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Visual Storytelling

How is storytelling used in graphic design (specifically print) today?


Storytelling is used in print for just about all advertisement. Ads for water will show you crystal clear water from a waterfall, when it was really from a tap in Brooklyn, NY. We like the story! I want to know my coffee is a blend of Jamacian roast and rain forest Columbian. Storytelling also has a huge following in the "whole foods/organic" crowd. Most of the packaging tells us that our food was locally purchased from a small organic farm by nice caring farmers. Our milk comes from a clean cow without steroids or soy beans.

Today graphic design applied the storytelling in design in various ways with the mix of media of combine images with type or purely symbols. Brochures, form tiny flipbook to multi-pieced assemblages are example of storytelling. Environmental, advertising field is also the area that graphic design using the storytelling.

Storytelling is a big part of graphic design because everything needs to come from somewhere. In movies there is a plot (we hope). The same for commercials. In print media the story helps get across to the viewer the "plot" or reason the ad is directed to you. Even on billboards where the print is limited to what you can comprehend while you are zooming by it at 70 mph, the viewer needs to understand the "story" or reason for the ad.

I saw an interesting design the other day at the dentist's office. A fold-out brochure advertising toothpaste. Well it wasn't the greatest design, but it was interesting in the way it was used. It was used as a visual storypiece. It had an image of a woman on each page, but the image changed each time. It showed her in different situations, with her teeth getting brighter and whiter each time. Finally on the last page, she was successful in what she was doing (obviously because she had white teeth!).
Even in single paged designs, storytelling is used to attract the audience. Many times it is used to make us think. For example, a billboard with a picture of a ragged man on it would make us think about how he relates to the product, what his story in life is, how he got to where he is now, etc...
Storytelling keeps things interesting.