How to Choose the Best Thumbnail Backgrounds for Your Videos

Best Video Thumbnail Backgrounds

We’ve talked a lot about how to create the best video thumbnails for your social media content here at Snappa, looking at design, subject, and graphic elements that you should include.

One thing we haven’t talked a lot about (but which is just as important) is the background that you choose for those video thumbnails.

The background you choose for your video thumbnails can be just as important as the other design elements you add to it. It can help your video stand out, or it can result in the thumbnail being watered down to the point where you could lose clicks and views as a result.

In this post, we’re going to discuss how to choose the best thumbnail backgrounds for your social videos, including offering specific suggestions for a few key industries.

What Are The Best Thumbnail Backgrounds for Video Images?

In many cases, video thumbnails have a few key design elements layered one on top of another. This includes thumbnail font, supporting graphics or images (including screenshots or photographs), and a generic background.

In this example, you’ve got the text detailing the video’s title, the subject of the video and the supporting image of the cake, and the neutral light blue background.

thumbnail background example

When you’re asking about the best thumbnail backgrounds for any images, the answer is simple: You want to choose simple backgrounds that enhance the image instead of distracting from it. In many cases, the ideal background will be a subtle pattern, a single color, or even a blurred image.

Let’s look at a few examples. Here, we’ve got solid black, contrasting with the white and yellow text. There’s a thin picture of homes in the margin of the image, adding some visual interest without making the image completely overwhelming as a thumbnail.

real estate video thumbnail

Here’s another from Facebook. A simple, clean pattern like white tiled walls are used here so that the product really takes center stage in the video image. This is a great demonstration of how a simple pattern can elevate an image instead of detracting from it.

product video thumbnail background

How to Choose Thumbnail Backgrounds

When you’re creating your image and video thumbnails, it’s always a good idea to use a graphic design tool like Snappa. Our drag-and-drop design tool makes it easy for you to layer backgrounds, graphics, text, and more to create professional-quality content for your social media branding. We also have a seemingly endless library of background colors, images, and patterns that you can add to any image of your choice.

First, consider what you want your thumbnail to say to viewers, and what images or text you want to amplify.

best thumbnail backgrounds

You can add a clean-but-rustic feel to a video thumbnail with faint wood-like patterns, like you can see below. Note that we’re choosing a simple, non-obtrusive pattern; some of the brighter, bolder patterns that naturally have high contrasting colors within the pattern itself typically aren’t going to be a good choice.

patterned thumbnail backgrounds for videos

Test out different colors and image textures, seeing what jumps at you.

It’s also important to keep your specific branding in mind. If you’re creating a uniform look for all of your videos within a certain playlist, for example, you’ll want to choose a relatively neutral background that will work well with all the videos you’re planning to create for the series.

Industry-Specific Suggestions for Thumbnail Backgrounds to Consider

It’s only natural that a real estate company is going to go for different aesthetics than a mortgage broker, a gaming company, and a B2B marketing agency. While the aesthetic you’re going for is completely up to you, take a look at a few of our suggestions for great thumbnail backgrounds to consider based on your industry, all sourced from our library at Snappa.

Real Estate & Interior Design

Real estate, home decoration, and interior design brands should consider creating thumbnails with simple, clean background images that are relevant to the content that they’re creating.

In the two examples below, the dominant portions of the images are on one side of the image, allowing you plenty of room to add text overlay for the video’s title. Choosing the simple background images is still key here, though; if the images get too busy, it likely won’t convert as well into clicks and views.

real estate thumbnail images


The gaming industry is often filled with bold, vibrant colors and patterns designed to attract attention. You can go a little more “out there” with these thumbnail backgrounds as long as they’re not looking cluttered and the background isn’t detracting from the thumbnail itself.

For this industry, we’ve got two examples to consider. One is a simple black pattern that contrasts with the graphic x-box symbol that users are familiar with. The second is a photograph of a controller over a textured wood background. The latter is perfect if you want a ready-made thumbnail, and don’t want to add any (or many) extra graphics to it.

backgrounds for gaming videos


The fashion industry can get away with vibrant, bright colors and interesting textures in their thumbnail backgrounds that may be more difficult to pull off for other brands.

Here are two examples of bright, interesting colors and patterns that can be used to attract attention to your thumbnail while still making it easy for the user to focus on the content itself.

fashion video backdrop

Healthy Living

Whether you’re promoting exercise, meditation, better sleep, or healthy eating, brands centering around health and wellness often benefit from using lighter, softer aesthetics. Think whites, light greens, and soft blues (or what I like to call “spa colors”).

Consider this when designing your thumbnails, choosing neutral backgrounds that will help a key image pop, or opting for a mostly-white-with-bright-fruits-or-veggies styled imagelike in the second example here.

fitness backdrop for social media videos thumbnail backgrounds

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of outstanding backgrounds that you can choose for your image and video thumbnails, so it’s a good idea to take some time, click through some of your options, and see what resonates with you. While doing this, you’ll want to do a few things:

  • Make sure that you’re creating a thumbnail image in right dimensions. A Facebook video thumbnail does not have the same dimensions as a YouTube video thumbnail. (Fortunately, Snappa’s ready-to-go thumbnail templates can help with this.)
  • Download the image and view it at a small size. Does it look great in a smaller size on your desktop? What about mobile? Look with fresh eyes, and see if it still looks great when it’s scaled down, because this is how your audience will see it.
  • Ensure that the backgrounds you’re choosing aligns with your overall profile or channel branding. If your channel as a modern, high-tech look but you’re choosing floral-inspired backgrounds, there may be a disconnect. It’s important to establish consistent branding across the board.

As you’re testing out different thumbnail backgrounds and designs, use Snappa’s extensive library of images, colors, and patterns to see what you love most! You can start your free trial here!

What do you think? How do you choose thumbnail backgrounds that work well for you? What do your thumbnails look like? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!