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Review: Should You Use Canva for YouTube Channel Art?

Canva is an extremely popular platform for all kinds of graphics and images. But how well does Canva perform when creating YouTube channel art? Today, I’ll take a look at Canva and whether you should consider using it for your channel.

Not everyone is a superstar when it comes to using Photoshop or can afford someone to create graphics for them.

What is Canva?

Canva is an online platform that provides easy-to-use tools to create various graphics and videos for virtually any purpose on the Internet. Powered by one of the largest collections of templates on the web, you can create everything in Canva from Pinterest pins to eBook covers that stand out.

While it doesn’t have the same in-depth capabilities as Photoshop or Illustrator, the tools Canva provides are more than enough to help you create something unique.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of Canva for many is how much you’ll actually get with a free account.

You can also use Canva through a web browser or download the app directly to your computer, Android, or iOS device.

What to Expect from Canva and YouTube

Canva has a lot of flexibility when it comes to various social platforms. Not to mention that you can use it to go beyond YouTube channel art as you can also schedule social updates for marketing purposes on platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and Facebook.

Today, though, let’s take a look at what Canva can do for you in terms of YouTube channel graphics.

Perfectly Sized Templates for Everything YouTube

The first thing you’ll notice when looking for free YouTube templates is the list Canva provides. Each template is perfectly sized for your channel according to the optimal dimensions for YouTube.

For example, Canva includes:

  • Channel Banner: 2560 x 1440
  • Channel Logo: 800 x 800
  • Video Thumbnails: 1280 x 720
  • Video Intros and Outros: 1920 x 1080

This means you can spend less time worrying about sizing everything correctly and more time adjusting your images and video segments. Every graphic element of YouTube is available in the online editor.

Continuously Growing List of Templates

Every time I load the list of templates in Canva, it seems to keep getting larger. There are thousands of each type of template to choose from, which can then be easily customized.

There’s no doubt that there are more premium and paid templates than free layouts. However, it doesn’t take much to edit a premium-looking template with free variations in the editor.

You also have the option to create YouTube channel art from a blank canvas if you don’t like the available templates.

Banner Templates Are Properly Centered

It can be a bit tricky designing your YouTube channel banner. That’s because the image is used for various screen sizes and devices. And if your image isn’t centered properly on the banner, it could cut off on mobile devices or televisions.

The banner templates in Canva are properly centered to give you an idea of where everything will appear on various screens.

I only point this out simply because of how long it took me to manually get the image right in Photoshop. Canva would have saved me a lot of time moving and adjusting images for the banner.

Free vs Pro Canva

The pro version of Canva is about $120 per year, which isn’t too bad considering all that you get. In comparison, Adobe Photoshop will run you almost the exact same amount if you pay per month.

There are a lot of free images, elements, videos, and backgrounds you can use. But the floodgates are opened when you upgrade. Especially since you get 1TB of online storage as opposed to 5GB.

So, if you’re serious about getting the most out of your YouTube channel and plan on using Canva for the long haul, it’s worth the investment compared to other platforms.

Pay as You Create Options

Premium Elements in Canva

What if you don’t have the $120 per year? Well, you can also purchase some of the “premium” images and videos for $1 each. This might be the better option if you plan on using fewer than 10 premium elements per month.

That way, you don’t have to worry about paying a subscription fee if you’re only looking for a few premium elements here and there as you develop your channel.

That’s also not to say just how much you can do for free, in general.

Videos and Images for YouTube

Perhaps one of the most prominent aspects of Canva is that it has stock video footage and imagery to accentuate nearly every aspect of your content. In fact, I’ve used the free stock footage in my videos in the past.

Not only does this help with in-video engagement, but you can also create intros and outros quite easily.

You can also upload your own videos to Canva to add a bit of extra flair before you upload them. For instance, adding graphic elements, text, or simply drawing on the video feed could be a little bit extra for your audience.

Of course, you’ll have to be wary of the 5GB limit. Some YouTube videos can easily reach beyond 2GB by themselves. This would probably be better for shorter B-roll clips while using the free version of the platform.

