When designing website background images, there are many considerations to make. For example, should you use stock images, static images, or subtle patterns? How does your imagery emphasize your website? And can things such as semi-transparent overlays ultimately detract from what you are trying to achieve?
Content backgrounds can go a long way toward giving a website a particular feel. Deliberate choice in background color can go a long way toward providing a feeling for a website, which is doubly so for websites that use image backgrounds, which are often more complex in color and composition. When it comes time to pick a solid background for your website design, you should seek inspiration.
Showcase of Website Background Images
When it comes to seeing how background images work across various website concepts, this list has you covered with plenty of design inspiration. There are examples of incredible background images and attention-grabbing elements such as moving objects. There are also examples of colorful background images and subtle, high-contrast photography images.
No matter if your website is a boxed or full-width layout or follows the common ratio, there are many examples of images integrated into website designs. Many of these make an excellent approach for portfolio sites as well.
Paragon Oak has a wonderfully rustic feel owing to the choice of a full-screen background image. The pleasing combination of evening lights with spotlights casting shadows on the framed building promotes a sense of comfort. The site very much puts the product in focus through the image background.
Nobull offers no bull with a direct appeal to a desire for strength and motivation in the choice of leader image. The image depicting someone mid-prep for weight lifting showcases a no-nonsense attitude toward the brand. The lack of heavily distinguishing gendered features in the photo also promotes the brand’s universality. Fitness, as seen here, is for anyone.
A beautiful beach vista graces visitors to Travamigos and begs the question, “why can’t this be you?” The image is excellent, depicting a beautiful beach with clear water, stunning rock formations, and excited and active vacationers to take it all in. The picture awakens a desire to travel in anyone who visits. (See our showcase of travel websites for more ideas.)
Solid Giant’s website puts a face to the service by providing a photo of Josh Starr, the owner, as soon as you open the site. Such a strategy goes a long way toward establishing trust with a business. Knowing who the owner is and putting a face to the head of an organization goes a long way.
Salt Surf’s full-screen background image carousel depicts young people repping the apparel brand. The images are moody and casual, representing the type of buyer the brand seeks to lure. The gallery oozes cool as it flips between four featured products.
The Law Practice presents an image of three friendly professional women hard at work. This is a great way to establish the website’s tone, which has the tagline of “We talk a language you can understand.” The image feels invitational, but it also reflects the nature of the work itself. For a law practice, the image depicts something equally professional and friendly.
Diehl Group Architects uses a carousel system to provide high-contrast black and white images depicting different aspects of the business. This assembly of full-screen background images represents the different kinds of work the Diehl Group does, such as roles of old blueprints in a stack for the forensic architecture service.
E2 Homes spotlight their portfolio of architectural remodels to emphasize the quality of their work. As you scroll down the page, each home fills the screen, depicting the design and aesthetic sense of the company. Each photo is dramatically lit and showcases a variety of materials and textures, generating a great deal of visual interest.
Heartwood Resort invites viewers in with a glimpse of the private acres they offer. The first image depicts a peaceful lake and dock for boating excursions, and then as you scroll, you see exited boaters in a later background image. The storytelling here to illustrate the fun is a nice touch.
Bensen’s emphasis on their furniture design is highlighted as soon as you visit the website and are greeted with a spotlight piece. Ranging from chairs to tables to beds to storage, each visit presents a well-lit photo of the product in question, set among the complementary decor. The design sense is strong here and makes for an appealing display of products through background photos.
Elemotion’s gallery of elephant pictures goes a long way toward inviting viewers to support the cause of protecting the animals. The full-body website backgrounds depicting the Asian elephants in the wild pan and zoom help establish an emotional connection. It is a strong opening statement assisted by the background image size changes.
Exo Ape’s background images depicting the brand’s design aesthetics are undoubtedly eye-catching. The first image is presented and locked to the background, staying in place as you scroll. Other images explode into examples of an all-out, attention-grabbing video background, depicting various design projects.
