10 Simple Rules of Visual Storytelling - Deepstash
10 Simple Rules of Visual Storytelling

10 Simple Rules of Visual Storytelling


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10 Simple Rules of Visual Storytelling

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Show, don’t tell

Talking a lot is boring, but talking a lot about yourself is even more boring.

So let the visuals do the talking. Show the benefits of your product, don’t tell people about them. If you can feature someone using your product and service, and having an easier life for it, that will do wonders for your marketing.


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If we’re going to use just a few words, we will need to use some shortcuts to better communicate with our audience. Those shortcuts are our context.

When it comes to brands, context can be the colors you choose, the Fonts you use, your Instagram filters, or the very types of content you share with your followers. Your context will have to be different if you cater to people in the U.S. versus people in China.


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Show People

We certainly relate better to people than to a brand or business.

So don’t tell the story of your business, but the story of the people behind it. You, your employees, your customers.


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Share something personal, unique. Share your true story and you’ll be setting yourself apart from all the other brands out there. They can’t share that same story, because they are not you.

As a general rule, true stories are powerful, because they’re human; they happened to someone like you and me.


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Conflict is the force that drives a story. No conflict, no story. Conflict sparks interest.

Conflict happens whenever someone wants or needs something and must fight for it. This ‘something’ can be a lot of things: an object, love, survival, etc. 

If we take this to brand storytelling, customers won’t be interested in your story, if it isn’t relevant to a ‘conflict’ or problem they are struggling with.


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Reveal hidden things

One of the rules of a good story is to take the audience to a hidden place that they don’t get to see everyday.

Go behind the scenes, show your customers what they don’t normally see, but let those things be seen through your or your employees’ eyes (which takes us back to the #3 rule: put people at the front).


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Don’t get lost on the details. Too many details and you lose your audience's attention.

just remember: 

  • You may use the structure of your visuals to tell the viewer what the most important elements of your image or story are 
  • If you can tell something in ten seconds, don’t use a minute. If you can tell something in 5 seconds, don’t use ten. 
  • KISSS (Keep It Short and Sweet, Stupid ).


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Stories flow. Your images need to move. But that doesn’t mean that your image needs to be in fact a video or an animated GIF.

There are very boring videos that show no movement at all. Just think of the way a conference talk video used to be, before TED came along. There was no movement, just a still frame of a guy talking. TED changed this and took the world by storm.


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Be the one brand that always surprises its followers or customers. Use visuals, and storytelling, in a way no one else is doing. 

Your story, and your name, will stick.


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Teach something

Carry a message. Give a lesson. Show or share a stance. Don’t be bland. Every marketing effort carries a message, that of your brand or business.

Stories are the same. In fact, when humans started putting together stories, they did it to teach some important life lessons. Entertaining was just a means of teaching that lesson, not the ultimate goal of the story.


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