How to Make a YouTube Intro (Step by Step with Photos)

A strong YouTube intro is a vital tool for building your channel‘s brand and attracting subscribers. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to make an intro that captivates viewers.

What is a YouTube Intro and Why Does Your Channel Need One?

A YouTube intro is a short, branded clip that plays at the start of your videos. Typically 5-10 seconds long, the intro quickly establishes your channel‘s identity so viewers know whose content they‘re watching.

YouTube intros serve several important purposes:

  • Branding: The intro displays your logo, name, color scheme, and other branding elements. This builds familiarity and name recognition.
  • Professionalism: A polished intro signals production quality and establishes you as an authority in your niche.
  • Engagement: Intros grab attention with sound, motion, and visuals. This results in better viewer retention.
  • Subscriptions: You can include a clickable subscribe button to convert viewers into loyal fans.

In short, an intro makes a strong first impression and gives your amateur channel a more professional, memorable look.

Now let‘s examine exactly how to create an excellent YouTube intro from start to finish.

Software Options for Making YouTube Intros

The most important tool for crafting an intro is your video editing software. I evaluated several popular options based on ease of use, special effects, audio tools, pricing, and output quality:


  • Pros: Simple drag-and-drop interface, huge media library, free version available
  • Cons: Must pay to remove watermark

Adobe Spark

  • Pros: Fun themes and effects, integrated with other Adobe apps
  • Cons: Limited control without paying for Creative Cloud


  • Pros: No software to install, high-quality premade templates
  • Cons: Limited customization options in free version


  • Pros: Affordable one-time payment, great special effects
  • Cons: Steeper learning curve than Canva

Based on its combination of simplicity, customization, and output quality, I recommend Canva as the best free option for DIY YouTubers making their first intro. Let‘s look at how to use it effectively.

Step-by-Step: Designing Your Intro in Canva

Follow these steps to create a slick intro in Canva:

1. Create an Account and Login

Go to and click Sign Up. Follow the prompts to create your free account.

Once registered, click Log In to access Canva‘s editor.

Canva login page

Canva‘s login screen

2. Initialize Your Video Project

Click the large Create a Design button on your Canva dashboard. When the options appear, click Video to initialize a new video project.

In the bottom left, you can define your intro‘s length by dragging the lower handle of the timeline slider. For YouTube,intros between 5-10 seconds work best.

Setting video length in Canva

Set your intro‘s runtime by dragging the slider

3. Add Your Logo

Every YouTube intro should feature a logo identifying your brand. Click the Uploads tab on the left sidebar to upload your logo image file. Drag your logo onto the editing stage wherever you want it positioned.

You can also search Canva‘s huge media library for elements like icons and illustrations to supplement your logo. Drag these onto the stage as desired.

Canva design workspace

Customize your intro by adding visual elements

4. Include Text

Text is an easy way to brand your intro or direct viewers. Click the Text box on the left sidebar. Then click anywhere on stage to add a text field. You can customize the font, color, size, transparency and other text parameters.

Consider displaying:

  • Your channel, show or podcast name
  • Key descriptors related to your niche or content style
  • A friendly reminder to subscribe!

5. Animate and Transition Elements

Static visuals alone make for a boring intro. Add excitement by applying animations and transitions to your logo, text and more.

Click the element you want to animate, then click the sparkle icon above the stage. Select effects like fade, fly, bounce, spin and more. You can even make elements dynamically react to music.

Animating elements in Canva

Spice up your intro with custom animations

6. Insert Audio

An intro feels empty without sound. Canva‘s audio options let you insert free tracks from its stock music library or upload your own sound files. Consider upbeat background music or sound effects.

Find the audio controls by clicking: Elements > Audio

7. Add a Subscribe Button

Every YouTube intro needs a strong call to action – namely, pressing viewers to subscribe!

Create an eye-catching Subscribe button by clicking Uploads > Add New Image. Design your button in another graphics program, save it, then upload it to Canva. Position your button on screen.

For maximum impact, animate your button to pulse, pop or slide onto the screen.

Custom subscribe button

Prompt viewers to subscribe with a prominent, animated button

8. Preview and Export Your Intro

When finished, click Share and select Download or Export. Choose a file format compatible with your video editing software. Common YouTube intro formats are .MP4 or .MOV.

Before exporting, preview your intro using the Play button to ensure all elements display and transition smoothly.

Sharing options in Canva

Download your intro in a video file format

That covers the complete process for making a professional-grade intro in Canva! Next let‘s combine it with your YouTube videos.

How to Add Your Intro to YouTube Videos

You‘ve built a slick intro, but now you need to stick that intro at the head of all your vlogs, tutorials, gameplay videos and more.

I‘ll demonstrate how to easily merge your intro with existing footage using VideoProc video editing software for Windows and Mac.

VideoProc editing interface

#1 Download and Install VideoProc

Download VideoProc from the official website or your device‘s app store. Quickly install and launch the program.

