How to Make a Banner With Gimp

By Darrin Koltow

Making banners for your blog or website allows you to create a more powerful and dramatic header for your content — and if you work with GIMP, you're able to do so for free. Banners can include text and images to communicate the type of content related on your site. To create banners like this in GIMP, use the program’s layering tools, and selection tools like Foreground Select, to assemble the images and concise text needed to use as a heading description.

Select "New" from the File menu, then type in the Width and Height text boxes the dimensions you want for the banner. An approximate size that works for websites would be 600 pixels for width and 150 pixels for height. Click OK to create the canvas.

Click "File | Open" as Layers, then navigate to an image that you want to use as a background for the banner. For the movie blog example, you might open an image of film spools, or an image of the physical film itself.

Use the Open as Layers command to load an image you’d like to appear in the banner’s foreground, such as a picture of a famous actor, or your own picture.

Click the Tools palette icons shaped like an arrow with four heads. This runs the Move tool. Drag on the canvas to place the foreground image where you want it. For the movie blog example, you might drag a picture of Clint Eastwood or another actor toward the right, until it meets the canvas’ right edge.

Click the Tools palette icon shaped like a person with a cloud behind him to run Foreground Select. The cursor changes to a lasso icon, indicating you’re in selection mode. Drag a rough outline around the object or person you want to cut out, e.g. Clint Eastwood. The cursor changes to a painting icon, indicating you’re now in a painting-like mode.

Drag over the object or person you want to cut out, being careful not to let the cursor stray beyond the object’s outline. Press and hold the "Control" key, then drag over the background from which you’re cutting out the object. Press "Enter" to finalize the selection.

Click "Select | Invert" to select the imagery surrounding the object, then press "Delete" to delete that imagery. The object you've selected appears over the background image you loaded.

Click the Tools palette icon that shows a boldface “A” to run the Text tool, then click the Font button in the Tools Options panel. Click a font you like from the list that appears.

Drag on the canvas where you want the title of your banner to appear. GIMP displays a small window in which you can type the title’s text. Type the text, e.g. “Joe’s Flick Picks,” then click close to finalize the text and complete your banner.