The header of your blog is the first thing your readers lay their eyes on. It sets the tone for your content and gives them a feel for who you are and what your site is all about. Myself, I've redesigned my header probably half a dozen times in three years. As my taste and style evolves, and as I get a little better at design tricks, I've been able to update it and tailor it to my clearest vision of what I want.
I believe that a blog header is one of your greatest tools for creativity and self expression on your site – so have fun with it! Experiment with different fonts, colors, designs, sizes and artwork. Keep in mind that the rest of the design elements on your blog should compliment or at least not compete with your header.
If you're just getting set up with your blog or thinking about a re-design, here are some tips to guide you in making your header dynamic, original and personal:
1. While its' absolutely not required, many bloggers find it's easiest to showcase the header when the background on your site is white. (Readers also find this easy on the eye – since it's most similar to reading a book, magazine or newspaper.)
2. Do not have your header take up the entire space “above the fold” on your site. Above the fold means anything you can see before you have to scroll down. You want your header to be the lead in like a magazine title, not the cover of a book.
3. Use color with care. Pops of color are a great way to draw the eye in and express your personality. Spend some time trying out different combinations to see what looks good. Maybe use photographs or illustrations!
4. Black and white is also a classic choice. You can create a very graphic feel or use only text as your header. If you decide to use text only, why not buy (or download for free) a really cool, unique font?
5. Keep simplicity in mind. Simple doesn't mean boring, and simple doesn't mean without detail. Simple means purposeful, direct and clear.
6. Use all the tools at your disposal to create a dynamic and original header. Whether that means Googling “how-tos” on design in Photoshop (or taking a workshop!) or playing around on PowerPoint for hours – the effort will be well worth it. (Why not try your hand with the creative tools in a free in-browser photo editor?)
7. Take your time. Good design can take time, and it can be slow process to finally create the perfect look. Start with something that works, and don't be afraid to change it little by little.
8. Consider hiring an artist or graphic designer. We're not all good at everything. You might be an excellent writer and a great photographer, but lag in graphic design – and that's fine! (Know your strengths, I say!) I hired an illustrator friend to create original art for my header, and now I have a personalized look that totally suits my style!
9. While making your header too big is a no-no, size does matter. Perhaps you prefer a smaller logo in the upper right hand corner, or a horizontal design that spans the width of your site. Just make sure it's easy to see. Play around with the size and orientation (left, right, center) to see what works with your other design elements such as pages, columns and share buttons.
10. Get personal. Think about things you like, that maybe represent your style (or not). Places, objects, photos, little memories or favorite nick-nacks. Try and translate something close to you into your design for an added element of originality and spark.
[Header credits: Tulip Louise; A Piece of Toast; Peony Lim; On The Racks; My Closet in Sketches; Little Tin Soldier; Fashion Bomb Daily; Wish Wish Wish; Pink Peonies; The Man Repeller; The Love List; Unabashedly Prep; The City Sage]