Growing up in the nineties the word video only meant one thing – a VHS tape. Those blocky bricks of plastic and magnetic tape that delivered endless hours of feature film entertainment.
The was a whole process involved in watching videos: poring over the front covers in the video rental shop, returning them in time, the subsequent late fees for not returning them in time and a whole host of video rental etiquette.
Today video rental shops are all but obsolete. We download or stream our movies, TV series and documentaries instantly. Anybody under twenty years of age wouldn’t even know what a VHS tape looks like.
But the word video is more prevalent than ever. It has become a word in our everyday vocabulary. It just means something else.
According to Cisco, “Video will represent 82% of all IP traffic in 2021, including consumer and business IP traffic, amounting to a million minutes of video transmitted through networks every second. Internet video, IP video-on-demand, videos exchanged through file sharing, video-streamed gaming, and video conferencing are factored into this estimate.”
Video is big news for anybody in business, in marketing or building any kind of online audience. The algorithms of the most popular social sites favour video, and it is becoming the most efficient way to directly speak to your customers and followers.
YouTube has surpassed all but Google to sit comfortably in the position of number two most visited website in the world. Hundreds of hours of video are uploaded on a daily basis and the hours of viewing every day are now into the billions.
There are two ways of looking at such a populated platform –
1. it’s overwhelming and there no point trying to compete, or
2. there is space for everyone. If millions of people can build successful channels with regular engagement and new subscribers every day – why can’t you?
The beauty of being online is that there is space for everyone. YouTube is as much about education and information sharing as it is entertainment. Instructional videos, tutorials, lessons, podcasts, reviews, advice, product unboxing and product hauls are hugely popular trending genres on YouTube right now. People are using the video-sharing site to learn from other’s experiences.
But there are certain things you can do to help make your page successful and this starts with how your YouTube page looks.
YouTube channel art is the image that is displayed at the top of your page. Your YouTube Channel Art will look different depending on what device your channel is viewed on so keep this in mind when you are creating it. What you see on a desktop or smart tv will be a larger version of what is visible on a mobile or tablet.
Graphic Design tools such as Design Wizard enables YouTube channel owners to create responsive, cross-platform YouTube channel art tailored to full-screen smart tv’s as well as desktops, tablets and phones. Their templates include a handy ‘safe zone’ grid-box so that you can place your designs in a way that will cater to all mediums.
When it comes to the style of YouTube Channel Art, there are choices. Here are five of the most popular approaches and some tips on how to achieve them.
Patterns are set to be one of the biggest trends in graphic design next year and lend themselves perfectly to YouTube channel art.
One of the best things about having a patterned design as your banner is that is that it doesn’t really have to mean anything. Of course the elements of the design – the colour, style and subject – are important and should make sense, but in general, a pattern is open to interpretation. In other words, your audience can take what they want from it. Patterns are also easy on the eye, humans are creatures of habit and we like a bit of repetition. Deny it if you want, but you know it’s true!
While the choice of patterns out there is literally infinite, geometric shapes and lines are particularly on-trend. This is something that is reflected across all areas of design and is a sensible starting point for your Youtube channel art. For extra contemporary-kudos, combine your geometric pattern with vivid colour and distinctive outlines.
PewDiePie is the most popular channel on YouTube with over 58 million subscribers and for as long as I have been checking his page, the banner art has been the same red and black psychedelic pattern. If a pattern is good enough for PewDiePie, it’s good enough for anyone!
There is something so appealing about a photograph. Photographs really are snapshots of life – capturing a moment in time. But different people are drawn to different photos and this personal preference can reveal a lot about a someone. Use this to your advantage when it comes to promoting a YouTube channel. If you are appealing to a specific demographic, using a photo that they are likely to relate could ensure a positive first impression.
There’s no shortage of photographic subjects, landscapes, wildlife, portraits, street-scenes, still lifes. There are just as many different ways a photo can be shot; close-up, wide-angle, panoramic, aerial and the increasingly popular drone method.
The most important thing when it comes to presenting photographs is that the quality is excellent. People have high standards when it comes to visual content these days. Anything that is out-of-focus, grainy or badly composited will fall below par. Display low-quality channel art and YouTubers will have very little confidence in the rest of your channel.
You don’t need to produce National Geographic quality photography, but just make sure that your photos are clear, well-light and interesting.
The easiest and most efficient way to elevate any photo is to play around with filters and adjust image settings such as brightness, contrast and hue. Giving a photo a hazy, peachy vintage feel is a firm favourite and a look that is a trend to continue into next year.
YouTube channel art doesn’t always have to be about images; sometimes words are needed to express what you really want to say. And, if people like what you say in your channel art, most likely they will want to find out what you’re saying in your videos too.
Inspirational quotes have soared in popularity across social media in recent years. Life online is often competitive and uncaring and coming across an encouraging quote can be, hence the name, inspiring.
Try to avoid cheesy, preachy sermons or anything that could be construed as judgemental. Instead opt for general quotes about life, success and positivity.
It’s also cool to just play with words. Having your channel or brand name emblazoned across your banner will definitely be memorable. A strong typographical focus is another hot trend right now. Experiment with different fonts, weights, sizes and colours until you create something that stands out.
Large, bold text is a big trend in anything from greeting cards to social media posts. Supersizing your words not only looks really cool but it also increases the chance of them being read.
Tag-lines, company values and relevant URLs are another way to use your words and for viewers to associate your page with your brand.
Illustrative channel art can be creative and playful. Again, there are so many different illustration styles – quirky hand-drawn illustrations, stylized, cutesie cartoons, are some of the most popular techniques today.
Illustrations can be a great way to get a certain concept across that might be difficult to do with other mediums. It’s also a great way to push your artistic boundaries, illustrations by their very nature offer more freedom to express yourself because in a way you don’t have the boundary of reality.
Illustrations also tap into another trend that is emerging which is the practice of mixed media. Combine photos with illustrative graphics and icons to nail this look. Overlaying a variety of styles can look really polished and professional. And it is really easy to do. The most important make sure to keep all the elements balanced. Everything should blend seamlessly together.
Make your illustration into a pattern to nail two top trends. This is achieved by simply duplicating an image, playing around with the size and then laying the copies out so that it creates a unique design.
There are many high-ranking page owners that choose to feature themselves as the subject of the YouTube channel art. This can be done through photographs or illustrations.
Businesses know that their YouTube Channel could be the first time a consumer discovers them. If the page is representing a personal brand, where the person is the selling point then it makes sense to display a self-portrait.
If you think this is a good tactic for you, there are pitfalls to be aware of! A self-portrait has to look natural and genuine. Avoid being too posed, no stiff shoulders or wavering smiles! Candid shots are often the most authentic, and authenticity is something that viewers across all platforms respond to.
Action shots, where the person is actually doing something can be really effective. Performing a relevant task, interacting with a product or delivering a talk to show your audience exactly what your channel is about, even before they press play.
There’s a lot of freedom to be creative with self-portraits, add filters, words or other graphics to liven it up and make your self-portrait truly unique.
Most of all, make sure your expression reflects the tone of your channel.
There’s no doubt that online video is on the rise and including videos in your marketing strategy is definitely something to think about.
But although videos are on the rise, still images will always be valuable and relevant. So, make a plan for your video content, start thinking about your channel art and get the camera rolling!