From pixel to happily ever after: every design tells a story

 

My name is Geoffrey.

I’m a graphic designer.

I wrote this blog article.

I didn’t put a lot of effort in it.

It was even edited by our copywriter Delphine.

 

The text above is a story. It might not be a very good one, but it’s real. What are stories, then? Every culture has stories about the past, present and future. Even before we could write, telling stories was not only recreational, but of vital importance. For example, people communicated which plants were safe or poisonous or what dangers lied ahead. They often used illustrative visualisations to make it clearer. But a story needs to be relevant and interesting to become part of the collective memory. I’ll adjust my story.

My name is Geoffrey.

I’m a graphic designer.

From an early age, I have always been creative.

I always preferred the guitar and brush over the novel and soccer ball.

I even met my wife because we share the same passion about designing.

 

This story will probably stick to you more than the previous one, since it’s more interesting. As designers, we listen to stories and find ways to visualize them in a fresh way. We design experiences more than pixels, icons, wireframes, logos and colours. This experience is a story in itself which evokes empathy and understanding in the user. That is ultimately the goal of a good design: something that sticks in the user’s head and offers solutions.

 

One of those ‘storytelling’ techniques is the story arc.

This pattern does not only apply to movies and books, but to design processes as well.

 

An example: a website visitor wants to contact the seller.

 

Exposition: I have a question for the seller.

Conflict: Where do I find the contact page? (emotion: confused)

Rising action: I can’t find the button. (emotion: annoyed)

Climax: Oh, it might be here! (emotion: relieved)

Falling action: Type message. (emotion: proud)

Resolution: Send.

During the design process – and particularly digital platforms, we take these types of scenarios into account as much as possible. Sometimes you’re more the producer or stage director than the designer. We think about how the user thinks and navigates. Are they mobile surfers? How much time do they have? How old are they? All these things are included in our design process. We keep testing and editing to resolve all issues. We keep evaluating, researching and testing until the entire story is told.

 

*The end.*