The <hr /> Contest


What is <hr />? Basically, it is an old HTML-tag which has been used since the very beginning of the Web. hr stands for the horizontal rule and represents exactly what you would expect — a horizontal line or a horizontal divider. By default, web browsers render hr as a simple horizontal line. In terms of semantics the tag is supposed to clearly separate content blocks. This is often used in design of footers, but also makes sense in other situations — for instance, if you want to separate two blog posts or make the divisions within the content structure sharper.

However, the design of horizontal lines is quite simple and not really appealing by default. HTML offers designers four styling attributes: align, noshade, width and size. This is the reason why designers often use CSS to make hr’s look a little bit more attractive. Alternatively, one can replace hr’s completely with an image using the background-property in CSS.

Some designers consider horizontal rule to be unnecessary — after all, you can simple assign some border styling to the container which contains the block. However, hr’s offer more possibilities as you can do whatever you want with a single, standalone HTML-tag. And here is where our contest comes into play.

Similar to our blog header contest1 we’d like to create a smashing gallery of freely available <hr /> graphics which every designer could use without any restrictions whatsoever. To achieve this we need the help of our creative readers. Which is why we decided to announce the <hr /> contest.

Is there a reward?

Of course. We’ll select 15 most beautiful dividers, present them in a post and ask our readers to rate them in a poll. The winner will get a Wacom Intuos3 9X12 USB Tablet — Metallic Gray. It is worth to participate, since we’ll also mention your name and your URL in the article which will contain the smashing examples of contest entries.

Wacom Tablet

Wacom Tablet

What is required?

In order to participate, your design should

  • be unusual, creative and attractive,
  • be designed for the contest and shouldn’t be in use already
  • be recognizable as a divider or a line and has to serve its function — separate content blocks from each other,
  • be in the format PNG, JPG, GIF (if possible, please provide us with the source file as well — such as PSD, EPS, AI etc.)
  • no Flash or Gif-animations, please.

Apart from that,

  • every file must be titled with your name. Samples: hr-john-doe.gif or hr-jane-doe.jpg
  • each image should have the max. size of 30 Kb/each.

Each participant can send up to 5 different graphics (do not use ZIP, RAR etc.) and you must own the copyright for the designs you submit.

Send your designs via e-mail at sven at with the subject line [Hr Contest Entry]. Please mention your name, your URL and the country you are from. If possible, please also provide us with the brief description of the ideas which have been the driving force behind your designs. Be creative, use unusual techniques, explore your skills, do whatever it takes — we’d like you to get really excited about it.


We’ll consider all designs we’ll receive until the 1st of September 2008. The best entries will be published briefly after the contest has ended.


To spark your creativity we present some excellent examples of how visually appealing <hr /> graphics may look like. The images are clickable and lead to the sites from which they’ve been taken.

Our examples show that a number of creative approaches are possible. The Web needs a creative library of fresh <hr>-dividers. Vignettes and ornaments may be a nice idea, uneven and handwritten elements are also used sometimes. However, the possibilites offered to designers are rarely used. You can definitely risk some unusual design approaches. What are you capable of?

Screenshot - Divider2

Screenshot - Divider3

Screenshot - Divider4

Screenshot - Divider5

Screenshot - Divider6

Screenshot - Divider7

Screenshot - Divider8

Screenshot - Divider9

Screenshot - Divider10

Screenshot - Divider11

Screenshot - Divider12

13Screenshot - Divider14

Screenshot - Divider15

Screenshot - Divider16

You can also get some inspiration from our previous showcase Footers In Modern Web Design: Creative Examples and Ideas17.

Get creative, folks! And good luck!


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Co-Founder of Smashing Magazine. Former writer, web designer, freelancer and webworker. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories.


Note: Our rating-system has caused errors, so it's disabled at the moment. It will be back the moment the problem has been resolved. We're very sorry. Happy Holidays!

  1. 1

    Good luck to everyone!

  2. 2

    I’ll definitely consider entering :)

  3. 3

    oh yes count me in! :D

  4. 4

    Definetly doing this!