#2 Import Your Intro and Video Files

In VideoProc‘s Media module, click +Video to add:

  1. Your newly rendered intro (in .MP4 format)
  2. The main YouTube video you want to attach it to

Both clips will load side-by-side into VideoProc‘s video timeline after import. You can trim or rearrange both pieces as needed.

#3 Merge the Intro & Video

With your clips prepped, navigate to the Toolbox module. Under Join, click the Merge tool to combine your intro and main video into a single extended video.

Define your desired Video Format for the merged output file (I recommend MP4 or MOV for YouTube). Then click RUN to render your combined video complete with intro!

Merging intro & video in VideoProc

Easily prepend your intro to any video with VideoProc‘s merge tool

When the operation completes, access your finished video from the Export tab. Then head to YouTube Studio to upload it!

#4 Upload and Preview on YouTube

Over in YouTube Studio, upload your merged video file with intro attached from your computer‘s storage.

During processing, your intro and call-to-action will be permanently baked into the start of this single video file. Verify it plays properly after YouTube finishes scanning and encoding the footage.

Video with intro on YouTube

Share away – your videos will now display your slick custom intro as soon as they start playing!

Enabling Clickable Subscribe Buttons

As a final touch, let‘s set viewer Subscribe buttons in your intro to actually subscribe new fans to your channel with one click.

By enabling YouTube‘s branded content tools, your intro‘s Subscribe button can directly trigger subscriptions without leaving your video.

Branded subscribe button example

Clickable subscribe buttons keep viewers engaged

Follow these steps:

1. Create & Download Your Subscribe Button

First, design your vibrant Subscribe button in your graphics editor of choice. Export the image and save it to your computer for uploading.

YouTube recommends sizing overlay images to 150×150 pixels. An icon-style button around this size works perfectly.

2. Visit YouTube Studio

Now login to YouTube and navigate to the backend YouTube Studio. Access it from the icon menu in the top-right of any YouTube page.

3. Open Branding Settings

In Studio, click Customization in the left menu. Then choose Branding from the top tab menu.

4. Enable Video Watermark

Under branding settings, locate the Video Watermark upload tool. Click Upload and select your prepared subscribe button image.

Check the box to display your watermark as an overlay inside videos.

5. Set Custom Timer

Lastly, under Appearance choose a Custom Timer to make your subscribed button appear and disappear.

Set the overlay duration to match your intro‘s length. For instance, set 8 seconds if your intro runs 8 seconds.

Confirm settings and click Publish in the top-right. YouTube will now overlay your clickable subscribe call-to-action during your intro!

Additional Tips for Creating Great YouTube Intros

Beyond the core tutorial, here are some pro tips for making intros that convert viewers:

Fine-tune with video editing software

While Canva covers the basics, use advanced tools like keyframes and filters in Filmora or Premiere Pro to polish your intro.

Include your channel icon

Edit your channel icon into the intro to build familiarity. This visual branding trains viewers to recognize your icon out of the corner of their eye as they scroll through suggested videos.

Experiment with templates

Save time by customizing Canva‘s video intro templates instead of designing from scratch. Subscribe to Envato Elements for a treasure trove of professional templates.

Direct viewers to playlists or popular videos

Consider overlaying annotations or cards suggesting your best content for newcomers to explore next.

A/B test intro length

Try multiple intro lengths, then check YouTube Analytics to see if shorter or longer intros better retain viewers.

Add interactive elements

Spark comments and shares by prompting viewers to answer a quick question via on-screen graphic.

Offer value right away

Rather than pure branding, explain directly in the intro what the viewer will gain from watching your video.

Continue optimizing based on view duration reports. A tight intro that builds intrigue is the key to viewer retention!

FAQs About Making and Using YouTube Intros

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about getting started with intros:

Can I add an intro to an already uploaded YouTube video?

Unfortunately no – once a video is published on YouTube, you can‘t retroactively insert an intro without deleting and reuploading. Avoid having to start from scratch by adding intros before making videos publicly visible.

How do I remove the Canva watermark without paying?

Canva‘s free version adds a subtle watermark to designs. But by exporting your intro as an MP4 video file rather than a static image, your dynamic motion intro won‘t show an overlay watermark.

What‘s an optimal intro length?

Industry best practices dictate shooting for 5-10 seconds max. You want enough time to make an impression, without dragging on too long to bore viewers. Always prioritize quality over quantity!

Can I create an end screen/outro using the same tools?

Absolutely! The same principles for intro creation apply when making engaging end screens to help retain viewers across multiple videos.

So expand your branding efforts to bookend videos for maximum impact. Just stick to the shorter end (5 sec) for outros to avoid interrupting organic auto-play.

Well executed YouTube intros set the tone for creative videos that attract, engage and inspire your target audience. Equip yourself for channel success by applying the steps in this guide.

Now you‘re ready to greet visitors with a bold intro that makes amateur efforts look dull by comparison!

The countdown until your breakout first viral video starts now. Have fun, get creative, and let me know if you have any other questions down in the comments!

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