Visual storytelling has gradually emerged as a crucial trend in the web and graphic design sector in the era of digital marketing. Scientifically speaking, the Visual Cortex of human brain is the largest. An average person can retain 10 % of what they hear when they are tested after 72 hours. However, when that same information is added to the data, he or she can retain up to 65%. This statistic is based on a 2008 study in the content Brain Rule Rundown.
What is visual storytelling? What are its advantages?
When it comes to evoking emotions, visuals are indeed much more useful than plain texts. Visuals inspire audiences to take action and hence, they are fantastic marketing tools. I mean, think about it for a minute. What do you prefer? A radio commercial that you can hear, or a Televised commercial where you get to see the product or service they are pitching for? Of course, the latter one will carry more element of trust than the former. Want real-life visual storytelling examples? This concept is further strengthened when Snapchat, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest are designed around visuals. In fact, even the Twitter and Facebook posts with video and graphics are more ‘liked’ and shared compared to posts with plain texts.
- Visual storytelling helps understanding complex data efficiently by delivering more impact as the result
- Visual data provide a narrative that is more compelling and drives the audience to take actions
- The concept incorporates excellent writing, vibrant visuals that bring life to the entire atmosphere of the story
The average time spent on a Shorthand story in 2016 was 18 minutes, and more than half the traffic to Shorthand stories comes from mobile devices – proving that even on smaller screens there is an appetite, and attention span for more visual, engaging storytelling. (Source)
Never ask too much from your readers. They do like to scroll and viewing a data that requires multiple clicks and broadened exploration can make their engagement faulty and complicated.
Giles Wilson, creative director of the Harpoons Production and the ex editor for BBC News Magazine, said,
“Don’t make me click about the page. If you insist that I have to make more than one click, don’t make me move my mouse as well. I want all my clicks in the same place…”
Here are some incredible visual storytelling techniques & trends that you must know as a designer
1. Instead of telling, show them what you got
This is, in fact, the very 1st lesson for any class of journalism, filmmaking and creative writing. Don’t tell your audience what you are trying to say, instead, let your creativity do the talking, LOUDLY! Take help of the descriptive texts, vivid pictures or eye-catching designs. For example, in this picture
A cup of coffee represents the expertise of the company, and the text talks about one of their expertise that is delivered on time!
When you are pitching a product, never tell your customer how it works when you can showcase how they can use it.
2. Make sure your 1st impressions are impactful
In the case of visual storytelling, 1st impressions play a crucial role in marketing. The brain is made in such a way that it can make a quick impression. Our psyches formed instinctive impressions based on our deep-rooted values, beliefs and knowledge. In the digital marketing world, it does not take time for the audience to generate a wrong idea. If they do not understand design in the first place or get bored, then they will immediately skip investing their time in it. It just takes a moment for them to deem a product as unworthy. What should be the case is presenting an incredible design that comes with the power of hooking the audience at the 1st glance itself. The message should be hitting their emotions right. Remember, an image of an angry young man will get lesser attention than the picture of a chubby puppy.
3. Animate your story, because we all love them!
Remember the best part of childhood? Yes…the colorful stories that came in the form of storybook pictures and animated cartoons. Every day, we used to read them or watch them with undivided attention and gradually became ardent followers of the characters that we loved. In digital marketing, other than images, there need to be videos as well, and by video, it does not hint at the full-length 30 minute stories. Even gifs can do the job just right. Today, more and more digital marketers are adding the power of animation and mobility to their visual storytelling tactics by incorporating special effects of software and online aids. At the point, where the brain grows bored with the content, animated impacts can capture and retain the attention of the onlooker for a long time.
4. There is a beginning, middle and an end to every story
The beginning, the middle and the end- together make the narrative arc. If your storytelling techniques are not based on this arc, then you are sure to fail miserably on your marketing objectives. A design remains flat when there is no proper infusion of the above-mentioned elements on it. This was 1st discussed by Aristotle a thousand years ago, where it was described as the timeline through which a character travels from point A to point B. You might be thinking that how a static image can be based on the similar guideline. So, for that, when you are choosing imagery to create a visual story and creating graphics, it is crucial to keep each of the aspects in mind for impressing the correlating moods of the audience. Every story needs to have a closure; otherwise, the viewers will be left with confused on the design’s primary purpose.
5. Show them some conflict, address their issue and your job is half done!
Without addressing some issues of the audience, it is not possible for a designer to achieve success in his or her storytelling objectives. The visual storytelling techniques work only when the audience can relate to the design that is portrayed in front of them. This design has to have a solution which will make it attractive to the customer, and then they answer the design’s call-to-action.
6. Include some human elements in your designs
Humans are social animals. There is no better way to entice their engagement on to your design by implementing the ‘people’ factor in your product or service. If you tell the story of business by highlighting the people behind it, that business will automatically generate a sense of trustworthiness in the minds of the audience. Foster the sense of trust in favor of your brand while telling stories to your audience. No matter what the medium is, even a stock photo with the human face can have the power of speaking for your brand.
7. Teach, preach and tell your audience what they don’t know
Is the product that you or your client dealing with something new to the ordinary people? Then this is indeed a fabulous advantage that you can take. Design your product with the best elements that can convey the story of your brand aptly. Weave the story with the challenges that your audiences face, and then introduce your product. For the conclusion, give your story a practical conclusion by telling them how your product can be their perfect assistant and also call them to take action.
8. Include some eye-candies for your people
Ever heard of gifographics? They are infographics infused with animated elements that convey the brand message to the readers. And of course, the readers love to look at them for their attractiveness. Every visual storytelling ideas must have the ‘wow’ factor in them so that the audience’s imagination is inspired.
9. Never lose the focus on your message
Messaging is equally important as the designs. Even if you create the most striking image of all times, your branding will have no meaning if the messaging is not done right and also, relevant. Audiences are always looking at something creative. Always! However, if that original design lacks messaging, then the strategy of getting their attention will fall out of the place. It will not work. Don’t stretch it too far. Make it stay on the point.
10. Seek the help of professionals who know how to weave a story
Professional touch is perhaps the best element that you can infuse into your marketing strategies. Visual storytelling comes with challenges that need innate knowledge and expertise to be met. This is something that you should never consider doing as a DIY project. Certified professionals know what works the best for business. They research on a company’s target market and plan the digital assets, the visual stories accordingly. Be it static images or videos for marketing; a professional agency knows it all.
To wrap up
The key is to know your audience’s emotions and desires. Hijack the trend from your sector or provide them food for thought; whatever you want to say, must have a great story through which people can find what they are looking for, or what you want to tell them. Of course, increasing the ROI is a part of it, but that also can be achieved with a proper way of portraying your business message. Visual storytelling is an excellent way for the designers to learn more about creating for people, on the internet and spreading the brand name most spectacularly.