Banners are an integral part of the web as we know it, and there may be times when you need to design a header or promotional banner ad for your website. Luckily, you don’t need to hire a professional – or even be a professional – to create one. Try one of these free banner maker tools below.
GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is free image editing software for Windows and Mac. GIMP is expandable with plug-ins and extensions for almost everything. It can be used for retouching and enhancements, simple drawing, converting and processing images, and yes, creating banners.
The GIMP menu includes pencils, airbrushing, cloning, gradient and blending tools. The advanced path tool includes transformable paths and bezier and polygonal selections. Another handy feature is that GIMP’s undo and redo capabilities are limited only by diskspace.
You can create your own custom brushes and patterns, work with multiple layers, and save animations in a frame-as-layer format. Supported file formats include bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and many others.
Each task lends itself to a different working environment and GIMP allows you to customize the layout and colors to your liking. Full screen mode can be useful when you want to work closely on details and make the most of your display.
Bannersnack is an easy to use online app compatible with AOL, Google, the IAB, OpenX and Yahoo’s RightMedia designed specifically for creating web banners.
There’s no coding required – just upload your image or images (jpg or png only) into the editor.
You can generate gif banners for free, although they will carry a watermark. Upgrading to a premium account also gives you the option of creating a Flash version. While you can’t download an HTML5 version, an iFrame embed code can be used to publish the banner that will render accordingly.
My Banner Maker offers a simple online wizard that walks you through five steps in order to create a basic banner that can be used for Facebook, Myspace, or downloaded to your computer.
Choose your desired size from the wide selection of leaderboards, skyscrapers, rectangles, buttons and more, then fill it with a color or upload an image (jpg, png, gif or bmp) of your own. Add text, a border, or special effects (though the range is limited), then save. Banners are generated with an automatic watermark, which can be removed if you sign up for a paid account.
Bannernow is a web-based Flash banner maker with a host of features.
Start by choosing from the list of common banner sizes, or build a banner with custom dimensions instead. You’ll then be taken to the full editing screen, where you can add slides, colors and backgrounds, special effects, buttons, icons and fonts from the vast library or import your own. Each individual slide is fully customizable, down to the positioning of every element within the slide.
You can then download the complete swf file to use.
ExemiousSoft Banner Maker’s layout will be familiar to Microsoft Office users. It’s designed for making gif banner ads, buttons, headers and other web graphics.
Banner Maker comes with 200+ templates, thousands of icons and symbols, several gradients and visual effects including drop shadows, glows, 3D bevels and more. It combines both vector-based drawing tools and image painting tools if you want to draw your own, and also supports layer editing.
You’ll need to download the software to your computer before using it. There’s a free trial, but the unregistered version will save your banners with a watermark.
Banner Designer Pro bears more resemblance to Paint and is a comprehensive suite of tools for making web banners. It’s also Google Adwords compatible.
Select from 17 banner sizes (or make your own), dozen of special effects, hundreds of backgrounds and thousands of symbols. You can import Flash animated backgrounds or static ones, crop individual banner elements and edit aspects like their positioning, timing, brightness and contrast.
Banner Designer Pro supports 14 output formats, including gif, jpg, swf, avi, tiff and more. You can loop/rotate multiple banners in the same spot, or create transparent ones.
You’ll need to download the software to your computer in order to use it. There’s a free trial period, during which banners will be saved with a watermark.