Usually when I want to put a video of mine onto my website, I import the video straight from my computer files and into the site. However, as I was trying to do this with the opening title (Catch Me If You Can) I made on After Effects, it would not show up correctly or play, so I decided to do what a lot of people have found easier and create a YouTube channel for my college (and other) projects.
I definitely think this will be better in the long run as, even if I don’t make some of my videos public, it will have all of them in one place and make it a lot simpler to put onto my website.
As I was in the process of starting my channel, I thought it would be a bit bare if I left it without a logo or banner. The logo was quick to do as I already had one, but the banner was another story. First of all, I looked on channels that I am a fan of to see what they have and if they were any good, but it didn’t give me much inspiration. Googling examples was the next best option, soon stumbling onto this adorable banner:
While writing this, I found out that this is a real production company with a great website but more importantly, a great banner! I was immediately drawn to it because of the cat logo, and further, the dark, simple design. Looking at it closer, the font seems to fit perfectly and gives it a sort of hand-made feel, while the text sizes and colour make the parts they want you to focus on, very prominent. The background sets the mood and looks amazing doing it. I took all my inspiration from this one image, loaded up Photoshop and began making one myself.
In the banners that I was drawn to when collecting examples, they were always simple, with a subtle yet pretty backgrounds and solid logo/brand name in the middle. It’s such an easy but effective way of drawing in attention and capturing what the creator of the channel is like. When I stumbled upon the image I ended up using for mine, I got immediately inspired by the dreamy atmosphere it gives off.
To make sure my image fit correctly, I looked up the best dimensions for YouTube banners – most people were saying 2560×1440 pixels. I drafted something in that size, that looked like this:
After uploading it onto my channel, it wasn’t really close to fitting well for the desktop view, so I sized down the logo and text until it did.
Even though I had designed and saved a logo before this, importing it into Photoshop made it appear very jagged and blurry. I decided to create a new version by tracing the original with the shape and pen tools, which was quite a lengthy process but it came out with great, clean results that I can use in the future. To begin, I thought using the selection tool and filling it with colour would be the best option, but it caused a few issues including colour being blurred and appearing outside the selection, that I wasn’t able to fix. The shape tool for the circles worked really well but because I was using Photoshop instead of Illustrator, a few design tools were missing.
The Path Finder tool is amazing for creating logos as it allows you cut out areas of a shape, but is only available in Illustrator. I thought I could get around this by installing an extension for Photoshop that made it available for that program. This didn’t help at all and just caused more problems as it did not work like in Illustrator. In the end, I got the right result from selecting the shape on a layer, clicked onto the layer I wanted to cut a section out of, then pressed the ‘delete’ key. This way was so much easier – I could make large selections by adding to it from different layers and cut them out all at once.
After uploading the banner and seeing it on my page, I decided to add a black-transparent gradient from the bottom, stopping after my name, much like the inspiration photo. This definitely made it a bit more dynamic and looks a more connected to the channel page, especially if the user has their site set to ‘dark theme’.
I learned a lot about design and branding from this experience and enjoyed being able to put the skills I’ve acquired from Digital Skills into practice. Now I have a place that I can store my projects and experiments that’s easy to access and put onto my website.