Very true: sometime I watch a video just because the thumbnail is catchyDon't be afraid to make your own thumbnails. I feel that people are kind of intimidated to make their own thumbnails, they don't even TRY to make a thumbnail. Don't make the excuse: "Oh, well I don't have [insert expensive editing program here]". I'm no artist or designer, I even use a free program to make my thumbnails. I just started making thumbnails yesterday...So as you can see, it really isn't that hard. You just have to do it. The most time-consuming part of making a thumbnail isn't the designing part, it's trying to find images and a background that will look good. Here are a few tips that help me when designing a thumbnail:
1 - This is very important, look at other people's thumbnails! I've spent hours just looking at thumbnails here on this website. By looking at really good thumbnails around here you acclimate yourself to that kind of quality and style, and when you go to make a thumbnail you are on par with their style and quality.
2 - Getting frustrated and can't seem to make things look good? When this happens to me, I look at other people's thumbnails for inspiration. Maybe it's a way they aligned their font, or a certain way they placed an image. It really helps get the creative juices flowing. If you still can't get creative, then take a break. Sometimes you just work to hard or too long and your brain is tired, go read that book you have been meaning to read or play a video game. Do something stress free.
3 - Google it. Yep, obvious isn't it? We often forget what a great resource google is. We have access to a whole lot of tutorials on font effects, background effects, image effects, beginner tutorials, etcetera! I use google all the time to figure out how to do a certain text effect or make a cool shadow. If you can see it in your mind, but can't make it happen, try googling what you see.
4 - Ask! If you see something in a thumbnail that looks amazing, but can't emulate it. Don't be afraid to ask the creator, chances are that they will gladly tell you how to do it and perhaps even give you some extra tips!
5 - Fonts. Fonts can make or break a thumbnail, it's really important that the font you use is very visible and legible. DO NOT USE THE DEFAULT FONTS. You can pretty much take it to the bank that most of the default fonts are a no no for thumbnails. The default fonts are for typing up essays etcetera...NOT thumbnails. I usually get my fonts from dafont. These days there are so many fonts out there that if you are playing a specific game, they probably have a font for that game. You want to make sure that the font can relate to the game you are playing. Example: You don't want to use a exciting, happy font if you are going to be playing a dark, zombie game.
This is what helps me, what helps you? Has this post encouraged you to try your hand at thumbnails? Tell me about it!