Why Cover Images Matter

While your class cover image doesn’t have any impact on SEO, it does matter to students browsing Skillshare’s catalog. So give your cover image some thought — anticipate that students will judge your “book” by its cover before they decide to jump in!

In this article:

Choosing a Stand-out Cover Image

Your class cover should be a high-resolution, visually compelling image that clearly depicts what your class is about. Think about what message the image conveys about your class topic and how it connects to your teacher brand on Skillshare.

Having a hard time deciding what image will work best? Here are some suggestions, based on what we know about student preferences on Skillshare:

  • High-resolution images that depict close-up and/or nicely staged images of artwork from the class are excellent choices for cover images.
  • A high-quality headshot or still from one of your videos can work well too and may be the best option for classes that don’t have a creative, tangible project.
  • If you’re not an artist or designer and neither of the above options work, consider using a high-quality stock photo for your cover image. Try to choose an image that isn’t obviously a stock photo, and make sure it’s available for commercial use.

Still not sure? Pick a couple of options and ask friends or family which cover image is the most compelling and would want to make them sign up for the class!

Adding cover images to your other lessons is optional since they are only visible for a brief moment by viewers. If short on time, we recommend just focusing on crafting or selecting a visually-compelling class cover image instead.
Class cover images from Top Teachers Desdemona Dallas (1), Hallease Narvaez (2), and Iva Mikles (3).

Additional Guidelines for Cover Images

Follow these additional guidelines for cover images:

Use a 16:9 Ratio for Your Image

Crop your image to 1280x720 px to prevent your cover from appearing cropped or stretched.

Avoid Text and Icons

Keep it simple! Text and icons make cover images hard to read, especially when viewed as a thumbnail.

Be Mindful of Margins

Avoid placing important information too close to the edges or in the upper left corner — important if you're hoping for that Staff Pick badge.


Curate your cover images! As you publish more classes to Skillshare, think about how your class cover images work together as a set and how they augment your brand. For example, Top Teacher Vinitha Mammen consistently uses bright colors and simple layouts for the cover images in her illustration classes.


  • Unsplash, Pexels and Pixabay are great resources for free stock images. Make sure that the image is high-resolution, visually compelling, not an obvious stock photo, and cleared for commercial use.