  5. 5

    is this hr contest or a divider contest, every example uses divs or images i have checked the first three and not one uses the physical tag

  6. 6

    I’ve alwasys liked the divider on (identical to that of

    Good luck to all who enter. I’ve yet to sample using a tablet, but have heard nice reviews.

  7. 7

    This is rather unusual, HR’s are notoriously difficult to style for cross browser and to achieve some of the example styles you have to wrap the hr in a div generally.

    Will be interesting to see how this turns out.

  8. 8

    Nice contest. I’m in. Succes to everyone!

  9. 9

    nice ill have to do this :D

  10. 10

    yeah, i’m in. tablet is all i need :)

  11. 11

    Great contest! I’m in :)

  12. 12

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 22, 2008 5:35 am

    @all: it’s a contest for dividers which can afterwards be used to style hr’s.

  13. 13

    Are we restricted to only using the <hr/> tag and styling that?

  14. 14

    Hmmm… intresting… & the prize it’s worth a try!

    i think i’m going in!

    Good luck everyone

  15. 15

    Wow, sounds a great idea, good luck to everyone

  16. 16

    Definitely going to enter this one.

  17. 17

    interesting concept! will definitely take a stab at it!

  18. 18

    Entered (sneek peek at !)

  19. 19

    this is great… I had a professor in college who said that the “hr” was all but dead, now I use it all the time… shows what they teach you in college.

  20. 20

    Awesome idea for a contest! Might be competing myself this time!

  21. 21

    I’ll make sure to join this time … thanks smash!

  22. 22

    Im confused…can we only use the tag?

  23. 23

    My.. my… This is interesting… Good luck everyone!

  24. 24

    Best of luck!!! who will participate in this contest :)

  25. 25

    Nice contest. I’m in

  26. 26

    nice idea :)

  27. 27

    how fun! and a prize i am greatly interested in. will definitely enter. :)

  28. 28

    cool, this will be fun!

  29. 29

    I kindof don’t get what’s supposed to happen.

    “be only CSS+HTML-based, no Flash or Gif-animations, please,”
    “be in the format PNG, JPG, GIF (if possible, please provide us with the source file as well — such as PSD, EPS, AI etc.)”

    that confuses me, could you guys make it more clear please?

  30. 30

    Yes, I agree with Daan.

    You ask for a CSS+HTML based Hr, but then say to submit it as a graphic only. You also say don’t submit as a ZIP, so how can we send the image and the CSS/HTML? Could you please clarify?


  31. 31

    I’m in !

  32. 32

    Question: Do we just provide the picture(s), or do we also need to provide an example of it in use on a webpage?

    Thank you.

  33. 33

    I understood the rules as being to create and image in the above formats that can be used with HTML/CSS. Animated gif or Flash formats are not allowed.

  34. 34

    I agree with Mr. Dude. I believe that we are simply to create an image that can be implemented into someone’s website using HTML/CSS. If someone creates one that deals with Flash, there is a possibility that they will not be able to use it.

  35. 35

    I m sorry to say but none of the examples use tag…..
    So what say??

  36. 36

    What does it mean: “you must own the copyright for the designs you submit”.
    Are they just trying to emphasize that the design is not someone elses?

  37. 37

    count me in :)

  38. 38

    im going to try and see what I can come up with

  39. 39

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 22, 2008 1:07 pm

    @all: we expect pure graphics (no animated Gifs or Flash) which can be used with CSS and HTML afterwards.

  40. 40

    I ever worked few hours with photoshop :)
    Good luck !

  41. 41

    It’s not exciting enough to win the contest, but I almost always style HRs to appear as three big, spaced apart asterisks — like most novels seem to have to separate sub-chapters.

    But I’m going to try something new for this.

  42. 42

    This should be interesting – unlike the blog header contest, we’re talking about a line, not a whole header background. Can’t wait to see the results, I’ll bet it’s tougher than it sounds to come up with something.

  43. 43

    At a glance seems not to use any at all, does it?

  44. 44

    Rodrigo R. Mammano

    August 22, 2008 2:46 pm

    I’m (really) in! Gonna be a nice and sweet contest.

  45. 45
  46. 46

    Cool!!! I’m definitely in! (:

  47. 47

    Is it allowed Javascript?

