Good news if you’re not a fan of the ubiquitous white: the latest addition to wp.com themes is Motion, a beautiful dark-colored theme designed by 85 ideas.
(Hopefully widget maniacs will resist its other temptation: widgets can be placed in the sidebar as well as a 3-column bottombar as well as the header! Another first in this theme is its double top navigation: tabs for static pages above title and tagline, tabs for post categories below – with the Home tab very intelligently put in the categories section.)
Hopefully, too, you won’t miss a header image. But my experience in the wp.com forum tells me that some users will ask for one, so I worked out a few possibilities. If you can’t do without a header image, go to Appearance>Widgets, add a text widget (and nothing else) to the “header” module, and put one of the following in it:
A. For an image to the right of the title and tagline, spanning the right half of the header
The image must be 470px wide. In my opinion, its height should be small – say around 50px.
For an image without the widget background around it, make the image 492×62 and use this code:
B. For an image below the title and tagline, spanning the entire header
The image must be 980px wide.
For an image with a border, make the image 970px wide, and add this after “img”:
(For hex color codes, see “Colors” under Links 1 in my sidebar.)
C. For an image spanning the entire header and covering the original title and tagline
The image must be 980px wide, and its height must be no less than 80px. Naturally, it must include the blog title.
Alternatively, you can make it semi-transparent [*] and let the original title and tagline show through:
[*] But watch out: may not work in Explorer.
In both cases, for an image with a border make the image 970px wide and add this after the margin commands in the image style code:
Update: WP added a Custom Header option to the theme (under Appearance); but that’s just for a 50×50 px image replacing the three intersecting circles to the left of the blog title.