Valeria Santalla is a marketer and content writer that loves to create useful content for small businesses. She currently collaborates at Placeit, one of the largest logo makers and design template libraries on the internet.
You might have just recently created a streaming channel, or maybe you’re thinking of starting one. The problem is, how to make your channel standout from your competitors, after all there has been an explosion in the number of streamers on Twitch alone, nevermind other platforms such as YouTube.
The elements that will have the biggest impact on the success of your stream is the content itself, how you present yourself on camera (hopefully in a confident way), and your audio quality!
Beyond that it’s vitally important to choose the right graphics and visual elements for your stream to attract new viewers, create a loyal and engaged audience, and build a successful brand.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to do just that.
Why stream graphics matter
Put simply, stream graphics are a visual representation of you and your brand.
They should convey the look and feel you’re going for with your stream, help viewers easily get a sense of what you’re all about, and most importantly they should complement your content (not be your content). Keep that in mind when you’re creating your own graphics.
They’re also really important when it comes to the following areas:
- Getting people to click to watch your videos and live streams
- Getting viewers to engage (or feel engaged) whilst they are watching your streams
- Getting viewers to subscribe and become loyal fans
- Building brand recognition
- Getting potential sponsors on board
A lot of new streamers often make some classic mistakes when they’re just starting out such as diving straight into creating graphics for their stream without a strategy in place.
Before you start working on your brand graphics you need to do a few things first. Let’s dive into them.
Step 1: Choose your stream topic and target audience
Before you start creating the visual elements of your stream you first need to choose (and research) your target audience to see what attracts and engages them.
You need to think about the end consumer, their wants, needs, desires, and deliver that content (and create the right graphics to support your efforts).
Why should you choose your target audience?
You might be asking, why shouldn’t I just create the content and hope people show up to watch my streams and subscribe? Here are a few reasons why you choose a target audience:
- The most successful channels build a close knit community with a common interest or goal. You want people to come to your stream and feel like it was made for them (so they subscribe!)
- It helps you to define a brand to attract that audience
- It allows you to more easily make decisions as you know who they are for
- It helps you promote your channel as you know who you’re trying to reach
- You can attract and identify sponsors to work with that are a good match your target audience
The first step in identifying a target audience is to decide what content you’re going to create first. To do this (and this may sound a bit cheesy) you need to first know yourself in order to understand what content you’ll thrive in creating.
Ask yourself the following questions to do this:
- Has anything happened to you in your life that you can share learnings from?
- What do you consistently research and show a regular interest in?
- What are you an authority on? Maybe you’ve worked in a specific job role for a long time?
- What streamers and YouTube channels/topics do you find yourself regularly watching?
- What are your major passions in life? What do you feel like your purpose is?
Answering these questions can help you understand the unique value you have to offer and part of your personality you can use to create a stream that will stand out from the crowd!
Once you’ve established some potential stream topics you can look into your potential target audience for those topics to see if they’re viable.
Check Topic Viability
To check the viability of a topic you can check a few things:
- Is there competition? — If there are a good number of streamers already focused on the topic, then that’s a good sign as it likely means it’s a popular topic and that other people have been able to build audiences around it. You just need to find your unique angle within it.
- Keyword research — Look at the search volume for search terms related to your topic to see if there is a good level of interest in it. You can get this information with a tool like Ubersuggest or at least look at the interest in the topic over time with a tool such as Google Trends.
- Related YouTube channels & blogs — Similar to the first point, if there are there related blogs or YouTube channels on the topic then it’s more confirmation that there’s a good level of interest in it.
- Forums / Message Boards / Groups — Check to see if there are forums on your topic or a SubReddit or Facebook groups, etc. Again if that’s the case then you’ve definitely got a potential audience to reach.
- Popular games — If you’re looking to start a gaming channel, check out what’s popular on Twitch and YouTube.
If you’re just getting started out and don’t have a following yet, you can still do some more research on your potential target audience, here’s how:
- SubReddits — Check these to see what discussions, questions and issues are being highlighted often by target audience
- Social groups (e.g. Discord, Facebook, etc.) — Similar to the SubReddits, check these to see what discussions are going on to get some insights into your audience and how you could create something attractive to them with your stream and stream graphics
- YouTube channels and videos — A great place to get insights into your target audience is the comments section on relevant YouTube videos to your topic. It’s a great place to see the kind of
- Amazon reviews — Another great way to get audience insights is to look at the review sections of products on Amazon that are related to your topic to get a better understanding of who you’re trying to target.
If you’ve already built up a decent sized audience already, you can simply start things off by looking into what kind of people you’ve already attracted to your stream, and to get more information from them such as:
- What age they are
- What do they have in common
- What content could you create that would entertain them or solve their problems?
- What attracted them to your stream
- What visuals elements or graphics would they engage with
If you can get some feedback from your existing audience then this can help you to create a strategy for your content and graphics to attract more people like them.