  48. 48

    I will give it a try. Count me in. :)

  49. 49

    i will try to participate………….isn’t it nice if i won

  50. 50

    I’ll take the chance :).
    Thank you smashing

  51. 51
  52. 52

    wow this is a cool contest.. *thinking of a cool entry*

  53. 53

    Rodrigo Seroiska

    August 23, 2008 3:54 pm


    i guess not, only pure images =)

  54. 54

    I’m soooo in!

  55. 55


  56. 56

    Cool, always good to participate in such competitions, not just for winning’s sake..but to see everyone contributing great ideas. I am in !

    ~ All the best guys & keep it up Smashing Magazine ~

  57. 57

    wonderful competition i am in . ;)

  58. 58

    Ahh, I’m taking the plunge. Let’s do this! :)

  59. 59

    Should it be created for use on a white background, or does that matter?

  60. 60

    what about the size in px? does it matter how wide it is? or do you speciffically need 800px wide or 1024 or anything?

  61. 61

    I’m in! :D

    Good luck to everyone :)

    This is an amazing opportunity for designers to show their styles, everyone must join this to see what we can achieve, the hr divider gallery is going to be awesome!

  62. 62

    What an amazing prize. :D

  63. 63

    Gud luck dudes. Awesome contest

  64. 64

    cool contest, i’ll be there too

  65. 65

    Great contest!
    I’ve never heard any use of the hr-tag, but now I can’t wait to see, what will be designed. Might even participate myself… :)

  66. 66

    i just submitted my entry.. i hope i can make it :D

  67. 67

    To bad, I already have that graphics tablet

  68. 68

    Is this a US-only contest? I’m not wasting my time otherwise…

  69. 69

    count me in, i’ll take the chance

  70. 70

    Recently I stumbled upon the website of Straelen listed as a winner in a german accessibility award. They use the hr-element quite often and – to my surprise – the use it very smart inside the header, allthough it is used in combination with a surrounding DIV since the site is from 2005 and I assume this is because IE can not handle these nice graphics for hr-element for older versions.

  71. 71

    I’d be a bit worried about the voting procedure. What’s stopping somebody voting multiple times for their own design?

  72. 72

    Great contest idea! But I have one question: I want to style my hr width a fixed width (for example 550px) because of the background-image. Is there any width you would like me to choose or which you’d advise me to take? Cheers, nicole

  73. 73

    I made my submissions at a width of either 800 px or 640px which is what i felt would be the most useful sizes. How about everyone else?

  74. 74

    yeah! i’m in!

  75. 75

    Nice contest…Another! :)

    My work it’s sent to SM Email… good luck to everyone!

  76. 76

    Is it a “must” to provide an URL for the graphic? I mean does it have to be seen in a working webpage. I could make a hr graphic…send it (via email with the proper source file to clear the copywright theft theorie)…Is that ok?

  77. 77

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 25, 2008 7:45 am

    @An (#78): URL is optional. It doesn’t have to be actually used. It’s enough to send the graphics.

  78. 78

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 25, 2008 7:46 am

    @Rakkoon (#70): no, it’s not USA-only content, and not Europe-only contest. Please participate, the country you come from doesn’t matter to us.

  79. 79

    Here is mine.

  80. 80

    Nice contest idea… might be nice if we could also provide a screenshot of how it’s supposed to look?

    Ie: if i make one that is a repeating pattern for an hr.. it’s not necessarily going to be obvious when you guys receive the image file how it’s supposed to be used…

  81. 81

    awesome! :P

    Didn’t want to get scripty with a ‘~’? LOL

  82. 82

    Good luck folks, I’m definitely going after that wacom beauty!

  83. 83

    Excellent contest……guess I am in on this one.

  84. 84

    i’m in and i’m done. Waiting to see other entries and how they turn out to be.

    Very Interesting and thought provoking contest though.There’s a million ways to do this but only 5 are allowed ;)

    Good luck everyone.

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    I’m in! Definitely out of the ordinary as far as contests go (first thing that came to mind was early FrontPage theme dividers… ha!) but man would I love that tablet!!

  87. 87

    hhmm… im gonna post my design.. lets go !!

