Hero Headers in UI: How to Nail Your Website Design

Get insights on how to create hero headers and hero images that improve the design and flow of your website.

Jay Perlman

I have a question for you website owners and designers out there: do you want to have a warm and inviting welcome to your landing page? Hopefully, all of you are responding with a loud and proud "HECK YES!"

Today, you'll learn some fun ways to give your website visitors a dazzling welcome by learning the basic steps and design principles to create website hero headers. Learning these tips and techniques won't just improve the top part of your landing page, but hopefully will positively impact the entire website.

But we're going to pump the brakes for just a second to answer a fundamental question some of you may be having...

What is a hero header?

When you visit a website, that big display with text, images, and navigational elements that sits above the scroll on your design framework is what's considered a hero header. In super basic terms, it's a website banner, and usually, it's the first one you see.

So what's the big deal about having a hero header on your website? Well, for one, hero headers are usually the first notable visual that your visitors will see, and, once again, we all want to make good first impressions, right? Right! So that's where hero headers come in; they act as the visual starting point for your website.

Hero header image example featuring Hands illustrations

Two, the hero header establishes a tone and theme for the rest of your website. Visitors are always making snap judgments on whether they like a website or not, and a hero header help establish delight and appeal in that millisecond timeframe.

In other words, hero headers reinforce the quality of a website's design and establish trust for potential website viewers.

Creating the Perfect Hero Header

It's is safe to say that it's super important to have a well-made hero header. Luckily, just as with creating an eye-grabbing book cover or a catchy display ad, there are ways to make your website's hero headers excellent and inviting.

1. Establish balance with your hero and CTA

While a hero header should be bold and attention-grabbing, it also should not overshadow what your website is offering. In fact, just the opposite, it should clearly help highlight the message of your website and the CTA (Call to Action).

A quality hero header will draw the reader to the CTA while also establishing the tone of the website Take this example of a hero header available on Figma:

Hero header and hero image featuring Open Doodles illustrations

The hero header doesn't obscure the message or the CTA, but rather works in tandem with them.

Ensuring a balanced image with your hero header and USP will help users find what they are looking for, and offer them a pleasing and delightful visual experience.

2. Use contrast with your hero headers

Similar to establishing the balance of your hero header, it is also important to create contrast between the hero and the CTA and USP.

It's an easy mistake to accidentally obscure the selling points into the design of the hero header. Of course, you want your visitors to easily see your proposition and CTA, which is why having effective contrast is an important tip to take when creating a masterful top part of your website.

Hero header example featuring Amigos illustrations for the hero image

Contrasting CTAs with the actual visuals will have dramatically positive effects on the flow of your website, which will, in turn, lead to a higher CTR.

While your hero is about welcoming visitors with beautiful visuals, it's also about guiding them to the solutions they are looking for.

3. Whitespace is nice space

Whitespace combined with a delightful hero header is a great way to make a striking first impression.

The beauty of applying white space to a hero header is that it can inject a ton of harmony and legibility into your web design as a whole. Plus, white space is also a tremendous way to provide balance and hierarchy, which will be absolutely splendid for your visitor's eyeballs.

Hero header example featuring Women Power doodles for the hero image

So if you're looking for a way to create a clean and easily readable website, investing in hero designs that use white space can be a nifty tactic to incorporate into your hero banner.

4. Animated heroes are dope heroes

Design principles aside for a second, introducing a little action into your hero banner is a great way to add some excitement to your design.

Animated hero header featuring blush doodles for the hero images

This tip is straightforward but also super effective. Animation gives a sense of energy and vitality, which is great for engaging first-time users of your webpage. Plus, effective movement and dynamics are a perfect combination for punchy CTAs and copy.

Animated hero header from Headspace

Lastly, a little energy with your visual introduction also often makes users more excited to browse, which means that the dreaded bounce rate is sure to drop, and those wonderful clicks are sure to increase!

5. Doodles are SUPER-heroes!

Okay, obviously, we love ourselves some awesome illustrations, and we always recommend using doodles for your creative projects. BUT! We're not alone in telling you that illustrations are an increasingly popular way to design your hero headers. Big-name brands like Notion, Mailchimp, and Adobe are turning to doodles for their hero needs as well.

Notion hero header with classic illustrations

Illustrations are flexible and customizable, unlike stock photos that are static and unchangeable. Plus, another wonderful thing about using illustrations for your hero header needs is that it can apply style and aesthetics across the entire website and branding.

Hero header example from Mailchimp featuring dope doodles

Doodles also give designers the ability to adjust components and elements to ensure that every detail of the design is perfect, creating the best possible introduction to the website.

Hero Image Design Examples

Luckily for those of you who are searching for a spark of hero header inspiration, we've gathered up a few solid examples that can act as a creative starting point.

Todoist keeps it clean

Todoist does a great job of establishing balance with their use of white space. Plus, while the hero image is stimulating and colorful, it doesn't obscure or draw away from the CTA.

hero header for Todoist that is clean and organized
Source: Todoist

Habitat hits the mark

Black, white, and very classy. Habitat takes some inspiration from the ever-popular Notion doodles and creates a hero header with a quality hierarchy and pleasant visuals.

Habitat hero header and hero images that are classy
Source: habitat

Elegant style for Stellic

These illustrations made for an ideal and elegant hero image as they combine perfectly with the text and convey a story that is visually pleasing.

Elegant hero header from Stellic
Source: Vera Voishvilo

3D with OWWStudio

3D is fun and it POPS! That's why sometimes a little depth with your hero images and hero headers can be the creative key.

3D hero header images from Sempoa
Source: OWWStudio

Avocode and friendly doodles

Plane, simple, but also super-adorable and very welcoming. These two examples create a warm vibe from the get-go with their hero headers and hero images.

Avocode hero header example. Friendly and fun doodles.
Source: Avocode
Lovely hero header example with doodles and colors
Source: Tran Mau Tri Tram

Photos for Asana

Okay even we can admit that sometimes an awesome photo and cool graphics work wonders for hero headers! Asana really nails it here as this hero header is just pure fun.

Hero header from Asana that features photos.
Source: Asana

Start Creating Your Heroes!

Experimentation is the best way to figure out what is the best hero header for your website. Whether it is with photos, doodles, or something else, there are infinite ways to create beautiful and inviting hero headers that will excite your visitors to explore more.

Since you guys are the dopest ever, we want to leave you with a few goodies to start mastering your own hero headers! Check out these delightful templates available on Figma:

Of course,  while creating your hero headers, HAVE FUN WITH IT! Be inspired to push your creative boundaries, and of course, always feel free to tweet us with questions or examples of your work. We literally get so pumped seeing what y'all come up with!

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Product Design