Banners are the preferred method of brand advertising on the Internet, along with buttons and text links. Standard sized banners are popular among bloggers, webmasters and affiliate marketers because they are attractive to readers, and because they can easily fit most standard layouts and themes. When you need to have a banner done for a product, service or website, the first thing that pops into mind is commissioning a professional graphics designer for a design. Oftentimes, this would come at a cost, depending on the rates of the designer, which can be per image, or per hour.
As an alternative, you can look for free online templates or themes that you can easily edit. Most of these free banner design choices would require that you know at least a bit of graphics editing. Knowledge with editing images on Adobe Photoshop would come in handy.
Here are a few sources of free banner designs.
High Power Graphics.com. High Power Graphics' Banner Builder lets you build and download a banner by giving you options for various specifications. Just input the background color, size, image type, and up to three lines of text. You can even choose the font and alignment of the text. If you already have an image you want to use as a background, you can upload this, too, and the Banner Builder will automatically include it as the banner's background.
Banner Sketch.com. This is another automatic banner generator. The site offers various standard banner sizes, including horizontal, vertical, and button. Users have the option of choosing colors, frames, borders and text alignment. One highlight of Banner Sketch is that it has a repository of pre-built templates in various categories. These include business, children, humor, holidays, sports, and the like. Each pre-built banner contains a royalty-free image related to the topic. Users will just have to key in text, choose colors and borders, before finalizing the image.
Banner Break. Banner Break offers a simple interface for generating banners. Users choose the background type, text style and color, and a few additional options like text offset, centering and even a text shadow. A simple click of the "Generate" button will show you the new banner. Banner Break even gives you code to copy on your blog or website layout, without the need for you to upload the image onto your own server or image hosting service. The only limit with Banner Break, though, is that it only offers a single size, which is the "half banner" 468x60 pixel format.
Free Icons Download. This website offers a gallery of hundreds of icons, buttons and banners. The images are not layered Photoshop files (PSDs) by default, but these are easy to load or copy into Photoshop and edit as necessary.
As an alternative, you can also check out sites that offer copyright- or royalty-free images, such as Flickr.com, sxc.hu and the like. Be sure to look for images that have a "creative commons" license that allows derivative works. This means you can edit the image as you wish, such as by cropping or stretching. If you will be using the banner as an advertisement or for other money-making purposes, you should limit your search to creative commons images that have a "commercial" license.
Creating your own graphical banner need not be expensive. You can go for custom services, which can charge a minimal amount for banners. You can even choose to create your banners using free services. However, if you have some knowledge with editing images using Photoshop or other similar programs, you can easily look for free images and adapt these into your banner.