“How do we design our header?” Here’s a good question we get a lot, especially this time of year. New editors are at the controls, wondering how to put their unique stamp on the year.

This is a pretty simple answer, as far as we’re concerned. You can do it yourself, or you can hire us to do it for you. (I’ll take “Logo Design and Web Header” for 200, Alex.)

OK. So, you’ve picked a path… now, what?

Everybody needs an idea, if not a floor-to-ceiling, inspirational cat poster to get them thinking.

Take a deep dive into our client list, our Award Winners, and you’ll find a bunch of great ones. Many strive for a look that screams modern professionalism. We don’t blame ‘em. But you shouldn’t be discouraged from having some more fun with yours.

What does “fun” look like? Let’s see…

Use a photo of your student section

Awfully specific, we know. But you know the great thing about student sections? They’re probably color-coordinated. Here are two examples courtesy of Leander High School and Cathedral Catholic High School:

We also see many headers with various school buildings in the background. A photo’s a photo.

Make it a GIF, obviously!

We can’t take credit for this one. Bravo, Linganore High School.

… Wait for it.

Use a patterned background you just want to reach out and touch

Use ALL THE COLOR

Change it as seasons and holidays pass

You just have to trust us on this one. Go to the HiLite’s site today, then return around Halloween, again sometime in December, then specifically on Christmas (what else do you have to do?), then when you’re dateless on Valentine’s Day (we’re sorry), then again a couple months later.

If you follow those instructions and don’t end up seeing at least six different headers, please contact us immediately and we’ll call Jim because something must be wrong.

Simply pick a sweet Google Font

I mean, why not? It’s just SO EASY. And so fun.

One last important thing: The deadline to enter the National Scholastic Press Association’s Online Pacemaker contest is earlier than ever before. It’s Monday, Oct. 1. You can enter here.

Judging this year will be continuous, meaning Pacemaker judges will review the sites on a regular basis until the finalists are announced Jan. 8. Then, those judges will continue to monitor the selected finalists through April.

Last year, 17 of the 22 Online Pacemaker Award winners were members of the SNO community. We’d like to see that number grow this year.

The winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, April 25-27.