Designers take on many roles: computer engineer, software developer, painter, artisan crafter, marketer, information architect, even sociologist. But first and foremost, we think designers should be great storytellers. Like all great stories, there has to be suspense, character development, a dramatic climax and a great ending.

Here are our three ways to tell a story with design:


I. Show, don’t tell.

Many designers’ problems are that they showcase features more so than ideas. Imagination and fantasy gets dumbed down to specific technicalities and the grander picture is diminished by broken down pieces of the product. Instead, aim to inspire by a comprehensive product with each element of it screaming a central theme.

Communicate the greater purpose of your piece loud and clear.

Do not put more focus on whether little parts look nice, than on what you want people to walk away with after they see your work.


II. Use a variety of media.

With various mass-media channels and technology, we reach out to audiences who process information in different ways. It enhances connectedness with a diverse group of people.

Spreading the same message and telling the same story on different platforms helps consumers see things as a whole.

Different elements of different media outlets fill in the blanks for each other and combines separate aspects into an entire campaign. Think of using infographics, photography, videos, interactive websites to convey your story in entertaining and informative ways.


III. Be personal.

In a story, the centre of interest that grabs people is often a personal experience that is relatable.

Speaking out of your own experience also gives weight to the significance of your story.

Direct your audience’s attention to key points in your journey or personal revelations. This would be effective in engaging the reader/viewer. Create atmospheres and emotions by being detailed in explaining gestures and feelings. Laugh at yourself, be humorous and don’t be afraid in exposing your quirks, it might just be the most prominent character of your story.


Lesson learned:

When telling a story through design: Stick to your main theme, mix up the media, use personal experience.