Insights / The creative process

Storytelling is control

Narrative is really interesting skill to grow, and learn, and to be able to use. At the end of the day, as designers were in the communications industry, so you have to communicate, you have to sell as well because we're not artists, we're not relying on doing a cool poster, or a cool piece of art and have someone else sell it for us. We've got to service a client, and we've got to tell stories.

Storytelling was pretty hot about three or four years ago, people were running storytelling classes, and crash courses, and all sorts of stuff. That as a fad has moved away, but I think that was really fundamental, it was really interesting. It's like, read the room, what's the pace? who's the client? How do you structure a story? Do you start with the big sexy reveals, or do you actually build up from detail? It depends on who your audience is ultimately, you've got to know your audience.

The most successful storytelling narratives presentations I've done, I've known the client really well, the team, and the business. The least successful ones are like "here you go, you've got to do this", and I don't know who they are. That's why pitches are really interesting as well, because you're trying to sell, communicate, storytell, pitch an idea, pitch creative, but you've got to get that balance right, and I think if you can tell an interesting story, people will listen, and that's over half the battle is getting people to listen, to understand, and then to be able to tell that story again.

You're giving them the right information, at the right point, at the right time, so as not to overwhelm them. Whether you're flicking through a newspaper, you're controlling page by page pace, you can change the stock to break the flow, there's some tricks we've got as designers, when you're on a website you're controlling someone's journey.

So what is that journey? What's that narrative? As a product, service, brand, business, whatever you're doing, or even even as a leader of a team, what is the narrative of team? What's their journey? How are we going to punctuate this, do I run stand-ups everyday which are quite hard, and sharp, everyone standing up straight quite literally, and you get through tasks. Or is it more organic and natural, and you ebb and flow a bit, I guess it comes down to control.

Storytelling is control

Previously: KotoWolff OlinsBabylon Health

Clients: Uber