I want to make my own banner/button. Where do I start?

This is a very popular question. To answer it, I’m going to point you in several different directions because there are a few things you need to consider and remember as you make your banners and buttons.

First, please don’t forget that you should not use someone else’s artwork without their express permission. There are many sites that offer free or reasonably-priced artwork. We’ve listed a few of those sites already. In addition, Microsoft.com has lots of free clipart you can use.

Second, you will need some sort of graphic editing software. Unless you are a professional graphic designer, Photoshop is probably more powerful than you need (not to mention wicked expensive!). However, Adobe offers Photoshop Elements–a watered-down, but very functional version of Photoshop–for a reasonable price. PaintShop Pro (by Corel) is another way to go. You can download a trial version for free, then purchase if you like it. You can also use whatever graphics program came with your computer (e.g., Microsoft Paint).

If you just want a pre-made button with custom content, you can do that easily. This article lists a few sites to help you out. A word of caution: blinking, moving, crazy buttons are fun for you the first few times, but they are not crowd-pleasers. Try to control yourself. You’ll thank me later.

If you want to start from scratch, you’ll need to decide on the dimensions of your banner or button. Jules of Everyday Designs has written a post for us that is a good place to start. The standard for measuring graphics (i.e., banners and buttons) online is a pixel. The best thing to do is start with Jules’ article, try your own, and edit from there. It’s trial and error until you are used to working with graphics.

I have found two tutorials for you to peruse to get yourself up and running with a banner (just make the dimensions smaller or crop your image to make a button).

  1. The first tutorial is hosted at Design Mom and was written by Amy M. It has lots of screen shots and walks you through everything you need to know.
  2. The second tutorial is hosted at Etsy Labs. It’s not quite as thorough as the tutorial mentioned above, but I think you’ll get the idea.

A good size for a button is roughly 150×150 pixels. Most sidebars are about 200 pixels wide. If you want to ensure that your button works with most blogs, 150×150 should get you where you’re going.

8 Responses

  1. JanMary, N Ireland February 6, 2008 / 1:54 am

    Thanks for this answer with all these links. I have been blogging for nearly a year, and have yet to create a customised banner or button.

    I am really enjoying your podcasts with Shannon too – very informative in an easy to understand way!

    However I am now VERY aware of my commenting – is it relevant, polite, not to long,no spelling mistakes, grammatically correct, am I contributing something positive to the blogging experience?…..thanks for pointing me the right direction!

  2. matt February 6, 2008 / 6:59 am

    I want to make a custom header image but I don’t own photoshop. Is there any free software that I can use to make a custom image for a header.

  3. Alisha February 6, 2008 / 10:05 am

    I’ve made a few custom banners, but would really like to learn more about it. Thanks for all of the links!

    I use Gimp (http://www.gimp.org/) to create custom banners. It’s similar to Photoshop, but with fewer features. Oh, and it’s free. You can find a lot of Gimp tutorials online, but you can also figure out a lot of stuff using Photoshop tutorials.

  4. Angela February 7, 2008 / 8:55 am

    Very helpful article. Thanks for posting.

  5. writeonbro February 7, 2008 / 11:56 pm

    Can you read minds? I have been checking search engines for the answer to this question and now you have this post with all the answers to my questions except one. Can I place my own banner on blogger.

  6. feesfielsob August 17, 2008 / 4:21 am

    I’m new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.

  7. Levitra August 19, 2008 / 3:49 pm

    great advice. photoshop is really great although it is expensive. you certainly get plenty of bang for your buck.

  8. Molly Teichman April 11, 2009 / 9:58 am

    Thank you thank you thank you… time for the english language to evolve into something else but for now, that’s the best I’ve got.

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