Upload Your Own Images and Elements

As I mentioned, you can upload your own media to Canva and use it to make edits and adjustments. Although Canva doesn’t have nearly the capacity for fine-tuning as more advanced software, it has virtually everything you’ll need for a YouTube audience.

One of the keys to success, regardless of the content you create, is to deliver a unique visual. Otherwise, you’re simply using the same images and videos everyone else does and you could lose your audience.

This is one of the reasons why a lot of YouTubers prefer to use themselves in Thumbnails. It sets them apart from other creators who are covering a similar topic.

Plus, using yourself in such a fashion begins to create a connection between you and the audience before they even hit “play.”

Canva Courses and Tutorials Available

Canva Design School

Canva has a lot of video tutorials available to learn how to use the system. Not only that, but they also offer courses for general graphic design, mastering social media, personal branding, and more.

This means it goes just beyond what you can do with the design app. In reality, most of the courses that are available may have a profound impact on building your YouTube channel.

The best part is that these courses are free to join. You can simply select any that you want to complete and get started.

Organizing by Free or Premium Elements

At the bottom of the “All Filters” tab, you can find the option to organize the elements by “Free” or “Pro.” This makes it easier to find the things you’re looking for without costing money.

It would have been nice if Canva made that a more prominent feature since I completely missed it when I originally wrote this article. And I’ve been using the platform for years.

In any case, you do have that ability and can find some great free graphics and videos for your YouTube channel. Most of them are easy to modify to fit your channel’s type of content.

Resizable Stock Footage

As I mentioned earlier, you can use Canva’s stock footage to accentuate your videos. Not only that, but you can resize these videos to fit virtually any dimension.

This may work great for a full-screen B-roll in the middle of the video. Or, you could also add a small square of the footage overlaying video of you talking to your audience.

It all comes down to your own creativity and learning a bit more about all of the fun things you can do with Canva.

How Do You Get Started with Canva and YouTube?

Getting started with Canva to create YouTube channel art and other elements is relatively easy. After signing up with a free account, search for “YouTube” in the available field.

Search for YouTube

You’ll see several options you can choose from, or you can hit enter to see all of the templates that show.

You can also search for specific templates. For instance, you can enter “youtube banner” if you want to see templates for banner art.

Once you decide on which YouTube element you want to work on, browse through the templates that are shown. Click the template that you like and want to modify.

Modify Banner Art

NOTE: You can also choose to create a banner from a blank template in Canva.

The template will load up in its own window. From here, you can choose to “Customize this template” or view the similar templates underneath.

You can also just click the close option on the top right of the window.

Customize this Template

Canva will then load the graphic editor app and you can start making adjustments.

Would I Suggest Using Canva for YouTube Elements?

If it’s not obvious by now, I am a bit of a fanboy for Canva. I’ve been using it for a variety of purposes for quite a few years now, and the platform just seems to keep getting better and more elaborate.

Out of all of the free tools I use for blogging and making YouTube videos, Canva is one that I would definitely promote to upgrade. Not only do you get far more storage space and access to premium graphics, but there are a few sharing features that would streamline social marketing.

For example, you are able to schedule posts to your Instagram account directly from Canva if you upgrade to the pro version. This can help you plan out content to engage an audience and entice more people to visit your YouTube channel.

You can also connect Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, TikTok, and more. Never underestimate the value of marketing your YouTube channel on social media.

Regardless of the pro account, Canva has a lot to offer in its free version. The editor isn’t difficult to learn, you have a lot of options for customizing templates, and you can easily create something unique for YouTube viewers.

In fact, outside of Photoshop, Canva is the next most common design app I use for the different types of content I create. From eBook covers to YouTube video B-roll, it’s simply an incredibly useful tool for creators of all kinds.

What is Your Favorite Graphic Program or App?

There are a lot of free design apps out there for YouTube channel art and thumbnails. And out of the many that I’ve tried, Canva is definitely my favorite. From adding B-roll to thumbnails, it has a lot of flexibility for helping you get more engagement from videos.

The best part is how much you get under the free account.

What kind of graphic programs do you like to use for your YouTube channel?

Michael Brockbank

Michael Brockbank

Michael has been managing YouTube channels for the better part of a decade. He's continuously working to find the best methods that work for various types of content from gaming to website tutorials.

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