Ten beautiful blogs, ten unique looks, and one totally free feature — a custom header.
What a difference a header makes!
Our websites are our online homes. It makes sense that we want to give them personality and warmth, just like we do with our physical homes.
One of the simplest updates with the biggest impact is a custom header, a completely free feature that’s available to the majority of themes on WordPress.com. A header instantly sets your blog apart — and with free online photo and graphic editing tools, a custom look is accessible to any blogger, no graphic design experience needed.
Take a look at the world of possibilities with these ten blogs:
Text, taken up a notch
A custom header doesn’t require a beautiful photo or exquisite drawing skills. Fonts have personality; just ask the bloggers and writers behind Don’t think just eat, Ellie and Ace, and The Lovecraft eZine. Elegant, quirky, eerie — fonts can communicate all that, and more.
(Bonus points to The Lovecraft eZine for the supremely creepy but on-point use of tentacles as a custom background image.)
Thanks to nifty (and free!) online tools like Canva, a spunky custom text header is only a few minutes away. Our step-by-step tutorial walks you through the process, from figuring out what size your header needs to be, to picking out a font, to uploading your shiny new creation to your blog.
Piggyback on a photo
A photo is a simple way to add both context and color to a header, whether it’s a shot you’ve taken or a free-to-use image you love. Layer a title and tagline over the image, as Stacey Altamirano and Built in Dunedin have done, and you have a custom header that’s yours and only yours:
Use filters to age your photo and text, add cut-outs and other shapes, mix fonts — the photo and text are just the beginning. Interested? Take a look at our tutorial for creating a custom header with an image, and let your imagination run wild!
Graphics front and center
If you’re comfortable creating your own graphics (or have a friend who is), then the header world is truly your oyster. We love the hand-drawn font and bright flowers adorning The Haute Mommy Handbook:
Even if your artistic skills skew more “Stick Figure” than “Sandro Botticelli,” you can add life and quirk to your header, like Viaja el Mundo:
And if putting pen to paper is completely outside your comfort zone, maybe technology can help! Me and My Books created a word cloud to grace the top of her book blog:
Word clouds, maps, screenshots — stop and think about the world of graphic possibilities before you say “But I’m not creative/artistic/a designer!”
Tip: Once you’ve created your custom header, visit My Site → Customize to upload it to your blog. While you’re there, head to the “Site title and tagline” section to turn off the default site title, so you don’t display the title twice (and so nothing distracts from your new creation!).
Does your site need an injection of life, a distinguishing look, or a header that sets a mood? A custom header is one of the best tools in your design toolbox.
Iv’e used Canva many times creating things such as headers, funky visual text with photos, business cards for myself and friends. It’s one of the best creative programs for people that want to knock up something for their page themselves. Being a natural creator and have a love of creating, i enjoy playing around with it, spent many hours using different programs designing and Canva was just one I came across thats fairly user friendly. I am more than happy to help anyone that needs help with designing something for their page 🙂 PEACE! Oh and btw thank you for writing this article its been helpful x
I like my header, which I created about a year ago using a Word Cloud cut to a custom shape.
Very interesting, thank you; but could you provide again a link to “…our tutorial for creating a custom header with an image…”. The link in the blog doesn’t seem to work. Many thanks in advance.
And another great post and wonderfully caring tip 🙂 Thanks Michelle W and WP 🙂
I’ve used my header for a while now. I used to change it quite regularly, but settled on an image I really like that suite the articles on my Blog. Some great headers in the post as well, certainly given me a few ideas for if I ever want to change mine again.
Great that you enclosed some examples illustrating your informative entry. Thank you:)
These are all amazing headers! I’m really intrigued by the ones that just use font or text to draw you in and make the website personal before you’ve even read anything.
I may start cooking up some designs for my own blog because I know I’d enjoy having something original and if it attracts more views then I’m all for it!
I always get super excited at posts like this that suggest ways I can personalize my blog and make it more of a metaphorical “home.” But then when I am done reading, I feel so intimidated it seems like remodeling my entire kitchen would be easier and improve my real home’s value too. Darn, now I have to refinish the cabinets! I wish I wasn’t so tech challenged…..
I use the Suburbia theme, which has a small logo header. I change it regularly so that I can showcase little square bits of my favourite photos!
Thank you so much for featuring my blog in this article! And you’re so right – who needs design skills when there are so many beautiful fonts and free design tools at your disposal! I have absolutely no experience in graphic design and I made my custom header for Don’t Think Just Eat on a quiet day in the office using Picmonkey.com. Never thought it would ever be featured as an example of “elegant” header design, but that shows how much a few cute fonts and colors can achieve!
Many thanks for the link!
Very useful information. A not so good header or a poor site appearance is possibly detrimental to our great writing. I’ve been thinking of removing my current header ever since I uploaded it just as I started out a WP. That time it was done impulsively but now I fear changing it as people know my site by this ship. I wish some experts could guide me about my current header, how bad or good it is.
Love re:retro, simple and effective! Definitely provided me with some great inspiration.
Never heard of Canva, but it looks amazing (and amazingly simple). Maybe you guys can do a blog post about all the amazing apps you can use to customize your blog? 🙂
I am new to blogging, so all of this information is very useful to me. Thanks so much everyone!!
Customizing header is wonderful tool, I exploit it max, thanks a lot Automattic
I used to have headers on one of my old themes, but many themes later the headers were forgotten about. Thanks for the reminder, I’ll start working on a new one soon-ish (I’ve reused an old one for now).
Opens a new perspective for me. Will try.
Thanks for featuring my word cloud header! It was really easy to do, plus as bonus, you can refresh it quickly whenever you feel like a bit of a change 😉
Thanks for this suggestion WordPress.com staff! I think I’ll use canva!! Nice tool!
I changed my header just 3 weeks ago while doing the Blogging201 course. I think it looks great. Can always do some adjustments down the line but it seriously is lovely being able to brand your page a bit more. WP help and guidance along the way is priceless. Thank you
Really our blogs are our online homes and Custom header add the spice to our blog. I have 6 awesome header images in my blog which make my blog resonate its theme of ‘Awakening’ on every page.
Thank you WordPress!
I customized my header way back when y’all recommended PicMonkey for the job, and I still love it! 🙂
The header we choose DOES make a huge difference. I did a post recently that it’s the welcome mat on the front stoop of our blogs, while our avatars are our calling cards when we’re out and about.
I’ve only changed mine once because I think continuity is important. For some blogs, however, especially those that are more visual or about current events, it can be an ever-changing part of the experience.