What are key visuals and are they the same as hero images?
Key visuals and hero images are graphic assets used to draw attention to a brand — these are often the first branded asset seen by an audience.
An introduction to key visuals and branded hero images
Within the brand design process, the role of a key visual is to help bring life to a product or company. The power of a single, powerful image can summarise an entire mood or spirit — which makes it an integral part of any branding project. In this article, we will be discussing how key visuals can be used by brands to help them communicate their story.
Key visuals are essentially a single view into a brand world. An alcohol company might show a stylised vision of their main product with an indication of the types of flavour or experience the drinker will have. The use of art direction is critical to ensure the image is properly composed and loaded with enough meaning to convey a memorable message that will resonate with an audience.
For example, a film might have a single key visual used across all print, digital media and environmental advertising. This image will often show the key characters and set a mood or aesthetic to help set audience expectations.
Hero images often need to capture attention quickly, often delivering their message within the first few seconds of interaction. This is a key asset in both brand development and advertising.
When producing a key visual, it is important to carefully define what message is to be communicated. For example, when designing a poster for a new product, it is important to first show the product before saying something about it. The core differentiators should be accentuated and brought to the surface.
Key visuals and hero images are usually made up of a combination of photographic, illustrative or typographic content. These can be created individually then brought together under a single style, or produced at the same time with the assistance of an experienced art director.
If your business would benefit from a fresh approach to brand identity development, please get in touch and we will be happy to advise on the best route forward. We recommend that a strategic audit is undertaken before starting new strategic work to ensure it uses a solid evidence base.