Visual storytelling starts for most people with picture books when they’re children. Images form an integral part of the story message. The images and text combine, creating evocative messaging to resonate both intellectually and emotionally.
Visual storytelling is the essence of graphic design. Graphic designers take information and present it in a way that makes sense, tells a story. In today’s media landscape, visual storytelling is increasingly complex, with various mediums to communicate through. Effective and cohesive visual storytelling must work across print and digital media, including static and video or animation formats.
With a more complex environment, and an increasingly crowded marketplace, it is important for brands to create consistent, engaging and relevant visual material. To be able to cut through the white noise, a brand must stand out with unique, compelling visual stories.
Imagery – especially video – can convey much more in a few seconds then a headline ever could. Video stories are dense communications, while also being simple for a viewer to decode. Consistent branding and brand story allows for a whole ethos to be communicated through a short video, viewed in context. The viewer needs to bring less knowledge to the interaction.
Successful and engaging visual storytelling leans more heavily towards emotions and entertainment than product information. An example KRD worked on is the #LikeABosch campaign for BSH Home Appliances – where videos created by the Bosch Gobal team combine humor and product interaction to create engaging social media advertising material. The campaign also allowed for still imagery to be taken from the videos to use across various print and outdoor advertising sites for consistent visual storytelling. The #LikeABosch campaign was produced in Germany, and adapted by KRD to local market requirements. Global campaigns for BSH have flexibility for in-country modification.
The #LikeABosch messaging is a parody of “Like a Boss”, which itself is a parody by comedy hip hop troupe The Lonely Island, of a song by hip hop artist Slim Thug. The campaign draws upon the comedy credentials of the parody it is parodying – so has layers of meaning and cultural reference which go a way to explaining the more outlandish ‘stunts’, like the toddler with a bottle throwing it into the dishwasher. If you want to see the original parody, there are clean and explicit versions available on YouTube.
Visual storytelling has the ability to reach multi-lingual audiences, as it is not reliant on words. The #LikeABosch campaign was produced in many languages worldwide which meant that the humor was conveyed as a whole – however there are enough sight-gags to still be entertaining without sound and language.
By using parody, the #LikeABosch campaign was able to capitalize on trending themes, and stand out in a crowded marketplace. At the same time, the humor of the clips stands alone for audiences who are not familiar with the existing parody.
Visual storytelling is at the core of what we do as graphic designers. It is not limited to motion graphics, or story books. Every piece of graphic design work produced is a vehicle for storytelling – communicating a message. Video marketing allows us to add layers to the messaging that may be limited across other mediums. How effectively this message is conveyed is the measure of successful visual storytelling.