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Dean Marsden

Creating & Optimising A New YouTube One Channel Design

4th Jul 2013 Social Media, Video Marketing 7 minutes to read

Laura in the KitchenAt the beginning of June, YouTube rolled out its new One Channel Design which is designed to carry across your channel branding and design on all different user devices. Channel art is now shown the same on iOS, Android and TV apps. There are also other benefits to channel publishers such as the ability to show a ‘trailer’ video to everyone who visits your channel that isn’t subscribed, plus showing off your videos and playlists is also a lot clearer on the channel.

With these new features, YouTube is claiming to have seen increases in subscribers, more channel visits and better brand recognition across different devices. This all sounds great for Channel Owners, so much so that you don’t have a choice whether to upgrade to the new design or not. YouTube will automatically upgrade all channels. This means your channel design and settings may not be carried across to the new One Channel design.

Here’s a new guide I’ve put together for creating a YouTube Channel from scratch which is also helpful for everyone who needs to update their channel design for the new layout if they would have been updated automatically.

Please note, when creating a new channel for a business be aware that the Google account you are logged in with will always be linked to the YouTube Channel. You cannot change the associated Google account with your YouTube channel at a later date. If needed create a new Google account just for your YouTube profiles so that others can administer it.

Creating a Channel

Let’s start at the beginning. You should be logged into YouTube with your Google account. Once logged in, click on your profile picture in the top right to access your options.

Sign in and choose options

Within this drop down of options, choose My Channel. Please note that if your account has already been linked to a Google+ profile then this list will appear differently.

Choose my channel

In this page you should get a pop up asking to confirm the name of the channel. You likely want to set this to your business name, so choose the link to do so as highlighted in the picture.

Choosing to use a business name

Enter your desired channel name. Unfortunately previously used and deleted channel names cannot be reused.

choose a channel name

Welcome to your new channel.

New channel

If you have created a personal channel and didn’t have a Google+ profile then this will have now been created automatically for you. Yes it’s cheeky, but Google really wants to have everyone link their YouTube with Google+ to boost video sharing and discovery.

Channel Design & Optimisation

The next step for users with a new channel or the first step for those that have just had their existing channel upgraded automatically is to add the branding to the channel.

Channel Icon

Let’s start with the channel icon. This appears alongside your channel name wherever you leave comments or post videos, etc. This needs to be a square graphic of up to 800px by 800px in dimensions. The higher the resolution, the better (even though it gets scaled down).

Be careful to keep any text in the icon readable when it appears at its smallest size throughout YouTube pages. It’s a good idea that the icon does a good job of describing your channel whether with words or through pictures so that potential fans can get an idea of what your channel is about before visiting it.

The simplest way to change your channel icon is to hover over it on your channel page and click on the pen icon.

Edit channel icon

Another way to do it is to click on your account profile picture in the top right to access your account options. Choose ‘Settings’, then in here click on ‘Change’ under the image.

Clicking on the pen icon or ‘Change’ will bring up the pop up window to choose and upload a new image. As mentioned before, make sure the image is especially created to stand out and describe your channel.

Upload channel icon

Channel Art

Much like a Google+ page or Facebook page, you can add a cover image that will appear at the top of your channel design. The dimensions for this are 2560px by 1440px so it is a large and slightly awkward image to create. I recommend either keeping it a simple pattern or featuring a photo or character(s) from your video to make it more personal. Adding branding or a logo the same as in your icon makes it look a little bit repetitive.

To update your channel art:

Hover over the channel art banner to reveal the pen icon in the top right. Click on this icon.

Edit channel art icon

Clicking on this pen icon will reveal two options, one to add edit links and the other to edit channel art, choose the second.

Edit channel art link

This will bring up the picture upload pop up which is just the same as in Google+. So if you have an image on your Google account that you want to use already you can choose this.

A vital thing to remember is that YouTube changes the way this image is displayed on different devices. So on some screens they will display the whole image whilst on others they will only show a rectangular part.

They will show you a preview of how this will look when you upload the image so be sure to check you are happy with the way it is displayed on each device.

Channel Links

With the new channel design the links you add appear at the top of the channel in the banner. Previously, only some users had the ability to post links in the header section using custom HTML code, which had been replaced by this change which is open to all. This seems the logical place to have links to your other social media profiles and to your own website.

Koozai YouTube channel links

To add links to your profile, rollover the channel art image to reveal the pen and click on the option within the menu that pops up.  Alternatively you can click on the ‘About’ tab of your channel to edit your profile including the links

About section

In the add links panel, you can add multiple website links but only the first can be set to appear on the channel art image. You can also add lots of social profile links, with up to the first four being shown in your channel art banner. There are all these social profiles to choose from:

Social link options

Channel Description

Whilst you are in this section, you should next add a channel description or if your description has been passed from the old channel design then review and update it. Click on the + Channel description button to enter a description or if you already have a description then just click anywhere on the description text itself.

When writing a new channel description be aware that the first part of the description will appear across YouTube so highlight the most important part in the beginning to capture user interest and describe the your channel.

Be sure to include relevant keywords in your description, for example on the Koozai channel we include our service keywords “A channel devoted to digital marketing with videos on SEO, PPC, branding, social networks and more.”.

If you have a schedule of new videos then include it in the description. This way users will be more inclined to check back when you post new video content.

Channel Trailer

The Trailer feature is a new addition to the One Channel design and means that any users that aren’t subscribed to your channel are presented with a special video you have posted to attract new subscribers.

A good trailer video is likely to be short, show exactly what your channel does best and include an audio or visual call to action.

If you don’t enable the trailer video option then unsubscribed users will just see your latest videos.

Featured Channels

On your own channel you have the option to enter links to other featured YouTube channels that interest you. You can add links to the URLs of featured channels via the ‘About’ page of your channel.

Why would you want to link to other peoples channels? Well it shows a sense of participation in the YouTube community and these channel owners may also link to your channel.

Most YouTube users find videos through suggestions when watching other videos so the more interaction with other channels you have the greater the chances of your channel earning referral views. YouTube automatically shows related channels but it’s still worth engaging with other channels directly.

For other tips on how to get more views to your YouTube channel, the tips in this blog post  also apply to the new channel design.

YouTube One Channel Design Examples

Get inspired by these examples of YouTube One Channel designs.


A nice example of a large brand using their channel to highlight amazing content created through their products. Their channel also features a trailer/featured video for their latest product.

GoPro channel

Laura in the Kitchen

Laura’s channel describes exactly what it offers well and features a trailer video as an introduction

Laura in the kitchen channel


Their channel features an introductory video trailer and channel art banner image with description.

Indy Mogul

If you have seen other good examples of YouTube One channels please leave them below.

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