Winning Hearts Over – The importance of Hero Image in Graphics Design
Whether Baahubali, or a more real-life bravery award winner like Kameshwar Jagannath Waghmare, we love a hero. Don’t we? Heroes are bold, brave, and powerful, and they invariably garner attention. They stand out for their courage, honesty and integrity. They are the centrepoint of all attention; much like the Hero Image in Graphics Design which can make or break the purpose of your marketing communication.
Before the advent of web design, the term hero image, when used in retail and wholesale business, referred to the image of a product showcased outside of a lifestyle scenario. With the Internet taking advertising online, the Hero Image has found its way to the above-the-fold-zone of a web page and is typically the first visual element the visitor will see on your website. To that end, it gives a brand the chance to leave a good first impression. Hence, marketers are concerned about an attractive, eyeball grabbing Hero Image that really serves its purpose.
What’s more, the term “Hero” can sometimes be misleading, prompting the use of a human image as the Hero Image, but that’s totally not mandatory. Any image can make a good Hero Image provided it establishes a quick visual, emotional, and emotional connection with the reader. Therefore, used intelligently, photos, custom illustrations, and 3D Graphics can fare equally well so long as they set a balance between realism and aesthetics and induce the reader to explore further.
Accordingly, the Hero Image has its role in web or graphics design clearly cut out. It must:
- Be aesthetically satisfying: Therein, it must be visually appealing to the reader.
- Be Impressive: It must draw the reader’s attention as quickly as possible.
- Be Informative: It must convey a relevant visual message about the content.
- Be provocative: It must evoke an emotional response from the reader.
- Be correctly composed: It must not disturb the overall scheme of design making sure to ultimately guide the reader to the call-to-action (CTA) button.
Keeping the above pointers in mind, know that a Hero Image has served its purpose well, when it has:
- Immediately arrested your’s visitor’s attention
- Substantially improved your website’s design
- Tempted your visitor to explore the website further
- Added depth and credibility to your page content
So, how do you ensure that your Hero Image does all of the above and more?
Here are some principles you need to keep in mind when designing the Hero Image:
Graphic: Needless to say, the type of image you use will have a direct relation to the content of your page and more importantly, match your branding and marketing objectives. Suffice it to say that a balanced juxtaposition of your image with a clear and catchy headline will achieve the desired result. Where hero headers are concerned, you might like to use Chromless images like Apple does, which are not fixed but have the ability to float; allowing you more freedom to use bolder and lightweight fonts.
Size: You don’t want a tiny hero image your reader will be hard pressed to find but neither one so large that it slows down the loading time of your website. Whereas a 1,200 pixels wide image with a 16:9 aspect ratio will do nicely on a full-screen, a banner will be optimized at 1600 x 500 pixels. If your readers browse on large screens and you want crystal clear clarity then 1800 pixels can be the furthest you could scale to but you run the risk of slowing down your site’s speed. The wise way is to track the typical screen resolution of your audiences’ devices on Google Analytics and design with the results in mind.
Responsiveness: Most online buyers today browse through their mobile. So make sure your mobile Hero Image in Graphics Design is responsive at 800 x 1200 pixels. You should aim for a load time of one to two seconds. Beyond that, your reader might veer off to a speedier loading page.
Colour: Today’s graphics design trends show a leaning towards neutral, pleasing palettes that are soft on the eyes, and offer the opportunity for contrast between the background, and text. Colour overlays also provide this contrast, whereas a less intrusive text shadow method will often add a very subtle contrast between the Hero Image in Graphics Design and the typography being used.
Font: Shorter titles can be more impactful if you make them bold, especially with sans serif fonts. Contrast it with a subtitle in a stylish and cursive serif font to lend elegance and style to your design. Bear in mind that screen fonts can’t be used in print graphics design and rendering embedded fonts on your website can be a costly affair. Too many fonts will make the design messy. Instead, choosing a minimum of two fonts, and switching between italic, bold, and underlined variations of the same font can be indicative of different levels of emphasis, also lending variation and diversity between different sections.
Text: Be careful not to deviate from the central focus of your Hero Image by placing text on the busy parts of the image to avoid clutter and confusion. Remember that readers may not hit the home button every time so it’s important the text stands out in a part of the image and is easy to notice and read.
Typography: When using uppercase, some extra letterspace will go a long way in increasing the prominence and readability of the title. Big titles also look good with big and thin fonts. Overall, the fonts you choose should complement the visual aesthetic of the image you choose.
To conclude, the Hero Image will majorly determine the positive user experience factor of your page. Do visualize it with careful consideration.
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