How To Tell A Story With Design

How To Tell A Story With Design

Art and design are often confused. Both can be beautiful. Both can tell a story. But the two are not alike. Art is about emotions whilst design can tell a story. Now use that to your advantage.

A great way to look at this is through employment history. We’ve all been there… Lined up outside the manager’s office awaiting our interview. We’re called in as part of a long list of candidates they intend to put under the microscope. Until now they’ve seen our history and our ideas on paper, but now they meet the real you. A chance to show your personality and distinguish yourself from the pack. Ultimately, it’s this engagement that lands us the job or sends us back out on to the pile. Our story is what sells. Keep it engaging and we encourage others to purchase (or hire) our services. Fail and the money we put into our marketing just disappears. So how can you tell a story with design to increase your return on investment?

What is storytelling?

We’re not asking for novels, graphic stories or bedtime reads. We want to evoke design that causes a reaction. Think of the last movie you watched; someone does something in reaction to an event that occurred around them. In turn this causes another thing to happen that the person also reacts to and so on. It really isn’t that complicated. The key from this? Incorporate the story to effectively communicate your clients to their viewers.

Articulating your clients vision

A few years ago, Emma Coats tweeted a series of story basics from her time at Pixar. Most of which linked back to simplicity with examples such as: “Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off? That’s the heart of it.”

In lemans terms; what is the essential thing you are trying to tell your audience? When you walk into a meeting what do you want clients to take away? You don’t sell website’s or rebranding. You sell a story, an idea, a dream. Dreams of loyal customers who say glowing things. Dreams of changing the world through their work. We, as designers, are tasked with uncovering that story.

A picture tells a thousand words

We know as designers, that visuals are highly important. You use pictures to tell a story all the time – whether you realised that or not. When you use images of smiling people – you’re really looking to tell the story of joy that the product brings and so on. But how can words help paint the picture?

Today’s design trends lean more and more towards typography. Arranging words in a manner that grabs the reader’s attention. Typography is a powerful medium that often doesn’t get the credit it deserves, especially in the digital market place. It’s more than just words. Font type can show feeling, provide style and resolve issues that images alone cannot.


The most important aspect of your job is to capture the audience’s imagination. A great marketing piece has a narrative and tells the story through whatever method it takes. Remember, nobody buys the service, they buy the story. Use personality, passion and knowledge to create the drama your work needs.

If you need assistance with your marketing, we have created a number of packages to maximise your budgets. Click here to learn more or contact us now.

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