How to Upload Your YouTube Channel Icon

By Rob Ciampa, Theresa Moore, John Carucci, Stan Muller, Adam Wescott

The default channel icon in YouTube is the blue box overlaying the left side of your banner art. It’s marginally okay, but nothing to write home about, so you’ll definitely want to replace it. When you have your icon all designed and ready, follow these easy steps to add the icon to your channel:

  1. Roll the mouse pointer over the large icon placeholder at the top of your page to make the familiar Pencil icon appear.

    Technically, the Pencil icon is referred to as the Edit Channel Icon button.

  2. Click the Edit Channel Icon button.

    Doing so brings up a dialog box informing you that your channel icon is also the icon for your Google+ page and that you need to go to your Google+ account to make the change.

  3. Click the Edit on Google+ button.

    This button brings you immediately to the Upload page on Google+.

  4. Select a photo using the Google+ dialog box that appears.

    As with most things related to YouTube and Google, you have a number of options for selecting a photo. Those options (displayed as a set of links along the top of the dialog box) are described in this list:

    • Upload: This option is the one you’re most likely to use. In the best‐case scenario, you’ve created an awesome custom icon that truly encapsulates and embodies the spirit of your channel. You can drag and drop a photo onto the dialog box or click the Select a Photo from Your Computer button and navigate to the location where the icon is stored on your computer.

    • Albums: If you select this option, you see a list of your Google+ photo albums. If you don’t have any, which is likely, you won’t use this option.

    • Photos of You: This area is also likely to be empty if your Google+ account is brand‐new since this section will only be populated with photos that you tagged on Google+ as showing yourself.

    • Web Camera: This option allows you to take a picture using your computer’s built‐in web camera (assuming it has one) and using that image as the icon.

      The Google+ dialog box for adding an icon to your channel.

      The Google+ dialog box for adding an icon to your channel.

    Don’t use a casual selfie as your icon if you are just starting out. A nicely designed logo looks more professional than a selfie. An exception is if your channel is a personality‐based vlog.

  5. After making your selection, click the Set As Profile Photo button.

    You’ll be prompted to post this change as a status update on Google+.

  6. Skip the Status Update step, close the Google+ page, and return to your YouTube page.

    Your new icon should be in place. If the icon isn’t showing up yet, you may need to refresh the browser window. The icon update can take up to 24 hours in some cases.