When it comes to designing a great homepage, a critical element is an effective Hero Image to grab the visitors’ attention and evoke emotion. This bold image is an influential communication tool. It sets the tone for the rest of the website, so why settle for anything less than powerful? We’ve rounded up some of our own tips for selecting a great image, and how you can make it work for your website.

Make it Relevant

Since this image will essentially serve as an introduction to your brand and business, it’s important to consider using one that is relevant to your company. Things to think about are your brand colors and style, whether you are you selling a product or service, or simply showcasing your portfolio. These are just a few of the things to consider. If you have a style guide, use that as your reference. If not, spend time gathering images that represent your brand and evoke emotion.

Add Value and Purpose

Just like all images and copy on your website, the hero image should add value. Does it tell a story? Does it support your business’ narrative? It’s critical to use an image that not only identifies the central message and tone of your website, but it also has to be credible.

Evoke Emotion

Pictures are worth 1,000 words. Hero images are among the first you see when visiting a website, making it the most important image on the website. A powerful hero image should elicit an emotion – whether it be positive or negative. Images that cause people to feel are likely to be the most effective in communicating a message (and this goes beyond just the hero image). If your image generates inspiration, that’s even better.

Include an Effective CTA

Think about where you’d like your visitors to go next. Whether it’s to learn more about the team, to view a portfolio, or to download a marketing guide, the hero image should include some kind of ask of the audience. Since this occurs above the fold, it should be a higher priority for you and your business. In terms of proper design, consider using a color and font that doesn’t compete with the image itself, but helps emphasize the overall message.  

Make it Interesting

In some cases, you may opt for an illustration or video instead of a photograph. Both MyEmma and WeTransfer are great examples of companies using something other than a picture to introduce their business. In the case of WeTransfer, the cartoon characters are a reoccurring theme throughout the website and file transfer process. Of course, this may not be the best choice for your business. If you are using a photograph, consider using a darker overlay or one in a different color. While you very well could go with an image in its full opacity, an overlay (or gradient tool) will help make your CTA and text stand out and reinforce your brand identity.