June 10, 2024

Mastering stream layouts and live streaming graphics

Our guide to creating a great live streaming overlay

How can stream layouts help attract more viewers and sponsors? Find out why you need live streaming graphics, and how to live stream with great overlays.

An attractive stream layout attracts more viewers and sponsors, and strengthens your brand recognition. However, do fancy live streaming graphics offer more than visual appeal? What makes a good streaming layout? This blog explores why every streamer needs good stream overlays, and how you can set up your own stream graphics.

What is a stream overlay? 

Stream overlays are graphics or stylized information that lies over a live video stream, usually as a stream layout that frames the broadcast. A streaming layout can include images, text, the streamer’s webcam feed, animated graphics, and a range of other interactive elements. 

A good stream layout offers both functionality and aesthetics. There are a wide range of uses for streaming overlays depending on how and why you stream. Live streaming graphics organize your display area, provide transitions between scenes, and display important information such as sponsor logos and social media details. From displaying football game scores to thanking new subscribers and followers, stream overlays can help you connect to your audience and deliver additional information.

Do I need a stream layout?

There are streamers who prefer to stream with raw footage, foregoing layouts and graphics. While this works for streamers who have a cult following, the average gaming streamer or podcast host might need a little more to attract their audience. 

A stream layout helps your live stream stand out from the crowd and catch your audience’s attention. For example, when streaming sites that don’t allow thumbnails for live streams, a good stream layout stands out and encourages viewers to click on your stream. Moreover, for professional content like news, sports, or podcasts, implementing a streaming layout adds structure and polish to your live stream. 

How do I make a great stream layout?

Here are some of our top tips for mastering stream layouts:

  • Know your content and target audience. Before you start building a new stream layout, think about your main focus and objectives. If you’re live streaming gaming, flashy animations might distract your viewers from gameplay. Similarly, if you’re streaming a sports event, you might want only a simple banner to keep score or share interesting facts about the teams competing. 
  • Stay consistent. Decide on the colors, fonts and styles that form the building blocks of your brand, and then stick to those designs. Repetition of a theme in your content helps to strengthen your brand image.
  • Don’t overcrowd your streams. Animated overlays are fun, but having too many elements can cause your screen to look overly busy and cramped. 
  • Use high quality stream graphics. Always test your overlays to see if they look good on different devices. Keep an eye on sizing, blurriness, and stretching.

Starting from scratch vs. hiring an expert

When designing a static stream layout, you should generally use a PNG file to allow for transparency. Stream overlays should also be compatible with the specific streaming software you’re using – whether you’re uploading via Streamlabs or OBS – and should match the dimensions of the platform. 

For example, Twitch overlays need to be 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels high. There are several great tutorials created by users on how to build your streaming layout from scratch using design tools like Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, Canva, and more. 

Of course, designing your own custom stream layout is time-consuming and requires good graphic design skills. It can be more convenient to have someone else do the heavy lifting. Full-time streamers often pay an artist or freelancer to create custom-tailored, premium streaming layouts. However, this option is usually very expensive, especially for streamers just starting out.

A headache-free stream layout 

If starting from scratch or hiring an expert don’t work, there is a third option: ready-to-use overlays that you can just plug in and use. uno’s range of free overlays offer hundreds of options. Get your stream layout and start live streaming in a few simple steps:

  1. Add a stream layout to your account.
  2. Customize text, colors, logos and more. 
  3. Simply paste your output URL into your streaming service and go live!

You can trigger your overlays in real time from anywhere via desktop, tablet and mobile phone, and with tools like Stream Deck with our plugin – all for free! Start browsing and get your custom stream layout today.

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