Specifically, I'm after the dark blue horizontal bar, the ligher blue bar beneath it, and the matching light blue vertical band to the right. If I were to do this by my own lights, I would use ms image composer to create gifs like this, but it would take me quite a while! Is there a better way? Also, if I create MS image composer gifs, should they be optimized for the web before I put them into a site?
You don't have to be artistic to do much of what you want. Just grab any image button and put your own text in it. Or there are places on the web that you can make and download from presets that they have.