  88. 88

    I’m just confused with this:
    “• each image should have the max. size of 30 Kb/each” does this mean the overall size of the jpg/png/gif + psd/ai/eps files or just for the jpg/png/gif only?
    thanks for the immediate reply.

  89. 89

    Robin… I’m pretty sure the size is for the image itself, not necessarily the source file. Wouldn’t make sense if it was a combination of both files put together, then you could just submit one or the other.

  90. 90

    haha, dumb question :) thanks nways

  91. 91

    cool contest !!

    but how to subscribe ??

  92. 92

    got lots of ideas…hmmm, but only 2 days left to work on them! hope i can make it ;)
    but if I couldn’t, can I send them anyway? not for contest -purposes i mean? to be used other where or something like that?!

  93. 93

    I’m in, and pray me to become the winner :)

  94. 94

    You should consider extending the contest by a day or so.

  95. 95

    I just submitted my entries. I don’t know if I’ll win, but I do hope that one of my entries makes it to the top 15. It’ll boost my confidence. I’m a graphic design newbie. Good luck to everyone who’s participating. I can’t wait to see all the beautiful dividers that are going to come out.

  96. 96

    Does the 30Kb limit also applies to the source files? Or they can be more?

  97. 97

    just submitted 4 designes, with the .ai files smashing ;)
    hope im not too late, just finished the designed.wish me luck, wanna make it to the top 15!

  98. 98

    Posted … let see now

  99. 99

    any update?

  100. 100

    hi! i just submited my design! it was until september 1…right?

  101. 101

    I dont know the GMT from smashing! anyone?

  102. 102

    You have their time on your comment, I dont know when you posted it but I think that you have some time left even now.
    Its a shame I just noticed it now, I was wondering the same thing for three days :D

  103. 103

    Oh! Thanks for clever tip =)
    It’s good to known that maybe there’s some time left.
    Working on some more Hrs!

    Good luck everyone.

  104. 104

    Good Luck Folks!

  105. 105

    I just submitted my entries by mail.
    Any news??

  106. 106

    Competitor taking part

    September 2, 2008 4:10 am

    When is winner announcement?

  107. 107

    hmm… maybe the staff still confused to choose 15 nominators…

  108. 108

    Competitor taking part

    September 2, 2008 8:49 am

    Yeah, choice might be difficult ;-)

  109. 109

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    September 2, 2008 9:33 am

    still confused?
    sven just had a look through 149 submissions. and there are 196 to go. so this will take at least a couple of days. patience please…

  110. 110

    Ohhh im dreaming about seeing on of my designs get ti the top 15 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll Call my next webdesign “Smashing” haha :)

  111. 111

    Wow! Long way to go =S
    Good luck guys! Choose one of mine, ok? hahaha jk!

  112. 112

    Dariusz (antraxis)

    September 3, 2008 12:15 pm

    This is the one of the most interesting and minimalism competition I have seen
    I’m in love of the smashing magazine for ideas like that :)

  113. 113

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    September 4, 2008 8:27 am

    results will be posted on sep/9th. more than one hundred fantastic graphics…

  114. 114

    Sep/9 is my birthday!!!! i better win then ;)

  115. 115

    ..And the winner is……

  116. 116

    what the time is at smashing….hope my comment lets me know… :D

  117. 117

    happy Birthday Nisreen ! :)

  118. 118

    The suspense is killing me! Agh!

  119. 119

    it’s killing me too!!!
    I can’t stop refreshing! hahaha

    btw, Happy Bday Nisreen! =)

  120. 120

    @Cyn & Silvia: THANKS :)
    ooooh this is soo sweetie of you guys! i hope you both win then :P
    thanks alot, my birthdays keep getting better and better!

  121. 121

    I thought that my refresh button is not working:) haha
    Happy birthday Nisreen:)

  122. 122

    @Liw: thank you’re soo sweet! all of you!
    whats up smashing?! sep/9 is over and the results aint out yet! whats goin on?!

  123. 123

    omg!!! this is getting so exciting! what time sep. 9 will you let us know Smashing? I’m so curious!!!

  124. 124

    …..I’m curious too…

  125. 125

    oh, okay. so who won?

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