Creating a Sleek Navigation Bar in 6 Simple Steps

I spent about 2 hours today just surfing the net looking for inspiration to write about, and the one thing about a lot of sites that I noticed is that they don’t have very sleek/neat looking navigation bar. I decided to write a quick tutorial on how to create a sleek navigation bar in Photoshop.

Psd located at the bottom of this tutorial.

Final Preview:



Before we start open up Photoshop and create a new canvas, a 1000px by 180px with a dpi of 72. When you have the canvas in front of you make sure your ruler is activated by pressing (Ctrl + R). I will just be showing you the basics on how to create a sleek looking navigation bar. Let’s get started.

Step 1:

Now that you have a blank canvas in front of you, grab the fill tool and fill your background with Black (#000000). Now go to (View>New Guide) select the Horizontal Button and enter 69px in the position box. Go back to (View>New Guide) select Horizontal once again and enter 113px in the position box. Now you will have your two guidelines for creating the navigation bar. See below…


Step 2:

Now that we have the guidelines in place we can go ahead and grab the rectangle tool (Shortcut: U) Drag your rectangle inside those guidelines the full width of the canvas. When you are done placing your shape, right click on the shape layer and click Blending Options. We are going to be adding a Gradient Overlay. We will be keeping the settings the same as default, just increase the scale to 120%. The Gradient we used will be (#0d0d0d) to (#2e2e2e) to (#0d0d0d) See below…

Step2settings Step2

Step 3:

Now that we have the navigation bar in place and the effect is applied we can add the text. For the tutorial I just used a simple Myriad Pro at 13pt (Points) for the labels. The labels read Home, Blog, Portfolio and Contact. I spaced Home and Blog 60px (pixels) apart and the rest of them I spaced 44px (pixels) apart. You can either use the Guidelines by going to (View>New Guide) then doing your spacing through there or you can do it by hand. After you have spaced the labels to your liking, you need to add Drop Shadows to each of the label layers. Right Click one of the layers and click Blending Options select Drop Shadow and change the settings according to the settings seen below…

Step3ds Step3

Step 4:

Now that we have our labels in place it’s time to create our highlighted button, Create a new layer by going to Layer>New>Layer or by hitting (Ctrl + Shift + N) drag that layer below all the labels, but above the navigation bar we created earlier. Grab your rectangle tool again and create a block around the HOME label. Try to be as symmetrical as possible. When you are done with the shape, right click the shape’s layer and click Blending Options we are going to be adding, Inner Glow and a Gradient Overlay. The Inner Glow’s Color is going to be Black (#000000) and the Gradient Overlay’s Color is going to be (#b6ec63) to (#608427) The Gradient settings will remain as is, and won’t change at all See below…

Step4isStep4go Step4

Step 5:

Now we have our labels and highlight button created. Now it’s time to create our search section. Firstly grab your Rectangle tool and draw a block next to Contact. This will act as your edit box for the word or phrase you will search for. Now grab your rounded rectangle tool and make sure you have your radius set to 10px at the top. It has to give us a nice rounding. Drag your button right next to search box you just created make it nice and symmetrical. When you are happy with the shape, go down to your previously created highlight button and right click on it, look down the list for Copy Layer Style and click that. Now right click on your new search button that you just created and hit Paste Layer Style. See Below…


Step 6:

Now that we have our Search section sorted we have to add its labels. I used Myriad Pro – Color White – Size 15pt (points) for the button and then I used Myriad Pro – Color Grey (#727171) – Size 12pt (points) for the Search box. On the left hand side of the Navigation bar you can then place your title or blog name etc.




Hope you enjoyed the Tutorial and will be showcasing a sleek navigation bar soon.

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Jacques is an Entrepreneur and Founder of the An1ken Group. He recently launched a daily vlog on Youtube — JacquesvhTV. He started Creativeoverflow in 2009 as a hub for creatives. Connect with him: - @Jacquesvh - Facebook - Instagram - Pinterest