I Love YTtalk
***Sorry if someone already made a similar post to this one, I did a quick search and couldn't find anything. Edit: Oops, I just realised that there's a dedicated branding section in the forum. Don't know how missed that lol. Nevermind, I guess this is still my take on it. ***

Hi all! I wanted to put together a guide for of you guys who may be new to the whole branding thing or may just want to make your channel look better. I'll be putting in titles for each point I'm going to make, so if you know all of the tips already feel free to skip this post. If you aren't following all of them though, this post is for you :).

This is my first post of this kind so I'll try to make it as good as possible but sorry if it's not as good as others out there. Also, this post is extremely long, just warning you in advance.

Anyway though let's get started!

Your thumbnails are EXTREMELY important, so make them good!

I can't really emphasise this point anymore, thumbnails are a HUGE factor in whether your videos succeed or not. Think about it, you could have the best video ever with top-notch production value, and Notch as your guest co-host (sorry I just had to). If your thumbnails have been put together in 10 seconds though, or (heaven forbid) you didn't even add a custom one in, no one is going to want to click on the video in the first place. Also to go a bit off topic, this is why you shouldn't think that your video is bad just because you aren't getting any views on it.

I would also recommend having a consistent look for your thumbnails. Having a consistent look will make your channel look a lot neater and more professional. It will also set a great first impression for new subscribers who land on your channel. If you make your thumbnails distinct enough people will probably start recognising them as yours, if this doesn't entice them to click, it will at least remind them of your channel and may make them want to revisit it later.

Also if you are wanting to have text on your thumbnail, make sure that it's easily readable! It still baffles me how people put text on top of similarly coloured backgrounds in pictures, whether it is on youtube or not (I actually say a thumbnail with white text on top of yellow today so I know it still happens). Make sure that your text stands out from your background or else no one is going to be able to read it, and while we're on the topic of thumbnail text make it BIG so that it can easily be seen when your thumbnail small. A great piece of advice I heard a while ago is to zoom right out of your thumbnail when you finish with it, this will let you know how readable a small version of your thumbnail would be before exporting it.

Also try to make the subject of your video be pretty big and bold on your thumbnail. In my case, for my movie reviews, this would be one or two of the main characters from the story. If you're doing a vlog channel this would probably be you, or if you're doing a news channel it could be a person from your main news story. Try to get a picture with as much expression as possible too, people react to exaggerated expressions so use that to your advantage.

In most cases, I also try to make my thumbnails relatively colourful and bump up their saturation a bit too. Also if the subject is dark, brighten him/her up a bit. Just think of any way possible that you can make your thumbnail look better and do that!

Organise Your Channel Homepage

Looking at the analytics on my previous channel, most of my subscribers subscribed on my channel's homepage. Your channel homepage MUST set a good impression if you want people to stick around and subscribe; obviously, a messy channel page will not do that

Channel Banner

I wrote about this in detail below

Channel Logo

I wrote about this in detail below too

Channel trailer

This is one that I admittedly have never really done well myself. The best practice would be to make a dedicated video telling new viewers what they can expect from your channel (what series are running, examples of your style of videos, your personality, etc.).

You can get away with not doing this though and instead use an existing video, but DON'T just put in any video. It should be a video that:
  1. Represents your channel well (don't put a subscriber milestone or random one of vlog here)
  2. Is good for new viewers to your channel (isn't based on an inside joke or anything like that)
  3. Would make a viewer want to subscribe from early on in the video
  4. Isn't too long in length (unless all of the videos on your channel are long)
Also, remember to change it up every now and again as your content continues to improve with experience.

Channel Sections

There isn't any particular way of how you should order your sections. I've seen some people putting a "videos if you're new" section right at the top, others have their newest uploads at the top, while I put a playlist with all of my movie reviews at the top.

One good way of organising it could be to look at your analytics and see which video series seem to have the best audience retention time, you could then put their playlists at the top. If you don't have a large enough audience to have a good amount of data yet (like I don't with my new channel), you could just make an educated guess. You could also just put a new series that you want people to see closer to the top, it's really up to you.

As for what you should include on the homepage, again it's up to you, but I'd recommend putting your recent uploads and some of your well-liked playlists. As a slight sidenote, if you haven't got playlists go and make them, they are a necessity if you want an easy to navigate channel (why wouldn't you want that).

Suggested Channels

I don't have any tips on what to put here. Before I had some channels that I liked watching, now I don't have any channels on mine. I guess the only real tip I could give is to link to your second channel here if you have one.

Channel Logo

You have three choices when making a channel logo, you can make it:
  1. A real picture of you
  2. An illustration of you
  3. An actual logo
Neither option is better than the other in my opinion, although I have seen the argument that a channel with a face may look more personal, whereas a logo may look a bit corporate. Different people have different opinions so pick whichever you want.

If you're going to use a real picture of your face make sure that it is in focus and not blurry. You should probably also try and pull a happy face while taking the pic unless it makes sense to do otherwise (e.g. YourMovieSucksDOTorg).

If you're going to use an illustrated picture of your face make sure that you make it well, don't go making it on MS paint, unless it fits in with your channel (e.g. casually explained).

If you're going to use an actual logo don't put in any words or anything because it won't be readable. Just have the logo itself on a nice solid or gradient background and that's it.

If you put in small details on any of these types of logo people won't be able to read them, and it will probably make your logo not look as nice as if it wasn't there.

Channel Banner

YouTube supply a template for banners here, I'd advise using that to get all the dimensions right.

Ensure that your channel banner looks in focus and professional. It doesn't have to be anything crazy (mine is pretty simple), but it should be visually appealing.

On it, you should have your channel name and some text explaining a bit about your channel. For example, mine says "Animated Movie Discussions" because that's what I do on my channel, I talk about animated movies in various series.

You could also put any schedules that you have on your banner too, I am planning to do that with mine, but I keep forgetting.

As for the actual layout of your thumbnail ensure that everything of importance is within the Text and Logo safe area. You can still have stuff outside this zone, just don't go putting your channel name or schedule outside of it.

About Section

I'm not going to go into detail with what to put in here, but just remember that the text from here shows up in search.

That's Everything!

That's everything that I could think of when it comes to your channel branding on YouTube, without me going to your video's content or your set or social networks or anything like that.

Please let me know if this has helped you. Also, please let me know if I've made any errors or anything like that down below so that I can edit them out in the post.

Thanks for reading it all, I had no idea that it would be this long when I started.
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I moved this to the Branding / Design discussion forum in the Tutorials section. Thank you for writing a great branding article! ^_^
I moved this to the Branding / Design discussion forum in the Tutorials section. Thank you for writing a great branding article! ^_^

You're welcome :). I can't believe that I didn't notice that there's a whole section for branding and design, thanks!

Awesome article dude:up2: What a great job. Thanks for all the advice:)

Thanks! Happy that you found it helpful! I love the video that you've got in your signature btw, I feel exactly the same way about the education system, I really hate it. I mean why do I need to go to school to learn about the different types of rocks and cells and stuff when. For one I've pretty much forgotten all of it by now, and I'm going into the post-production field so it would be of zero use to me anyway. I also hate the whole formality around it, learning should be fun, and to be forced to wear a uniform and deal with shouting teachers every day is really taking away from how fun learning new things can be. It's a shame really.
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