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Rationale for these recommendations

Recommendations for Mobile Ready Hero Images improve consistency and prevent brand teams from engaging in an attention grabbing ‘arms race’. This page also discusses the principles that are used in developing these recommendations, the scope of the recommendations and who developed them.

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Why are rules needed?

Consistency in the images means that shoppers learn where to look in an image for key pieces of information. This speeds up the shopping experience and reduces confusion.

Without rules, brand teams could quickly end up in an attention grabbing ‘arms race’, where they use visually disruptive shapes and colours to make their image ‘shout’ louder than the competition. Rules are needed to ensure a fair and level playing field for all the brands, and a consistent and stable user experience.

The rules have been developed to ensure that the key messages are visually clear to a large proportion of the population. If brand teams adjust fonts and sizes, they may compromise the readability for large numbers of people.

Underlying principles

The principles used to develop these recommendations are as follows:

  • Be clearer: Improve the visual clarity of the four key messages: brand, type of product, variant and size.
  • Be faster: Increase the speed of finding a particular product within a search results page by highlighting its distinguishing features.
  • Be consistent: Promote consistency to improve the shopper experience. For example, size is always positioned in the bottom right corner.
  • Be restrained: Prevent brands from starting an attention grabbing arms race, which would be detrimental to the overall shopper experience. For example, no UPPERCASE TEXT off-pack because its SHOUTING.
  • Be easy: Ensure that Mobile Ready Hero Images can be made by augmenting standard pack shots with off-pack communications, because 100,000+ Mobile Ready Hero Images need to be made, and not all brands have the time and budget to produce digital renders of their packs.
  • Be square: on a global basis, nearly every retailer offers a square canvas for Mobile Ready Hero Images, so we recommend that Mobile Ready Hero Images should be square.
  • Be achievable: Only use retailer technology that already exists, on a global basis. Currently, retailers cannot dynamically generate or dynamically position their overlays, hence we recommend all off-pack communications should be embedded within the image that is supplied to the retailers.

The scope of these recommendations

These recommendations:

  • Have been extensively tested for categories where shelf-life is not important, such as personal care, household, ambient foods and laundry.
  • Are currently being developed for multipacks. Several brands already use Multipack layouts M1 (item pull-out) and M2 (Quantity on item pull-out).
  • Do not cover shelf-life as this information should be placed by the retailer. We recommend that retailers develop the technology to place it in different locations for landscape and portrait products.
  • Will be developed further. We are working with GS1 to codify the existing solutions as a GS1 standard, and develop solutions for the remaining issues

Who developed the recommendations?

Mobile Ready Hero Images were first developed and adopted by Unilever, in collaboration with by the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre.

Subsequently, retailers demanded that Mobile Ready Hero Images had to be category standard, so Unilever has released all of its Mobile Ready Hero Image intellectual property and assets into the public domain, and actively encourages competitors to ‘fast-follow’.

The Cambridge Engineering Design Centre has developed these recommendations to provide detailed guidance on producing Mobile Ready Hero Images and to answer many of the frequently asked questions about hero images. In June 2017, we started working with GS1 to initiate one of their standards development processes for these new types of Mobile Ready Hero Images. GS1 are aiming to develop a single global standard, which will be developed by the GS1 members who volunteer to join the process.


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