Banners can be an effective advertising tool. Using words and
graphics, a successful banner entices people to click-thru and visit a
site. But creating such a banner is not easy for most people. Maybe
these tips and links can help.
Beginners should focus on the left column. The right column is
reserved for people who are computer savvy and ready to spend hours on
creating a banner.
This is the easiest way to create banners. Just type in some text
and within seconds, your customized banner is ready. It may even
include some flashy animations.
These banner artists work for free in exchange for a link from your
site. Just tell them what you want on your banner, and they will
create it within days.
Creating a good banner for yourself takes time and effort. The payoff
is a unique banner with personality and pride. Why not give it a try?
- We reveal the secret on how to make a killer banner, and what kills
it. This is a must read.
- You need graphics software to create your banner. See what we recommend.
- Once you have the software, learn how to create professional effects
with these step-by-step tutorials.
- A list of sites that offer free graphics. You can use them
directly, or as examples for your banner.
There is no magic banner style that works for everyone. It's up
to you to find a banner that works for your site. Here are some basic
tips to keep in mind while you experiment with different banner ideas.
But don't implement all of them at once. Such overkill will create
one very annoying banner.
To see some examples, take a look at our
Top Ten List of banners. You may
imitate them, but don't copy anything without the author's prior
Originality - Think of a banners as a work of art. Try
something original or off-the-wall. People tend to notice banners
that are unique.
Colors - Use bright and contrasting colors such as
yellow-black, red-blue, or light-dark. Stay with the primary and
Simple Text - Don't cloud your banner with cryptic text.
Simple phrases are always more effective. A good banner usually has 6
words in each frame.
Curiosity & Humor - Try making people curious about the site
behind the banner. Ask a question or tell a riddle in your banner.
Graphics - Most web pages contain more text than graphics,
so graphics on your banner will make it stand out. Whenever you can,
express your ideas with graphics.
Animation - Like it or not, animation is eye-catching.
Moderate usage often attracts positive attention to your banner.
Moderation is the key word here.
Interface Facade - Emulate a system panel with a light gray
background and buttons. It catches attention. Currently this is very
popular and successful.
"FREE" - The word "FREE" on your banner can increase
click-thrus. But it is most effective when you have a software- or
hardware-related site, and least effective if you are simply offering
free travel or money (because it'll appear to be a scam).
"Click Here" - Works like "FREE" but with a broader appeal.
You may also try "Click Now!" Don't overdo it though. Make it simple
Scaled Image - Don't use a graphics program to automatically
scale your banner to different sizes unless the program has
specialized algorithms to do so. Otherwise, smooth edges could become
jagged, causing your banner to look unprofessional.
Small Font - Don't use plain ten- or 12-point fonts. Make
your text stand out with color, style, and size. Emphasize keywords
with animation if possible.
Lack of Focus - Focus on just one topic for each banner, as
opposed to many different ideas and messages, which would only clutter
and confound the banner. Most banners should tell the viewer what the
site offers and why they should visit.
Pressure - Urgent sales messages such as "Limited Time Only"
or "Hurry" don't work well in banners because they echo too much of
the used-car salesman tactics. People in general don't like to be
pressured and the Internet is no exception.
Words Jungle - Make the text in your banners clear and
concise. Remember, simplicity is golden.
Using a graphics software is essential to banner creation. At
bare minimum, you need a drawing program to create the banner and save
it in the GIF format. From there, a static banner can be made more
dynamic (animated) using a separate program that will string together
multiple static images into one GIF file. Other special effects will
require an advanced program that will likely increase the GIF file
size. Finally, to combat size increase, you will need a GIF
Only a few of these programs are available free of charge. But
that doesn't mean you must spend money. You can certainly get by
using the free programs. If you desire better quality and greater
efficiency however, you may consider a commercial product. We offer
this list only for your reference. We do not endorse or have a vested
interest in any of them. We recommend that you try out the demos
before committing to a purchase.
Paint Shop Pro - This Windows95/NT shareware is a full-featured
graphics program for image creation, viewing, and editing. It is
ideal for beginners and people who cannot afford and/or do not require
the full power of PhotoShop.