The website of the Utah State Government puts dramatic vista front and center for visitors. The state’s natural beauty and scale are displayed across a rotating gallery of images, framed by an irregular, mountain-type shape at the bottom, reflecting some of the same vistas seen in the background. The background image dimensions emphasize the wide-open spaces Utah presents.
Hell Yes! offers a large background depicting various speakers affiliated with the organization in a large, central background image. However, every slight mouse motion results in a new speaker filling the space, creating a chaotic but effective reveal of the number of potential speakers on the site.
Like other websites on this list, Vermeulen’s website uses a rotating series of images that fill the page. It is pretty compelling, so it is seen so often as each large image depicts stunning design work. Such detailed photographs are also found as you scroll down the page, emphasizing different elements of what Vermeulen does. The background image positions help to lead the eye through their story.
Maxxim Vacations greets visitors with a simple image of homes among the rolling hills of a bay area, depicting the lovely Atlantic Canada region. Such a calm and relaxing image, showing the landscape at dawn, has a beautiful interplay of light and areas of visual interest. You cannot help but be charmed.
This apparel brand uses high-contrast images of rough and tumble hikers and dramatic natural vistas to highlight the durability of their outdoor wear. The full-screen imagery cycles through at a reasonable pace and emphasizes the clothing. The images range from posed photos depicting landscapes to action shots of models in gear, mid-motion, creating a sense of dynamism.
This website opens with a large image of a chateau environment that combines French architecture and greenery into an inviting space. As users scroll, they learn more about the club, activities, and food. A carousel of images depicting activities and associated times reveals the full day anyone can have at this golf club.
Ports V highlights apparel through full-screen images depicting models in the brand’s clothing. It’s all quite practical and highlights the exciting designs of the clothing in staged poses. The site utilizes a somewhat standard form of full-screen image display, as seen on other sites on the list. The critical thing here is that it works, however.
Loftgarden’s website presents viewers with a 3D render of an architectural and design concept that appears real at first but is, in fact, a render. The website makes this clear. The website’s usage of a single large image is compelling and looks OK with mobile browsers as well.
The New-York Historical Society presents a collection of stories and features about the museum and library. It focuses on key topics through the usage of large background images. The images depict various issues and change from time to time, but they do a fantastic job drawing the eye. (See our showcase of non-profit websites for more inspiration.)
Idyl uses its content background to market its designer jewelry composed of sustainable diamonds. The image viewers first encounter is a modern woman with a necklace and earring in clear focus, depicting just some of the body decor available through Idyl. The glamour shot looks like it could be used to advertise any number of products if it weren’t for the bright pop of the diamonds across the model’s neck and ear.
F Modern presents a scrolling array of interior design photos depicting the brand’s ultra-modern furniture designs. The static images are zoomed in and panned to give each shot of a home space a feeling of motion. The colors chosen in the surrounding area also help the furniture pop. You have no trouble discerning what furniture is the focus of the image.
MT Food Group makes visitors hungry by filling the entire screen with gorgeous photos of delicious tasting meals. The carousel gallery highlights about five of six tasty dishes and is complemented by bold text reading “Food is Our Philosophy.” Don’t look at this graphic background on an empty stomach.
Go Instore presents the novel tech of Live Video Shopping by illustrating what this is in the website’s background image. Depicting a woman doing her shopping from the comfort of her home, the hero image to the right shows the live shopper she is working with. This dynamic, accomplished through header background images, is an efficient way to make a service clearer to visitors.
Final Thoughts on Website Background Images
Finding the right website background images can truly elevate the experience of browsing websites for visitors. Usage of elements such as negative space combined with a mobile-friendly aspect ratio allows for your website’s background image to look brilliant no matter the context in which it is seen. A browser window can be tough to fill, so consider how these websites utilize background image size, white space, and more to ensure you are appropriately inspired.