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Smashing Header Graphics Contest


In many blogs header graphics often takes a prominent position as bloggers try to impress visitors with distinctive and appealing visual elements. In fact, designed properly, header graphics can create an appropriate atmosphere and convey the style the designer has chosen. Well-designed themes can be as useful as templates, particularly if you can download them and experiment with them as you wish. However, you won’t find that many sources on the Web. That’s time to change it.

We’d like to create a small smashing gallery of blog header graphics which every designer could use for free and without any restrictions whatsoever. To achieve this we need the help of our creative visitors. To achieve this we need your help. Which is why we announce a Header Graphics Contest.

Update (02.02.2008): please notice that this contest is not about designing a header for the Smashing Magazine web-site. Your header graphics don’t have to be related to Smashing Magazine at all. This is about sharing your skills with fellows designers and creating a free repository of downloadable header graphics.

What is required? Link

In order to participate, your design should

  • contain up to 5 different graphics
  • have the resolution of 850×200 px
  • have the max. size of 60 Kb
  • be in the format PNG, JPG, GIF (if possible, please provide us with the source file as well — such as PSD, EPS, AI etc.)
  • be your own work — you must own the copyright for the designs you submit.

Send your designs via e-mail at editor at with the subject line [Header Contest Entry] YourThemeTitle, where YourThemeTitle is the title of your theme. Please mention your name, your URL and the country you come from.

If possible, please also provide us with the brief description of the theme and ideas which have been the driving force behind your design. Be creative, use unusual techniques, explore your skills, do whatever it takes — we’d like you to get really excited about it.

Deadline? Link

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

Is there a reward? Link

Yes. First of all we’ll mention your name and your URL in the article which will contain the smashing examples of contest entries. Besides, we’ll randomly award as many participants as possible with tools, services and prizes from our sponsors. (Updated)

Examples Link

Let’s take a look at some excellent examples of how visually appealing header graphics might look like. The images are clickable and lead to the sites from which they’ve been taken.

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Blog Header Graphic

Useful Resources Link

Besides, here are some useful resources which might help you to design smashing header graphics.

Get creative, folks!

Results Link

The contest is finished now. You can download the results for free in the post Blog Headers For Free Download.

Smashing Book #5

Hold on tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? For example, Smashing Book 5, packed with smart responsive design patterns and techniques.

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Sven is the co-founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. He's now writing at his Conterest Blog, where he focuses on blogs, content strategy and publishing — all in German.

  1. 1

    Sehr lustig. Ich hatte diesen Post (bzw. eine Roh-Version) schon vor Monaten mal im Google Reader. Habe mich immer gefragt, wann es denn soweit ist.. :)

    Liebe Grüße, Oli

  2. 2

    I see you’ve picked some of my favorites: gotocss3, webdesignerwall, ndesign… I’ll try to participate, though I’m not a great designer.

  3. 3

    Nice idea! But award can be more spectacular!

  4. 4

    Sounds fun. Although I like the simplicity of the header at present.

  5. 5

    I guess it would help if I read a little closer!

  6. 6

    Michael @ Freshome

    February 1, 2008 11:32 am

    Can’t wait to see the submission …I’m sure there will be a lot of awesome designs.

  7. 7

    There should be a Smashing Site-design contest, you need one.

  8. 8

    I guess there will be a great field of comitters. Nice idea!

  9. 9

    A contest all about recognition, who knows maybe in the mean time you guys will throw together some sort of swag bag?
    It’s great to see you engaging your readers to participate. I’m guessing there are some great graphic designers out there, whose web design skills would never get them highlighted on “Smashing”. It’s going to be great to see what develops. Big phat header graphics are all the rage!!

  10. 10

    Hi !

    Could you please provide Smashing Magazine’s logo (PSD format) !

  11. 11

    Ola, from Portugal to all smashing magazine readers!

    Great to see our Algarvebuzz header used as an example for inspiration. Gulp, blush……thanks guys!

    The competition looks fun, we might just have to get in on the challenge.

    Can’t wait t see all the great designs!

  12. 12

    This is the equivalent of “hey, want to make a design for us? We’re not going to pay you but you’ll get a lot of recognition’.

    If you take your website anything seriously you pay a designer you admire to do his thing.

  13. 13

    This is very good initiative. Im great follower of Header Graphics…..
    You can also check my website….though its not that complex ..I love the feel it gives.

    I’ll surely try to participate.

  14. 14

    Wow, I sure love your twist on speculative work..

  15. 15

    some people can’t even read.

  16. 16

    Wow ! I’m featured on Smashing Magazine ! Thanks !!

    I don’t consider it like doing spec work, for me it’s more like paying Smashing Magazine back for all the great inspiration and tools you provide every week !

  17. 17

    Wow, we use all our skills and valuable time.. for nothing more than a mention? Sorry, I get paid for my work by people who appreciate my work.

    Smashing magazine doesn’t have the clout to interest my services for free.

  18. 18

    Ahh Sacha – so true, about paying back – i’ll do my best.

  19. 19

    It would be nice if you tracked down some sponsors from the creative industry to provide prizes.
    Surely Smashing Magazine is big enough to get something for a name mention!

  20. 20


    This is a TEXTBOOK example of an unethical spec request. Way to treat your loyal readers like a bunch of idiots. :/

  21. 21

    weak weak weak
    do some free work and our mediocre design blog will give you credit

  22. 22

    850px wide’s a bit of an odd size isn’t it? Too small for 1024 x 780 but too big for 800 x 600. :?

  23. 23

    Wouldn’t it only be considered spec work if they were using it? These are things they’re going to be offering to everyone for free, not using for themselves. . . I don’t quite see the point of buying something to share when they’re going to turn around and give it (and the PSDs?) away.

  24. 24

    It’s a shame you’re not asking for flash. I really like my header * and I’ve been planning to release the code for it.

  25. 25

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    February 2, 2008 2:36 am

    Dear readers,

    this contest is not about Smashing Magazine header contest. In fact, it doesn’t have anything to do with us. You don’t need our logo and you don’t need to create header graphics for us. We simply offer you an opportunity to share your skills with other developers. It’s not about header contest for Smashing Magazine!

    Sometimes it’s useful to read the post before submitting comments.

  26. 26

    hey thanks something nice…will surely put up atleast 5 designs althought i m too not a pro..but will try out my best…
    its a great step…i thikn such competitions should took pleace there is nothing to lose,…only we all gona be having fun and will be sharing different ideas and skills..
    Best of luck to all

  27. 27

    Nice Competition for the designers as if they win will gain some credibility from here!!

    I will ask my fellow designers to participate in this contest as i am not a designer so, i cannot take part but i wish if i would be a designer then surely have participated.

    So, all my wishes are with those designers taking participation in this contest.

    May the best Win :)

  28. 28

    Nice Competition organized by you it will surely help and motivate the designers to make there best.

  29. 29

    in the 3rd example image….
    how would you make the green/purple smoke stuff. Its really awesome!

  30. 30

    Aw shucks guys… I’m really flattered to be featured on SM again! :D I just wish I had the time to participate in the compo, but I’m currently working on development of and redeveloping at the same time! Good luck to all who get a chance though – there’s nothing quite as rewarding as being mentioned on a leading blog! ;)


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