STORYTELLING IN DESIGN
Updated: Mar 11
This is an article “Storytelling in Design” by Marc Primo Warren
Being able to come up with unique and simplified ways to solve rather complex problems is probably what sets designers apart from other creatives. And the way they do solve them usually entails some form of storytelling. That’s why the lives of great designers are filled with brainstorming sessions and specific guides that allow them to see every possible perspective and angle to every project they put their minds to.
Thought leaders in design don’t really share the same techniques when it comes to drawing inspiration, choosing their online tools, or the way they tell unique stories. It’s a varied school of thought you’re going to have to review time and again if you plan to master the elements of design.
To get you started, here are several insights on how you can effectively tell good stories using your design capabilities.
Tell the Story Happiness
In the advertising world, happiness sells a lot. People have always looked to models on billboards which are targeted to influence their lifestyles and personal choices that connote their own happiness and satisfaction. But how do you sell the story of happiness through design?
The usual route for designers is by including human elements in their artworks that depict a certain level of validation towards the audience’s self-value and personal image. However, these are not the end all of every Happiness story. Offering bigger ideas via minimal copies that can suggest greater purpose usually does the trick.
With this, it’s quite important for designers to accept within themselves that vulnerability to imperfection can also be an opportunity to be more creative in the storytelling process through criticisms. After all, visuals do evolve through time. That fancy cigarette poster with those successful Mad Men are not as cool today as they were back in the ‘50s. Designers should always keep themselves abreast of social cues that the general public or at least their target audiences can accept then fasten them to a concrete purpose that can create an appeal.
Create a story library
Designers are familiar with the use of visual prompts that can catch the eye of their target audience. Effective storytelling makes it easier to spot these prompts and every detail contributes to the entire picture that conveys the general message more effectively.
Stories are so essential in design because they can stimulate the viewer’s experience and you can’t tell a good story by being inconsistent with your design elements. Determine which details work then instantly file them to your assets and key visual folders as they are already proven to be appealing to your targets.
After curating your key visuals and assets, create a systemic style guide so you can ensure consistency in the production of high-quality materials that have the best story-centered impact for your audience. Once you pin the best key visuals and collate graphic assets for your design storylines, it will be easier to conceptualize content and stamp your brand’s messaging to your mockups before presenting them to the entire team.
Keep an open mind
What may seem like genius to you may be viewed as typical to others. Never rest on your laurels when it comes to executing more challenging designs and avoid pushing elements that you alone can appreciate. What is really effective is studying past projects that have shown good end results then going back to trace the details that helped make it work. That way, you get a better understanding of how certain design processes really materialize.
Note which flashes of brilliance there are in every successful design and try them out on your latest projects. If they work then great, but you shouldn’t always try to force their way into every design just the same. Remember that even students can teach their mentors when it comes to integrating more trendy and modern design elements in a project so don’t ever assume what you know is good enough.
The secret really lies in how you nurture an eye skill in knowing what design element goes well with another to tell the perfect story. It’s very much like how classical painters study their work and slowly add strokes that make their masterpieces stand out. Try to be multi-dimensional when incorporating several design elements through trial and error and soon enough, you’ll be able to see if your work is coherent or otherwise. If you want to find out more about Marc Primo Warren our services or just say hi, please reach out here.