Header design can be a daunting process. The header sets the tone for an entire website and serves as an attention getter. If it’s not professional, striking, and useful your visitors may not even look at the rest of that page or website.
Great photography or detailed illustrations go a long way towards capturing a visitor’s imagination and attention. Here are a few principles I try to keep in mind:
- A single really strong element usually works better than a collection of elements.
- The header should introduce the website, not dominate it! If its too large or overpowering it may be hard to organize the rest of your content.
- Navigation and other important elements like social buttons, login boxes, or contact links should always be clear and easy to see and read.
- Try to avoid cliche, a great photograph can be beautiful and unique, but a heavily used stock image makes your site feel like a generic template.
- It’s not about you! Perhaps more so than any other design element, the header should not be just what you find tasteful and attractive. The header is an element of first impression, learn to value the thoughts of friends and colleagues after viewing it for the first time.
- Keep working at it! Your header should feel fresh and contemporary. If your strengths as a business change, change your header! A well designed header will be accessible and easy to tweak and improve over time.
The image at the right is a great representation of how a single really strong element at the top of the page can have tremendous impact. The website itself is very simple, but the professional photograph makes it feel elegant, classic and mouth watering!
Here are some ideas for headers from another design website.