Storytelling through design: Let’s make it remarkable

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Storytelling has always been an essential part of our lives throughout history. Witnesses of events that have ever taken place tell stories every day that are recorded and published for the world to read. Over time, the way in which stories are narrated have evolved significantly i.e. there has been a great progress in storytelling. The fact that storytelling can often become too dry if not narrated wisely led to some creative minds coming up with ideas to make the process interesting and hence they involved design in it to make it remarkable!

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When we talk about design, a lot of colors and aesthetics revolves around our minds. Design is a broad term and that is the best thing about it because creative minds can take design to a whole new level. Designing has been very popular in almost every industry for promotion and marketing purposes and so designers have been learning new tools and software to improve their skills. From among the several reasons why designing is so popular, the one we need to be concerned about is the fact that it makes a content attractive and engaging. This is why when we combine design with storytelling, it can turn out to be something exceptionally interesting and engaging for readers.

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(Source: www.brandingforgood.com)

The image demonstrates how a story showing difference in shoe manufacturing processes can be made attractive by adding design.

How can design be used to make storytelling remarkable?

Let us consider an example of a motivational speaker who uses real-life examples with whatever he speaks in a session. Now there are numerous stories that carry an important message but are not very interesting to listen to. Therefore, motivational speakers almost always use designs to keep the audience engaged with the presentation. Following are some ways in which design plays a role in one way or another to make storytelling remarkable:

  • Animation effects: One of the most popular designing techniques to make storytelling interesting is to add animation effects in the presentation you show to the audience. While the audience only cares about the content of the presentation, animation effects including fade, split, float in, wipe and numerous others can make that content engaging.(Source: http://www.free-power-point-templates.com)

However, a lot of creativity is required to correctly use animation in the most effective manner. Wealth Inequality in America is a great example of animation being used creatively in a kind of storytelling presentation in which viewer attention is grabbed first and then animation is used.

  • Using animated theme story: A lot of storytellers use design in the form of a themed story with one or more made-up characters. The animated pictures change in a slideshow form and the storyteller narrates the story accordingly. While the animation makes a story highly engaging, it is also imperative for the narrator to use a variety of tones throughout the story that makes the story interesting. Here is a glimpse of how an animated theme story can look like:(Source: http://joshmcguirelaw.com)
  • Use of aesthetic diagrams and graphs: Mathematicians, economists and sociologists also have great stories to share so they often use exceptional designs to demonstrate statistics. Simple graphs could be boring so some design could increase the audience engagement and storytelling can become remarkable. One great example of an engaging graph is what Super Bowl ads used to demonstrate rising prices.However, coming up with a unique design to present a graph or diagram is not an easy task. Not all designs will attract the audience attention so a lot of thought process is involved behind aesthetically outstanding graphs. A successful design can surely make storytelling remarkable.

(Source: http://infosthetics.com)

This is an example of how charts can become significantly attractive

  • Typography as design: Apart from just the visual content that designers use for storytelling, typography is another form of design that can add a unique essence to the story. According to Stephen Banham, a Norwegian individual spent 24 years in capturing images of butterfly wings that displayed letters.

Using such letters in storytelling can engage the audience to a great extent because they will witness something unique in the process of storytelling. Following are the alphabets

(Source: https://www.pinterest.com)

Using such typography combined with some animated effects will make storytelling exceptionally remarkable and the audience will not only remain engaged throughout but also remember the story. A student-made clip on “How to impress…” used breathtaking typography to make the story engaging throughout.

  • Video walkthroughs: Some storytellers use video walkthroughs during the story because the audience enjoys video quite a lot. All the effects, sound, theme and ideas in the video makes the storytelling process interesting and in case of a slightly boring story, it revives their engagement. However, video can be of several types so you have to decide on which one would be the most effective under a specific scenario. Preferably, the video should be edited and the storytellers must customize the shots, colors, audio, animation and typography by themselves.For brand story, Apple’s watch product walkthrough is a remarkable example of how it makes brand story attractive and engaging.

Video walkthroughs are common in video games storytelling so you can get an idea from these videos on how a walkthrough is made. Here is a shot from a game’s video walkthrough:


(Source: http://gamingbolt.com)

  • Absence of narration: Some of the finest storytellers in the world have used a technique in which there is no narration at all. Instead, designers put in the entire effort of designing themes for each scene of the story. This technique usually involves characters but a highly skilled designer often does not uses words at all! The picture itself is self-explanatory and so just a relevant music in the background or some sound effects can make the storytelling process extremely interesting. Here is one example image of such an animation:



(Source: https://www.pinterest.com)

While these are the most popular ways in which design is manipulated to create a remarkable story, storytellers tend to combine some of these and play around with their skills to come up with a unique idea every time. The reason why storytelling is incomplete without a designer is that design itself is a form of storytelling. Every design tells us a story and so if this is used in the actual storytelling, the process definitely becomes remarkable.

Before finalizing anything, try applying some design techniques in your storytelling because you will not have a clear idea of how it looks till you actually see it. The context of the story matters the most and should be the major determinant of the design(s) you include in the storytelling process. Remain prepared to redesign the story again and again because perfection only comes when you edit the design multiple times. Make the changes as required and once you finalize the story, get some people to watch it and provide feedback on how the audience would respond to it.

Historical records suggest that storytelling involving these designs are always preferred over traditional storytelling techniques. This is because the latter are boring and if the story is not interesting, the audience is unlikely to pay attention to any part of it. On the other hand, boring stories with outstanding designs are likely to keep the audience engaged throughout, making the storytelling process remarkable!

Hassaan Naeem
Hassaan Naeem is a marketing freak who also serves as an Inbound Marketing Strategist at Fuelmybrand. You can always get connected with him on LinkedIn.

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Hassaan Naeem

Author: Hassaan Naeem

Hassaan Naeem is a marketing freak who also serves as an Inbound Marketing Strategist at Fuelmybrand. You can always get connected with him on LinkedIn.