether to watch it or not.
It also makes the YouTuber look more trustworthy, which is particularly important for the topic that she is discussing – affording rent in London.
2. Tatiana James
YouTube thumbnail examples #2: Tatiana James
Next on our list of YouTube thumbnail examples is Tatiana James, a self-made millionaire and one of my favourite YouTubers. The reason why it works, and this is something that she has also explained in her videos, is because it portrays the ideal life that people want to see.
She explains that she doesn’t want to look superficial with these thumbnails because they look a bit clickbaity, and the reality of her content is much deeper than that. However, these are the ones that people click on the most because of how utopical and promising they are.
Of course, if you want to use this technique, make sure that you actually deliver content of value, just like Tatiana does. Do not use promising, clickbait thumbnails and headlines that don’t live up to the expectations.
YouTube thumbnail examples #3: The Cottage Fairy
While I don’t have much to say about this thumbnail, I think it’s one of the best YouTube thumbnail examples because of how aesthetically pleasing it looks.
It perfectly portrays the quite life that the YouTuber experiences in the cottage, and it actually makes you feel the joy of her simple and beautiful living before you’ve even watched the video.
4. Income School
YouTube thumbnail examples #4: Income School
Speaking of great YouTube thumbnail examples, I can’t help but mention another one of my favourite channels – Income School. I particularly like this thumbnail because of how mysterious it looks – which they achieved with blurring a key part of the title on it.
On top of that, the striking yellow colour really manages to draw the attention and make contrast with the rest of the image. Additionally, marking the world “fail” in yellow is another element that gives you the urgency to click on the video.
5. The Financial Diet
YouTube thumbnail examples #5: The Financial Diet
Speaking of stunning YouTube thumbnail examples, next on our list is this one from The Financial Diet. In my opinion, what draws the attention the most is the controversial text “Useless self-care tips”, which makes you want to learn which ones they are.
By wrapping it in a huge font with a highly contrasting pink background, they really make the text stand out and awaken my curiosity to learn more about this video.
6. The Graham Stephen Show
YouTube thumbnail examples #6: The Graham Stephan Show
Just as with some of our previous thumbnail examples, there are various reasons why this one works so well. However, to me what stands out is the shocked face that Graham makes in the thumbnail, which is a psychological strategy to trigger an emotional reaction.
I love it because it makes you want to know what is so shocking about this video. His face, combined with the text “I spend $4200 per month on cars”, really awakens curiosity and makes you want to learn more.
YouTube thumbnail examples #7: Alux.com
Our list of YouTube thumbnail examples continues with this one from Alux.com. The non-revealing title, combined with a perfectly aligned, catchy text, does a great job of drawing the attention and making you want to learn more.
On top of that, the subtle image of Leonardo DiCaprio, who portrays a wealthy and careless character in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, goes really well with the whole concept of the video.
8. Asian Boss
YouTube thumbnail examples #8: Asian Boss
There is a reason why this thumbnail works so well for Asian Boss, and it is because it’s…well, really minimalist. Which is exactly what the video is about! So, the thumbnail helps you get a quick overview of what you can expect in the video.
9. Joana Ceddia
YouTube thumbnail examples #9: Joana Ceddia
Popular YouTuber Joana Ceddia has some of the most relatable thumbnail examples on YouTube. This one is especially hilarious, with her wide smile and an angle that most YouTubers would never want to be seen from.
Anyways, the thumbnail does a great job in making the content feel relatable to her audience, and makes her look incredibly authentic. Which is way it works so well for her.
YouTube thumbnail examples #10: Merve
I found this thumbnail from Merve particularly nice and calming. The beautiful image of her studying with neatly organized papers around her, combined with the stunning view, really attract the attention to the video and make you want to click on it.
Additionally, the topic itself is very interesting and unique – it got me curious to see how the video was recorded, and what was the goal of it.
YouTube thumbnail examples #11: Piewdiepie
Of course, a list of thumbnail examples cannot be complete without PewDiePie, the king of YouTube himself, and the most followed individual person on the platform.
I think that this thumbnail does a great job in standing out from the crowd. It is quite edited, yet feels authentic. PewDiePie, portraying himself as the millionarie who disagrees on the subject, is edited next to another person who agrees.
Now, the only thing left to know is what do they disagree or agree on. And the only way to find out is to click on the video!
12. Matt D’Avella
YouTube thumbnail examples #12: Matt D’avella
I love this thumbnail because it is quite minimalistic and unedited compared to others, yet it is so visually appealing. The high-quality photo, combined with a nice and contrasting filter, goes a long way to drawing the attention of the audience.
13. Julia Zelg
YouTube thumbnail examples #13: Julia Zelg
Next on our list of thumbnail examples is this one from Julia Zelg. She has done a great job with the editing, contrasting the two polar opposite styles in an attractive and catchy way.
Both girls manage to stand out with their visuals, each on her distinctive side of the thumbnail, and it really gives you an excellent teaser to the actual video.