PhotoShop - This expensive commercial product is geared toward
serious computer artists. It is the best graphics tool for drawing
just about everything, including banners.
Net Sketch - This Windows 95/NT program guides you through
creating and designing buttons, banners, logos, and illustrations of
all kinds. It hones in on attributes such as fill style, edge style,
shadow style, softness, transparency, position, size, skew and
Web Painter - An all-in-one web graphics and animation software.
It has a fully functional free trial version which you can test out
Ulead GIF Animator - A tool for designing, producing, and
optimizing GIF animations. This program too, offers a free trial to
GIF Construction Set - Another tool for designing, producing, and
optimizing GIF animations. Its functions are very similar to those of
Ulead. Most experienced designers use either Ulead or GIF
Construction, (but not both) depending on personal preferences.
AniMagic Gif Animator - Another GIF animation tool.
GIF Builder - Web freeware for Macintosh to build animations.
Ulead Web Utilities - Besides GIF Animator, Ulead has a collection
of other utilities especially for special effects. This is a great
place to look to spice up your designs!
Smart Draw Pro - Program for web graphics whose features include
drag & drop drawing, automatic connecting lines between shapes, and
clip-art libraries. Works with MS Office.
CDH Image Explorer - Allows for viewing and management of all
image formats, including GIF animations, Photoshop specific format,
and many more (nearly 50 supported formats)! Features include: format
conversion among all supported formats, slideshow capabilities, image
mailing, deleting, renaming, zooming, image information, image
Graphics Workshop Pro - Functions of this program allow you to
drag & drop, convert between formats, print your graphics as hard
copy, drive a scanner, decode pictures from the Internet, process and
fine tune your photographs.
Movie Gear - Tool that builds GIF animations, shrinks files,
resizes graphics, supports Photoshop PSD, JPEG, AVI, BMP, and GIF
files. Free trial version for Windows 95/NT only.
GIF Wizard - Another GIF compression program.
GIF Lite - They will compress your GIF images free of charge. But
it is done through email - expect possible delays.
Using effects like shadow backdrops and 3-D text, you can give
your banners the professional look and feel that you want. These
effects also apply to web graphics in general, so learning them should
be useful to everyone. Collected here is a list of step-by-step
tutorials from other sites. These are quite helpful as you begin to
create your own site.
The Animation Zone - Focuses on animated banners and provides
graphic tools for downloading.
McCannas - Tutorial for Photoshop with links to free software,
fonts, graphics, and HTML resources.
Animated Gif Artists Guild - This site shows how to make animated
GIF on the Macintosh.
Royal Frazier - Thorough instructions for intermediates to create
Creating GIF Animations - An intermediate-level GIF Animation
tutorial with links to necessary graphic tools.
CNet - Articles on animation and quick tutorials
along with free down loads.
John Thompson - Tutorials on design, animation, and graphics with
free software! Also, you can get a free banner by filling out the
online form and description.
Jay's Graphix - Numerous web designer and graphic artist tutorials.
Very few people have the talent and time to create original
graphics, so most web site owners download existing free graphics from
other sites and customize them to their needs. Below is a list of
sites that offer such free graphics. Some sites require special
permission, so be sure to check with their posted policy.
Andy Art - This site contains hundreds of free original animations
and also hundreds of pages of Adobe Photoshop, HTML, Java & graphics
Banner World - Graphics components that are perfect for creating
CoolText.com - Generate logos and buttons with customized text.
Media Builder - Turn any GIF into a button.
A+ Art - Free clip art, background, buttons, animated GIF's, etc.
Laurie's Free Web Graphics
Cool Archive - Huge free vault of fonts, icons, GIF89 animations,
bars, bullets, arrows, etc. . More than 6000 selected graphics, all
A-1 Icon Archive - Free icons, backgrounds, buttons, animated
GIF's, and links. Total of 300,000 free web graphics.
Iconz - Free images of icons, buttons, lines, bullets, arrows,
backgrounds, and 3D images.
you quickly and easily try out text and background color combinations,
as well as background textures.