How to Make a Header Image for Google Forms

/ 6 min read
Jack Delaney

Google Forms is a fantastic way to build simple forms. But the customization and theme options leave alot to be desired.

Even if your brand shares the same purple colour as Google's default, you might want to add a custom image that makes your form a little bit less... purple, and a little bit more unique to your brand.

To help you do that, we've put together a step by step guide on how to add a customer header image to your Google Form, and get a matching colour scheme in the process. We'll also recommend an alternative that's not such a headache.

How to add a header image to your Google Form

To add a header image to your Google Form, click the paint palette icon in the top-right corner of the Google Forms editor.

screenshot of google forms color palette icon(via Google Forms)

A sidebar will appear on the right side of the page. From here, you can change the theme and background colours or select Choose image to add your own form header.

screenshot of google forms theme options menu(via Google Forms)

Once you click through to this menu, you can choose from a library of included images, upload an image from your desktop, or import images straight from your Google Photos account.

screenshot of google forms' header image library(via Google Forms)

If you're happy to settle for generic artwork and stock images, your job is done. These preset Themes are already cropped to the required 4:1 aspect ratio, so they fit snugly into your form header.

But, if you want to add your own header—a particular photo or brand logo—you'll have to crop the image to Google's recommended (see: bizarre) 4:1 aspect ratio. In doing so, you'll cut off a large portion of whatever it is you're trying to display.

screenshot of mario and peach in go-karts, being edited within the Google Forms header editor(via Google Forms)

In our example, we either lose the valuable context of Mario and Peach's go-karts or their faces. Even if we take the lesser of two evils and crop it so we can see their faces, it just doesn't look right.

screenshot of google form with incorrectly cropped image of mario and peach(via Google Forms)

It’s even worse if we add our company logo. The cropping wasn’t a dealbreaker for our Mario form, but when it comes to a company logo, it’s important that everything looks right. There’s just no way we could settle for Paperforn.

screenshot of google form with incorrectly cropped paperform logo(via Google Forms)

How to resize a custom Google Forms header

The recommended Google Forms header image size is 1600x400 at an aspect ratio of 4:1. This means, that for the image to display properly, the image needs to be 1600 pixels wide and 400 pixels tall.

It’s a bit of a pain to use another tool just to get the right image dimensions for a background image, but it’s relatively simple at least. You can use a free online tool like Canva or Figma to crop the image to the right size—just make a new canvas or frame 1600 (width) by 400 (height), and add your logo.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can add a background or make it transparent, but for this example, we’ll just stick with white. As you can see in the image below, with the addition of a backdrop, our logo fits perfectly into the header banner.

screenshot of google form with correctly cropped image of the paperform logo(via Google Forms)

Usually, Google Forms will update the colour scheme based on the image you upload. It didn’t work in this instance because our image is black and white, so we were left with this unflattering theme in desperate need of some colour.

screenshot of google form with paperform logo(via Google Forms)

So… much… white. Luckily, you can adjust the look and feel by going back to the theme menu and adding your own theme and background colours that match your brand (or vibe) and add some much-needed visual appeal.

screenshot of google form with paperform logo and the branded yellow background(via Google Forms)

The final result is much better than when we started, though it’s still clearly a Google Form. The only other design tweak you can make is to change the font—and even then, you’re stuck with a meagre selection of 4 preset options.

Google Forms vs. other form building tools

There are two reasons people use Google Forms: (1) it’s free, and (2) it works. We get it. But some things are worth paying for. The mere thought of having to use image editing tools just to add a basic header to a form or survey is enough to give us nightmares.

What should take less than a minute—if that—somehow takes upwards of five. Multiply that by the number of forms you need across your business, and you could be wasting hours of your time. Time could be spent on more important work or watching another episode of Severance.

Google Forms’ customisation just doesn’t stand up against more serious form builders. There are three glaring disadvantages in this situation:

  1. No automatic image resizing, so custom header images display properly.
  2. No advanced theming options to make branded forms.
  3. No access to stock image libraries for quick image imports.

Any money you’re saving on a free option is being spent in time. How would you feel if your form building tool could:

  • Allow you to resize and manipulate images of any size automatically.
  • Offer advanced theming options and complete control over your creations, from colours to fonts to nitty-gritty UI elements.
  • Empower you with native access to Unsplash, GIPHY, and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Not only will you save time, you’ll save yourself the headache of trying to manipulate a free tool to look how you want it. Plus, you’ll unlock a range of features that Google Forms can’t poke a stick at. Now that’s priceless.

Thinking about making the move from Google Forms? You can easily migrate your forms over to Paperform with our Google Forms import tool.

Paperform: a more customisable alternative to Google Forms

Paperform is a digital Swiss Army Knife, that empowers small businesses to build forms, manage their business, and bring their tools together under one platform. Paperform’s designed to help you create unique solutions that are smart and beautiful.

Whether you’re building a registration form or a booking system for your business, Paperform helps you build forms that look amazing and help you achieve amazing things.

screenshot of paperform image editing in action (via Paperform)

Whether you want to add images and videos, tweak the colours, fonts, and UI, or insert visual assets straight from the app with native Unsplash, GIPHY and Creative Cloud integrations, with Paperform’s advanced design tools, the only limit is your imagination.

And even if you do have to make edits to an image, there's no need to switch tabs. We have an in-app image editor (think Canva-lite) that allows you to tweak your images, from cropping and rotating to adding filters and annotations.

At Paperform attractive design and creative freedom are built-in. That goes for header images, actual content, and even the questions themselves. But a modern form builder like Paperform offers so much more than basic customisation to your forms:

  • Multiple form experiences, including our one-question-at-a-time Guided mode.
  • Conditional logic and calculations to tailor user experiences and automate your work.
  • Create dynamic, beautiful purchase order forms and ecommerce pages that integrate with all your favourite payment pathways.
  • Advanced design tools, giving you ultimate control of your form’s look and feel, from colours through to UI.
  • Native integrations with design apps like Unsplash, GIPHY, and Adobe Creative Cloud to make importing assets and designing forms a breeze.
  • An in-app image editor that empowers you to make quick image edits without leaving Paperform.
  • Hundreds of designer templates to get you inspired and creating fast.

Form a better life now.

Get ahead(er image) with Paperform

Google Forms is awesome if you need a quick way to build basic forms. But once you start trying to customise your forms and surveys, the free price tag and feature limitations quickly become a hindrance rather than a benefit.

Fortunately, Paperform is here to help you build advanced forms that look great, and that reflects your brand personality. That's just the beginning, as Paperform is a digital Swiss Army Knife for your business.

Ready to start creating? Get started with Paperform’s 14-day free trial, and leave Google Forms’ limitations behind.


About the author
Jack Delaney
Content Manager
Jack is Paperform's Content Manager, based in Sydney, Australia. He loves hard-boiled crime fiction, Michael Mann movies and coffee as black as midnight on a moonless night.

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