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The hero image has become a staple of brand recognition in recent years. It is the first impression a potential customer or client is met with when visiting your website and immediately sends a message about who you are. At their best, hero images show your brand solving a customer’s problem. Designing a hero image that is as unique as your company is, that aligns itself with your core brand identity, and that effectively and strikingly communicates its intended message takes serious finesse. With that in mind, below are five valuable lessons to be learned about hero images from some of the world’s top brands.
ProtectYourHome.com’s carbon monoxide detector sales page shows how to answer the “problem” that your brand is solving with an emotional response. This hero image doesn’t show how a carbon monoxide detector works—that’s boring! Instead, it shows a family spending time together, happy and safe at home. Consumers aren’t buying a device that detects carbon monoxide—they’re buying the safety and security of the ones they love the most. Studies show that humans are emotional decision-makers, not rational decision-makers. Don’t try to convince potential customers that your product or service is the best when you can appeal to their emotions. When trying to identify what problem is being solved by your product or service, dive deep into the psychology of your target consumer and connect the answer to something visceral and close to home. This speaks to the part of the brain that is actually responsible for decision-making.
Image source: ADT-Carbon Monoxide Detector
While photographs are great when used well, implementing a custom illustration provides a handcrafted feel that can immediately communicate the value of your product or service, especially for graphic designers and artists. The style of the illustration depends on your particular brand identity; while illustrations are generally used in more “fun” contexts, they can be very informative and get across the mood or feeling of a particular company or organization, like this example shown on Envato.
Image source: Envato-Hero Image Trend
Flat lay photographs, photos taken of a scene from bird’s eye view, are an excellent choice for restaurants and other service industries that need to communicate their product in a lifestyle context. This example in Rosa Restaurant’s website is a stunning and effective way to draw interest.
Image source: Rosa-Restaurant Website
The era of totally flat design is slowly dying, and while we’re not yet returning to the age of full 3D, photos and illustrations with a bit more depth are on the rise. This hero image for Oakley’s cycling promotion is a great example of how to use depth to create a dynamic and engaging effect.
Image source: Oakley-Cycling
Sometimes our desire to fill a design entirely is misplaced. Lots of negative space draws interest and serves to make an image engaging without being “loud.” This example from Berger by Clapat shows how to use this style to fit an overall minimalist style, an excellent choice for many brands.
Image source: Clapat-Creative Agency Portfolio
If you’re worried your hero image, or any part of your website needs some additional work, don’t hesitate to ask for help from professionals. We can help you with anything from graphic design to social media management and marketing.
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