14. Amber Scholl
YouTube thumbnail examples #14: Amber Scholl
On the more edited side of YouTube thumbnail examples, we have Amber Scholl – a US-based lifestyle YouTuber famous for her “extra” style which includes a lot of glitter, bright colours, and fashion items.
Her thumbnails are very aesthetically pleasing. They include lots of emojis, contrasting images, and texts framed in bright pink – all elements that make her really easy to distinguish on the YouTube feed.
I think she does a great job creating content that really resonates with her audience.
15. Matt D’Avella
YouTube thumbnail examples #15: Matt D’avella
We’ve got another example from Matt D’Avella, and it has a very similar style to the previous thumbnail that we saw from his channel. However, I really wanted to share this one with you as well because of how good this image is.
This only shows that a thumbnail doesn’t have to be heavily edited in order to be attractive. A great picture speaks a thousand words!
16. Ali Abdaal
YouTube thumbnail examples #16: Ali Abdaal
Next on our list of YouTube thumbnail examples is this one from Ali Abdaal, and he has done a great job with it. I love the fact that he has included actual receipts and proof to support his content, which is always a great way to show authenticity and trustworthiness.
17. Shelby Church
YouTube thumbnail examples #17: Shelby Church
Another content creator that gives us great YouTube thumbnail examples is Shelby Church. The photo that she took of herself is really fun, creative, and perfectly portray the content of the video.
However, she still keeps the mystery behind the video by adding the vague phrase “what youtubers don’t tell”, which is absolutely enough to draw the attention.
18. UnJaded Jade
YouTube thumbnail examples #18: UnJaded Jade
Next on our list of YouTube thumbnail examples is this fun and creative piece from UnJaded Jade. The cute little flags, combined with pictures of delicious food, the girl in different poses, and a very clear title with big letters really manage to stand out.
YouTube thumbnail examples #19: HopeScope
HopeScope really killed it with this YouTube thumbnail. The contrasting and visually appealing colours really make the video stand out among others on the feed.
Additionally, her shocked or judgy face on the thumbnail gives the impression that someting was wrong with the activewear line, which immediately makes you want to know what exactly. This is a common tactic that many YouTubers use to make you want to learn more.
20. James Charles
From what I’ve seen so far, I believe that James Charles is the absolute king of beautiful, creative, and aesthetically pleasing YouTube thumbnail examples.
He always uses the same distinctive elements to build his brand – clear grey background, bright colours, and of course, an image of his gorgeous and unique face. You can’t really confuse these videos!
21. Blair Walnuts
YouTube thumbnail examples #21: Blair Walnuts
YouTuber Blair Walnuts is really good at hilarious and highly relatable thumbnails. She usually photoshops her face and/or body onto someone else’s face and/or body, in a clearly joking manner.
Her thumbnails always go in perfect harmony with the title and the content of her videos. What I really love about her channel is that she isn’t scared to create weird or maybe not so aesthetically pleasing thumbnails – it’s all about the fun!
Which is what makes her unique as a YouTuber, too.
22. Project Life Mastery
YouTube thumbnail examples #22: Project Life Mastery
Next on my list of awesome thumbnail examples is this one from Project Life Mastery. I think it does a great job catching the eye by using numbers – especially as big and impressive as the one above.
Additionally, they play with colours as well, painting the text on the thumbnail in yellow – one of the most distinctive colours, and perfect for drawing the attention as well.
23. Kristina Maione
YouTube thumbnail examples #23: Kristina Maione
This thumbnail is a great example of what I call “the perfect” clickbait. It incorporates really strong elements to call the attention, such as the vague phrase “this is bad” and the logo of OnlyFans right below. OnlyFans is a rather controversial platform for mostly adult content.
However, it isn’t clickbait in the real sense of the word as the content is actually pretty good, and it’s definitely true to what it promises. However, these technique can be bad if not used correctly.
24. Miley Cyrus
YouTube thumbnail examples #24: Miley Cyrus
We continue our list of examples with something different. In this case, it’s artist and musician Miley Cyrus, who has used a really powerful and provocative image for her latest music video.
Provocative images are perfect for capturing the attention as they typically go out of the ordinary, and are much more distinctive. Especially if your audience isn’t really used to them.
25. Nikkie Tutorials
YouTube thumbnail examples #25: Nikkie Tutorials
And we finish off our list of thumbnail examples with this one from makeup guru Nikkie Tutorials. I like it because it’s simple, with high-quality images, and incorporates catchy elements such as emojis and the year in red colour.
I also love the “raw and honest confessions” – it makes Nikkie feel really authentic and trustworthy.
And that was all from me for today when it comes to great YouTube thumbnail examples! As always, thank you for taking the time to read my article, and I hope to see you in the next one!
Do you want to make awesome thumbnails in the matter of minutes? Try Canva Pro for free! (affiliate link)*.
*The free trial is for 30 days. If you end up enjoying Canva and purchasing the subscription, I will make a small commission from it. But only if you purchase it! There is no committment whatsoever, and I truly recommend Canva Pro from the bottom of my heart because it’s one of the best tools for easy designs out there.