Step 2: Create a brand strategy
Building your brand takes a long time, it’s not a race. You shouldn’t expect to nail it straight away but at the very least thinking strategically from the start can help you avoid having to make major changes in the future. That’s why having a brand strategy (even a basic one to begin with) is essential.
At this point you should have some good insights into your audience or target audience so you can plan what content you can create to give them value.
You can also plan out what graphics you are going to need to bring them to your stream and engage them. So the next step is to create a branding strategy to inform the creation of these graphics.
When you’re creating a brand strategy you need to think about ways you can differentiate yourself from the competition but also attract your target audience, to do that you’ll need to at least plan out some of the basics including:
- Brand (Stream) name
- Your logo or icon
- Color palette
- Core message (e.g. a four to seven word phrase that can describe what you’re all about, and the value people can get from engaging with your brand)
- Your general style (e.g. Playful, futuristic, minimalist, etc.)
Once you've planned out these elements it allows you to create your stream graphics and ensure they have a consistent look and feel across all your platforms and profiles.
Research other streamers
Look at your main competitors or your favourite streamers (or both) and take inspiration from the different elements they have on their stream and how they are utilizing the visual and graphical elements.
Things such as their logo or icon, main messaging, use of color, panels, overlays, stream transitions and more.
There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other streamers (especially when you’re just getting started), just don’t copy them. Get inspired and create something unique for your channel.
Be aware of current stream design trends
Another important thing to do is keep on top of the latest trends in stream design, and use them to inspire the initial (and continued) development of your brand and stream graphics.
Stream design trends have gone from boring unprofessional looking streams being the norm to over the top, loud and busy streams to now a more minimal and simple design that puts more focus on the content.
So try and keep your finger on the pulse of stream design trends to ensure your brand is evolving in the right direction.
Step 3: Get your stream graphics
You’ve now researched your target audience and planned out a basic branding strategy to attract them. It’s now time for you to create your graphics!
We’ll only do a quick runthrough of this in this article but if you need more detail check out our full guide on how to customize your stream.
What are the most essential graphics when you’re starting out?
When you’re just getting started, these are the graphics and visuals you need to give your channel a unique look, and your audience a great experience:
- Overlays — These are graphics that sit on top of your stream footage. They come in a whole variety of styles, shapes and colors and are used to engage your audience. Common examples are webcam frames, chat boxes, and stream information. You can make your overlays as simple or as complex as you want but make sure to have your audience experience in mind at all times.
- Logo — Your logo needs to reflect what you and your brand are all about in as simple a way as possible. For example, if you’re creating content around horror games or military games it should be quite easy to capture this in your logo. Think about your brand and target audience and create a logo to match.
- Panels — Your Twitch panels are there to show your viewers all the extra information about your channel and direct them to things that are important to you such as an about section, community guidelines, merch store, social profiles, donations, and more.
- Stream screens — These are ‘scenes’ that appear over your stream when there’s a change or a transition for example there are Be Right Back (BRB) screens, Offline screens, and Intermission screens. They’re important for keeping your viewers engaged even if you’re not live streaming.
- Channel banner — This is displayed at the top of your Twitch channel page and is a good opportunity to showcase your brand and what you offer viewers. It should be consistent in style with the rest of your stream.
More advanced graphics to invest in
To take your stream and audience engagement to the next level and build some loyal followers you should invest in the following:
- Merch designs
- Social media callouts
How do you create your graphics?
When it comes to creating graphics you have four options:
- Use online design tools — such as logo makers and overlay makers to do the heavy lifting for you
- Hire a designer — website like Upwork and Fiverr are great for finding freelancers to work with
- Buy pre-made stream packages — from providers such OWN3D or Nerd or Die
- Design them yourself — if you have the design skills with Adobe Photoshop or After Effects you could create your own
Don’t forget about your other online presences (beyond Twitch)
Remember you can also build your brand on other platforms and bring people from those other platforms to your stream. Ensuring they have the same brand experience across all your platforms is going to create a much more powerful experience.
When we talk about other platforms we’re talking about other streaming platforms you can multistream to such as YouTube and Facebook, and your social profiles too.
Heck, even if you’re someone that’s built a video game blog and are looking to further engage your audience, pushing them to your stream using email marketing works as well.
Step 4: Analyze what’s working
Whatever platforms you’re streaming on it’s vital you dive into the analytics to see what’s working. You can get some great insights from your Twitch channel analytics into what content performs best on your channel in engaging your audience.
Also be sure to keep track of your performance when you introduce new or updated graphic and visual elements into your stream to see what impact they’re having.
Always look at what’s working and do more of what works and more of what your audience loves. That way everyone wins!
Remember, you can use all the flashy stream graphics you want but if you’re content or the way you present and engage the audience isn’t up to scratch then they aren’t going to matter for much.
Sort out the content first, and then follow the steps in this guide to create a great looking stream to add to the whole experience. The combination of those things will give you a great chance of being successful as a streamer.