“Make sure the game you are playing is bigger than your face,” Jarques Pretorius, Twitch designer.

The overlay you choose for your Twitch channel communicates crucial information about your brand. Most viewers will decide whether they like your channel in the first minute or two. According to the Twitch data team, 40 percent of follows happen during the first minute of a view. Since the overlay is one of the first things a visitor will see, it’s important to get it right.

During the TwitchCon session, “Your Brand on Twitch,” five designers shared tips for creating overlays that reflected the personality of the streamer and the value of his or her content.

Tip one: avoid information overload. Bryan Veloso, aka Avalonstar, likened the average Twitch viewer to the channel surfers of yesteryear. “It’s like you are flicking through TV,” he said. “You have less than five seconds to capture my attention.”

Do not ask newly arrived viewers to spend time digesting a lot of new information, he advised. “If it looks like I am going to have to take my time reading before focusing on the content then I am going to move on,” Avalonstar warned.

Celebrity streams like Sodapoppin and MANvsGame favor minimalist overlays.

manvsgame overlay

As you can see from the top image Sodapoppin represents himself in a room at his computer while MANvsGAME uses a green screen. In recent years, the use of green screens has taken off, but the designers at TwitchCon weren’t big fans. To them, the use of a green screen carried just a whiff of laziness. While green screens reduce distraction, they say nothing about you or your channel.

Tip two: Ask yourself, “am I doing this because it provides meaningful impact to my channel or because it looks good?” Veloso suggested.

Another approach is to marry yourself to your game. This offers the viewer the advantage of knowing what to expect. If they are looking to watch an expert speedrunner on Mario Maker or a master of Minecraft, the overlay lets them know they are in the right place. An example of a streamer who does this right is Iateyourpie, who is also the author of a helpful online guide to streaming. Check out how his overlay changes depending on whether he is playing Super Mario Maker or working on his Streambig.net website.

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Iateyour pie working on Streambig.net

Tip three: “When people come to your stream, they should be able to recognize why your brand is designed this way.”

Another pitfall that some streamers fall into is the desire to prominently feature themselves. Twitch is about personality, it is true, but community and gaming almost always take center stage. Not to single out Goobers515, who might be able to get away with it, but this is generally not what you want your stream to look like.

Tip four: “Make sure the game you are playing is bigger than your face,” said Jarques Pretorius.