Join Stacey Williams-Ng for an in-depth discussion in this video Connect with your audience, part of Storytelling for Designers.
How have we gotten this far without me telling you a story? Let me tell you about myself. First I'll introduce myself with a series of facts, as though we were meeting in a very formal environment such as a job interview. I was born in Memphis, TN. I have a Bachelor's Degree in graphic design and illustration. For most of my career I've specialized in digital and multimedia design. Most recently I've been doing interactive children's books for the iPad. Now, I'll introduce myself to you more informally as though we were meeting through mutual friends. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. And my junior year I did a study abroad program in Europe.
While traveling in Italy, I met a boy from Singapore. And we fell in love. Within six months we were engaged and all of a sudden I was changing all my life plans, buying a one-way ticket to Asia, and saying goodbye to family and lifelong friends. It was exhilarating, but I was afraid. I had no job waiting for me there, and in fact, a work permit would not be a guarantee. I knew no one there except my brand new husband. My long term goal had been to become a design professor. But without a masters degree or any serious work experience I assumed that was a long way off.
My mother in law, however, said that in Singapore, American instructors were highly sought after in the creative fields. I might be able to be a design professor sooner than I thought. I went for an interview at the most prestigious fine arts college in Asia at age 23. And managed to land a design lecturer position that would have truly been beyond my reach back in the states. And so began my career in multimedia which was really a cutting edge thing in the mid 90s. If it hadn't been for that bizarre sequence of events, I never would have been able to find the career I have now, making interactive children's stories for the iPad.
There, now we're friends. The trouble with categorizing these two kinds of communication as formal, like a job interview, and informal like a party, is that we tend to think that natural storytelling is somehow less professional and therefore might be less effective method of communicating. In fact, exactly the opposite is the case. We make deeper connections with people when we reveal our humanity and speak in ways that people find real and natural. Let's we keep this in mind as we start to practice storytelling for design. We already know how to take deeply personal stories, falling in love, coping with grief, growing up.
And to sanitize them for the outside world by stripping out all the emotion. Now our job is to do the opposite. Take a series of ordinary facts and spin them into a good story. It's by tapping into this natural ability to entertain one another that we can connect with our audience.
- Connecting with your audience
- Defining the structure (and protagonist) of your story
- Tools of the trade: symbolism, color, icons, typography, and more
- Using personas
- Creating a brief for your story