Hero Image: What it is, why you need one & how to create it

First impressions are critical in online marketing. When people land on your website or a social media page, there are a few things they will instantly see. Most of the time ‘the first thing’ is your hero image.

Hero images are a less well-known tool than a traditional logo. But as more people move online for all their shopping needs, you will need to provide a strong and visual first impression. A hero image is one of the best ways to make that impression.

Let’s go over:

  • What exactly a hero image is
  • Why and how people and companies use them
  • How you can create your own stunning hero image

What Is A Hero Image?

A hero image is a very large and specific kind of website banner. They are typically larger than most other banners and are prominently displayed at the top of websites. They are normally above the “fold”, which is the area the viewer sees before they scroll down. They are front and centre, with the navigation bar and other tools nearby.

Two suferers riding a big wave

Hero images cover almost the entire width of a webpage, leaving only room for calls to action and navigation options. Because of this, hero images need to be premium and professional. They should be an attractive visual that creates a mood for what new viewers should expect from your website.

There are a few common traits most professional hero images share. They are either high-quality static images, repeating videos or animations. Because they are placed alongside important directions for viewers, hero image colours are often well-thought out to allow some attention to go to sign-up options or navigation bars.

Why Should I Use One?

People have short attention spans and tend to enter and exit dozens of sites while browsing online. When a user lands on your website, you will want them to stay there. One of the best ways to keep them is through a hero image that immediately answers their questions.

A hero image is supposed to grab attention and build expectations. People respond well to quality visual content. Having a professional, high-resolution banner across the page is a great way to convince visitors to keep looking around your website.

Make A Hero Image

Choosing the right hero image can be a bit difficult. But you can start your search by narrowing down your options based on your industry.

You can start making a hero image using PikWizard and Design Wizard. Follow these steps to have your own hero image with just a few steps.

High Quality Images

First, you will need to find the images you will use for your banners. PikWizard is home to hundreds of images you can choose from. You can then edit those images on Design Wizard.

Selecting the right images provides a great framework and the inspiration you need for a great final image. You can start by choosing a template that aligns with the products and services you offer.

Travel Sites

One of the most common uses of hero images is for travel services and events. Many images are appropriate templates for a travel site. PikWizard has plenty of outdoor or people-centred images that you can use as a travel hero image template.

Streaming Sites

Sites like Netflix have some of the most memorable hero images. But there are many streaming sites apart from the big companies like Netflix and Disney.

If you have a site that houses your streamable online content, a hero image serves as a great introduction. Check out PikWizard’s templates for online or tech-themed hero images.

Restaurant Sites

In the age of Uber and Covid-19, many restaurants are getting more business online. You can introduce your online order services with a food and drink template from PikWizard.

Dentist Office Websites

Online booking channels for dentists and other healthcare service providers are often managed partially online. An appropriate, professional hero image will help you make the ideal impression for visitors.

Illustration Tools

After you choose an image to start with, it’s time for some embellishment. You have several options you can use to make sure your hero image looks good on your website. First, once you find an image you like, you can resize it. You can also compress an image using tools like Photoshop, or other online resources. Design Wizard has the illustration tools you need to embellish your image.

Your image files will normally be saved as either png or jpg. If one option doesn’t work well for you, you can try the other. Image file types may offer different qualities and loading speeds on your site.

Subject Placement

A subject is the primary focal point of a hero image. They are added because they draw focus to a specific point of a large canvas which would be distracting on its own. By placing a subject in the right place, you’re drawing attention close to the call to action.

Cluster of items on a table

The subject is normally on the right or left side of a hero image.

Sometimes, you can opt to not include a subject in your image. In that case, centre your copy and call to action.

Add Text

There should always be some text on your hero image, but not enough to overwhelm visitors. Text is normally placed on the opposite side of the subject. This text should be a call to action that is snappy and to the point. One or two sentences will normally suffice.

Sometimes, it’s also appropriate to include some small-font text at the bottom of a hero image.

Treat Your Backgrounds Well

The key here is to add text and subjects that compliment your backgrounds. Your text should contrast well and stand apart from the background. The text should be in focus and the background should take its rightful place – in the back.

Test Your Images

You can always do a better job with your hero image. Starting with one image is great, but there’s only one way to know how your hero image is performing.

After you design a couple of hero images, you can A/B test them to find out which one is better. You can’t always guess which hero image is best at a glance. So, for the best results, you’ll need to get a bit more technical.

Hero Image Ideas

When you’re building an ideal hero image, there are a few things to consider. Try to keep these ideas in mind as you create and edit your first hero images.

Focus On The Top Of Your Website

Your hero image will hoard most of your visitors’ attention. But you still need to focus on the aspects of your site that are most important. When visitors land on your website, they should see your hero image alongside the options that you are trying to entice them towards.

Silhouette of people infront of blue aquarium of jellyfish

The above reasons are why hero images are often displayed side-by-side with a sign-up box. Another good option is a “find out more” button for the visitor to click on, which can redirect them to relevant content or a landing page. Normally, the navigation bar is layered at the top of the hero image.

Centre It Around Your Products

A hero image is supposed to compliment your product/service catalogue.

You won’t normally cover your entire hero image with an image of your products. But you can feature the presentation of your products in contrast with the background or their use by customers. You can even add some text to highlight your most popular items.

A great way to use hero images is a smart product placement. Your hero image can feature your products in use. By doing so you can also associate your products with the emotions or circumstances they are meant to cause.

Show Benefits

Your hero image should prominently display the benefits your product or service brings. For example, entertainment service hero images normally display happy people having a good time. For professional products, someone performing their job in a lower-stress situation is a more appealing image.

Family having fun playing with virtual reality head set

One of the main points of a hero image is to show visitors what they can expect from your brand. So, your banner should show them the ideal situation they should strive for with your products or services.

Page Caching

Hero images look good when they pop up on a screen. But sometimes they can be too slow to load, causing users to leave your site prematurely.

Page caching is a complicated process to explain. But you don’t need to be a genius to use it. You can simply hire someone to do it for you, or you can learn the necessary programming to do it yourself.

In some cases, extensive expertise is not required for page caching. If your site is on WordPress, you can just use a plugin. Just remember to only use one plugin, or they will contradict each other and ruin your site’s code and normally make it slower.

UX Design

Hero image designs rely on the principles of user experience (UX) design. UX design allows you to optimize your hero image according to tested principals that keep visitors engaged.

You don’t necessarily need to by a UX expert. But can learn enough to do it yourself or consult a UX expert to make the most out of your hero image.

Size Changes

One of the most important hero image design principles is that it is OK to downsize your image. But you shouldn’t try to upsize one.

With jpg, in particular, upsizing your image will greatly reduce the image’s quality. There are a few ways to mitigate this effect. But it’s safer to just avoid downsizing.

Start Designing A Hero Image

Hero images are an increasingly popular design tool for capturing attention. But like any other kind of design, there are certain principles that you have to follow for the best possible results.

Plates of food layed out on dark wood table

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