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Would you like to get started with YouTube and set up a channel for yourself? Or do you already have a channel and want to design & upload a new channel image or banner again? 

In this article, we are going to look at the recommended YouTube profile picture size to use on your channel and videos (width x height in pixels).

Oh, there is something else … There is an area that is always displayed and there are areas that are not always visible. – This blog article will give you all the information you need.

Note: The channel image cannot be changed via mobile devices (smartphones, tablets). You should do this on your laptop or desktop PC.

In the help section of YouTube, there are recommendations for the size of the channel art and there are YouTube profile picture size templates everywhere on the Internet as templates that you can download for free! – Hey, why should you read on?

How to read this blog article

All you can do is read the “for beginners section” and “get started” right away and create a great new channel image.

Read more if you want to know exactly why the measurements in pixels that I have determined are optimal for your new banner image 

Insider knowledge: Are you an image editing professional or do you really want to know the details of the art? – Then read this article to the end. Below you will find test details as well as information about the devices that I used for testing.

YouTube profile picture size for beginners

The ideal YouTube profile picture size (width x height in pixels)

  • Width: 2,560 pixels, height 1,440 pixels
  • File format: JPEG, quality “Very High” (80) to “Maximum” (100)

The “always visible area”

  • Width: 1546 pixels, height 362 pixels

The area that can ALWAYS be seen is not 1546 x 42, as communicated by YouTube, but 1546 x 362 px. This compact area is visible in almost any YouTube app, e.g. on an iPhone 7. It is more or less the smartphone minimum variant.

Visible area ” Smartphone Standard “

Yes, there is an area that is 1546 x 423 px. This is the smartphone standard variant, which is displayed on some mobile phones with the YouTube app (e.g. Samsung M30s)

Visible area ” desktop browser “

  • Width: 2560 pixels, height 423 pixels

Visible area ” Tablet portrait format “

  • Width: 1814 pixels, height 423 pixels

Visible area ” Tablet landscape format “

  • Width: 2407 pixels, height 423 pixels

Visible area of YouTube profile picture size ” TV “

  • Entire image = width: 2560 pixels, height 1440 pixels or

Why are the “visible areas” so important?

The keyword is ” Responsive Design “. Depending on where someone/your subscriber is looking at your YouTube channel, they will be shown a different visible area of ​​the banner image.

The responsive presentation of the channel image

The respective visible area differs from device to device, even from the orientation of the device. For example, tablets have a portrait and landscape format. And the display of the Youtube profile picture/featured image also depends on whether it is viewed via an Internet browser such as Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari … or with one of the YouTube apps!

Best Practice: Create an optimal YouTube profile picture size

Your channel image is the largest advertising space for your channel, like the “shop window”. If it’s meaningful and looks good, then the higher the click-through rate to your channel and videos.

That is why you should continue to use the ideal width × height in the future so that your channel image always looks brilliant and sharp. If you use another, smaller pixel dimensions than 2,560 x 1,440 px, the image may look blurred and then appear less attractive.

If you want to be on the safe side, you can use these free YouTube profile picture size templates, along with 9 other important social media image formats, for free download.

Clever placement of design elements & call-to-action (CTA)

It is unfavorable to place design elements in the outer edge areas. This applies particularly to the areas on the far left and right because they are often not visible. You should therefore position everything that is particularly important or informative in the middle.

However, you can “calculate razor-sharp” and use the areas that are only sometimes visible to place a visual call-to-action element with pixel accuracy. This is then visible on the desktop but not visible on the smartphone.

Details for pixel pushers, bean counters & nerds

Okay, in the next few lines the information density increases again rapidly. You will learn some details that you have certainly never read before!

The old information from YouTube

Until mid-2020 there was actually a PSD file (Photoshop Document) as a template on the YouTube help pages, which could be downloaded for free. The (old) visible areas were also drawn in there. However, this template was very old and was removed sometime between the end of July and the beginning of September 2020 …

I downloaded the PSD file a while ago, of course. It was made available in zipped form from YouTube.

You might be wondering: How does Billy know that the file was actually more than 7 years old? – I’ll tell you: Graphic design files are very talkative when examining the meta-information. It’s easy to do with Adobe Bridge (free) software, a file browser that specializes in graphic design files.

The new information from YouTube

The current official information from YouTube that you can now find is deliberately kept general:

The three most important device types for YouTube are televisions, computers (desktop PC & laptops), and mobile devices: tablets (landscape & portrait) and smartphones (portrait).

The representation of the channel picture is different: On televisions, the picture is shown with an aspect ratio of 6: 1. For computers, YouTube shows two screenshots, one for the minimum width and one for the maximum width of the displays or the width of the browser window.

The display on mobile devices also depends on the display dimensions and is therefore not precisely defined. O-Ton from YouTube: “The security area is adapted to the width of the display. This can vary depending on the device ”.

YouTube profile picture size Templates & recommendations for pixel dimensions

In order to determine the optimal size and the visible or invisible areas of YouTube channel images, I created test files, uploaded them, took screenshots, and then downloaded and analyzed the uploaded images.

In the beginning, I used the old template from YouTube as a template. However, I could see very quickly that the dimensions were simply no longer correct.

I also used completely different sizes, with more pixels, with different proportions, as a kind of double-blind study for testing. It turned out that the outer pixel dimensions of 2560 × 1440 px, which YouTube actually recommends, are really okay.

The fact is that due to the many tests on several devices, monitors, and with different browsers, including different browser window widths, I have searched and found a template that you can download for free: here

The template consists of 3 levels: The top level is the so-called “positioning aid”. Here all areas can be seen semi-transparent. You just have to insert your picture between the “positioning aid” and the background. You can then see which parts can be seen and when. Later you simply hide the “Positioning aid” level. Finished!

The best for the last: a surprise!

Okay, you want to know exactly: What else did I notice during the tests? What are the special features? Then it’s time to get down to business:

What does YouTube actually do with your picture?

Yes, YouTube will reduce the file size by recalculating the image. Therefore: Do not save the picture with a medium or bad JPEG compression, YouTube does that for you almost automatically.

And in that case, there is no such thing as “double mocking is better”! YouTube reduces, so always worsens your image file. If you are already delivering a reduced quality, this low quality will be recalculated and so further deteriorated … Therefore: Save the file with a top JPEG quality, with the lowest compression.

And something else happens that is very exciting:

Make many out of 1

You upload an image and YouTube automatically generates smaller images and excerpts from it. – Nobody has told you that before, have they? This works in a similar way to other CMS (Content Management Systems), such as WordPress.

The channel image with 2560 × 1440 px that you upload to YouTube is converted into different sizes and “sliced” (excerpts are created from it), one also says “the images are cut”.

You can download these versions created by YouTube (2120 × 1192 px, 1920 × 1080 px, 2560 × 424 px, 1707 × 282 px, 1440 × 395 px, etc.) afterwards. This way you can see exactly where the “predetermined breaking points” of the sewer picture are!

Why is that? It happens for economic reasons. Different sizes are required in order to equip the devices and the browser with the best possible image sizes and image sections. In this case, the complete image with the most pixels does not always have to be used.

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