The New YouTube Layout – Tutorial, 18 Free Backgrounds & Help for Non-Techy Channel Owners

18 March

youtubeI’m telling ya…

If you know your way around Photoshop, YouTube channel design would be an awesome niche to dive into to since the YouTube layout seems to change every other month. :)

Creating Your New Banner/Channel Art

In April, YouTube will force all channels to use the new “One Channel” layout, so you might as well get a jump on creating that new banner if you haven’t already.

Need help?  I created a tutorial for Photoshop users shown below. Even if you don’t know how to use Photoshop, you can follow along and create a very basic image.

In a rush and/or just want to learn what’s new with the layout?  Details are below.

Don’t Have Photoshop?

If you create images in another program that doesn’t allow you to open PSD files, follow the lead of one of my Twitter followers.

Electronics USA (TechDemos on YouTube) used Karen Kavett’s JPG image in her blog post as a guide to create the image in ClarisWorks (a program retired by Apple some years ago.)

So you can open the JPG image shown on Karen’s page in your favorite graphics program, and use it as a guide for your image to ensure that your channel art corresponds to the YouTube specs.

Need a free alternative to Photoshop?  Download GIMP, and I found a template for the new layout you can use for the new layout.

The downside of using some cheaper graphic editors is you may not be able to save your image as a higher quality (PNG) file as illustrated in the video.  So your image may look grainy after YouTube compresses it.

Free Backgrounds

Here’s some more help for you non-Photoshop users.

I whipped up some high-quality, textured-pattern backgrounds in Photoshop (PNG files) that you can download.

Open them up in any image editor and add your text or images on top.  Use Karen’s image is a guide for text placement.  Also, try to re-save them as PNG files to maintain the quality.

(Email subscribers:  Make sure you enable images in this message or click here to view them.)

free youtube backgrounds

Click here to download the ZIP file.

Outsourcing Anyone?

If the very thought of even trying to create an image makes you curl up into a ball, you can always outsource the task to Freelancer, Fiverr or oDesk and call it a day.

I’ve seen some pretty nice channel banners created with Fiverr (outsource work for $5).  At first I was leery about recommending them for graphic outsourcing, but I’ve been impressed on numerous occasions with images that have come from this service.

In fact, Wade Harman was just telling me in our chat on Google Plus yesterday that he used Fiverr to create his Google Plus cover photo.

Just make sure you pay attention to the feedback of the person before hiring, because sometimes you do get what you pay for.

Also, give your designer Karen’s PSD file for reference so they can create the banner according to the YouTube specs.

So What’s New With YouTube’s Layout?

Change is often difficult to swallow, but there are some cool things about the new design most of us will grow to love.

1) Larger Channel Art – Banners are now called “Channel Art” and the image (2120 x 1192) can be designed so it’s responsive to various browsing experiences (TV’s, mobile devices, desktops, tablets, etc.)

Here’s my art from one of my channels

youtube channel art 2013

2) Channel Trailers – Create a short video introducing people to your channel (seen by non-subscribers only).  For the record, these videos are on autoplay only, so keep that volume down when browsing YouTube at work. :)

3) Custom Links Display -The main link to your website is now displayed on your channel art and you can choose from a variety of custom links that will show along with their corresponding favicons  (WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Zazzle, Flickr, Pinterest, etc.)

You’re allowed to add up to 4 links.

custom youtube links

To update the links, just hover over the right side of your channel art and click “Edit Links.”

Edit Custom Links

Unfortunately I’m stuck with two custom links because there’s a bug that doesn’t allow me to update my information.

For whatever reason, YouTube doesn’t seem to like domains that start with numbers right now.  So until that’s fixed, I’m stuck with what I have.  :(

I’m actually shocked that such an obvious bug has not been addressed by now.  Well, thank goodness I have something there until the problem is resolved.

Ty from Ty’s iPhone Help re-tweeted my issue to @YTCreators, so maybe that’ll get their attention since Ty has such a large YouTube presence.

Wishful thinking?  Perhaps.  But thanks anyway, Ty!

4) Increased Control – Now there is more flexibility with how your playlists and videos are displayed.  Add a new “Section” to feature your uploads, playlists, likes and more.

5) Profile Pic Inside Header –  Your profile pic will float on the left side of your channel art.  This really looks best when the pic matches your channel image (see iJustine’s channel).


What We Lost

1) Backgrounds – Say goodbye to that cool background that blended so nicely into your header.

Hope you didn’t get too attached to it.  Now all channels will have white backgrounds — at least until the next layout update.

Anyone want to bet how long before the next re-design? :)

2) Image Maps – You can’t create clickable links within your channel banner anymore.  However, your custom links that appear on your channel art I referenced above are clickable.

3) Cleanliness – I think this layout has too much info crammed in, and everything seem to run together.  It’s a bit too jumbled for my taste.  I felt the previous layout was more streamlined and cleaner — largely because we could control colors of the background.

Your Thoughts?

So what do you think of the new layout as a viewer and/or channel owner?

Should YouTube have left well enough alone or do you like the new design?