Thumbnails are an important aspect of a game’s ability to spread virally. If nobody likes your thumbnail, they aren’t going to bother to click on it and play your game.
Here are 10 common mistakes people make in their game thumbnails, and what you should do instead:
- Using flash to export the image for your thumbnail. Flash does have the option for exporting images, but when you use it, the quality tends to be grainy. A much better way to export the image for your thumbnail is to use a screen capture and import it into your favorite image editing program, like GIMP or Photoshop.
- Including text in your thumbnail. People are going to see the title of your game next to the thumbnail anyways. Including it in the thumbnail is just a waste of space. Use that space to show what your game is about.
- Trying to fit the whole screen into your thumbnail. If you try to do this, the gameplay will be too small to even see. Instead, just include a portion of the screen showing what the gameplay is like.
- Not making your thumbnail in multiple sizes and formats. You never know what size a site will require. Even if they say that their program will resize it, it’s not going to look as good as if you make one specifically for that size.
- Using dull colors. Dull colors are just going to be overlooked among hundreds of other possible choices. Instead, use bright colors that will stand out against the crowd.
- Not taking advantage of Photoshop or GIMP’s editing tools. They have advanced tools for a reason. Use those tools to improve the graphics in the thumbnail.
- Using low contrast colors. They will start to blend together at small sizes, which isn’t something you want when trying to make your thumbnail stand out.
- Having a cluttered thumbnail. Don’t put too much into a thumbnail. People won’t know where to look or what is going in. Keep it simple.
- Using too much blood and gore in the thumbnail. Some sites try to keep their games kid friendly. A thumbnail like that is going to make them skip right over adding your game to their site. So try to keep the thumbnail appropriate.
- Not testing it before you start using it. Before you start using that thumbnail you’ve made, test it out. Show it to your friends or family and ask if it is something that would catch their attention. If they think it could use more work, then it’s back to the drawing board. If they like it, then you’ve made yourself a great thumbnail. Nice job!