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Harnessing the power of visual storytelling: Tell your story using illustrations

visual storytelling,power of visual storytelling,harnessing the power,visual stories,visual narrative,medium,visual element,visual content,marketing strategy,effective visual,infographics,resonate,storyteller
Do your marketing materials and designs tell a story to your audience?

There are two types of people when it comes to reading books:

Some people enjoy picturing every detail in their minds without any pictures, while others, like me, prefer seeing how the author imagined each detail.

Even if you are someone who prefers to create these colorful worlds in your head, you would still want to see a visual of what the author had in mind.

This is why we were so drawn to reading picture books instead of novels back when we were kids learning to read.

Even as an adult, you might find yourself more drawn to reading comics or watching a video about something instead of reading a long and bulky novel or case study just full of text.

When we see colorful backgrounds and fun-looking characters, we are more interested in learning more about them and their story.

Even just by looking at a character, the setting they’re in, and the objects they are interacting with, we can already tell a story.

This is what we call visual storytelling.

It is howe we tell a story using pictures instead of words.

As we work with design and illustration at Deer Designer, visual storytelling is our bread and butter.

It is how we can make powerful visuals that make a lasting impression on our clients and their audience.

After all, you wouldn’t like a design that is generic and doesn’t say anything about your brand.

Your audience wouldn’t like it either!

In this article, we’ll run you through the ways to tell stories through illustrations and how they can help your brand make impactful materials.

Why effective visual storytelling matters

As brands and designers, we are constantly competing with our audience’s attention, whether that’s in the physical world or online.

People are constantly scrolling through thousands of posts, ads, and websites on their phones.

Even in the real world, we’re probably just passing by, going from one point to another without paying attention to our surroundings.

This is why it is important to create attention-grabbing materials that make these people pay attention and care about what you’re saying.

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People pay attention to vibrant visuals that tell a story.

A great way to stand out and make them remember you is by creating visual narratives that resonate with them.

Grabbing their attention is one thing, but making them interested and helping them remember your story is another.

This is where being an effective storyteller through visuals comes in.

Creating memorable characters and stories for your visual narrative

Characters are like the stars of your story.

They can be people, animals, or even objects with personalities.

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Make your characters interesting and memorable for your audience.

A great example would be our Deer Designer mascot, Buckley.

He’s our “Mickey Mouse.”

Buckley could be anything, but mostly he’s a designer and our spokesperson.

He makes Deer Designer feel more approachable and playful while we visualize our ideas and concepts.

He makes our brand more memorable (let’s be real, how often do you see an on-demand service with a deer for a mascot?)

In the same way, you can create memorable characters for your brand’s illustrations.

Just like in movies or books, characters in illustrations can change and grow.

Sometimes they even start out shy and then become brave.

This can also reflect your brand’s progression.

It makes your story more interesting and relatable.

Use these memorable characters and their story progression even in infographics to make your detail-heavy visuals more interesting and easy to digest.

Do you need help figuring out what stories to tell as a business?

Here’s a guide that can help:

➡️The power of storytelling: 3 most important stories to tell in your business

Set the scene for your visual content

Scenes and backgrounds set a space for where your story happens.

The way you draw scenes can make people feel different emotions.

They could be anywhere, like a busy city or a peaceful forest.

For instance, in the game “Animal Crossing,” the colorful and cozy village setting sets the perfect mood for players to relax and have fun.

Even without making detailed scenes, using the right colors for backgrounds in your illustrations can affect the mood of your design.

Bright colors might make them look happy, while dark colors might make them feel scared or serious.

Being deliberate with your visual elements

Unlike text, visuals are more open to free interpretation.

One person might interpret your image differently than you intended.

It helps to add symbols to make concepts easier to understand.

Symbols are like shortcuts that help people understand your story faster.

For example, a heart can show love, and a lightbulb can show an idea.

They make your illustrations clearer and more interesting.

If you want to be more engaging, use metaphors.

Metaphors are like puzzles that make people think.

They compare two things that aren’t the same, but they have something in common.

For example, you could show a lady with her head in the clouds as a literal interpretation of the metaphor.

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Creating illustrations with metaphors makes interesting visuals that make your audience think.

Being creative with your visual elements can also help visual learners understand concepts better.

Instead of just writing down concepts and data, visualize it through graphs, charts, maps, and more!

Here are some guides about using visuals for your content:

➡️Ways to use infographics: storytelling, data, timelines, and more

➡️The power of one-pagers: Why infographics are so effective

Think of the medium in which you are using your illustrations

Illustrations are great attention-grabbers on social media, but the specific platform you are uploading them to matters when telling your story.

On LinkedIn, people are ready to digest information and may be willing to read through a detail-heavy infographic with colorful illustrations.

But on platforms like Instagram, people just scroll through pretty pictures and want less text. So you could use attention-grabbing illustrations with symbols or minimal text instead.

Turn these into a carousel or reel to make them more interactive.

It all depends on what your audience likes.

When uploading online, also consider that most people look at stuff on their phones, so your pictures should look good even on a small screen.

Want to learn more about creating visual content for social media?

Here’s a useful guide:

➡️Best graphic design practices when creating social media graphics

Pay attention to which visual stories attract people more

There are various places where your audience can interact with stories online and in the real world.

How do you know what kinds of stories they like?

Start by looking into your competitors or creators in the niche you’re in.

Think of what visuals they use and what stories they tell that people engage with.

Look at your own content.

Pay attention to how many likes, comments, and shares your pictures get.

It can help you figure out if people like what you’re doing. If they do, keep doing it. If not, try something else.

Sometimes it helps to ask people what they think.

Why not try the help of surveys or just talking to your followers on social media?

They might have great ideas to make your pictures even better.

Using the power of visual storytelling for your marketing strategy

Illustrations are like magic.

They can make stories come alive and grab people’s attention.

By creating cool characters, drawing interesting scenes, and using symbols and metaphors, you will tell stories that people will remember.

So go ahead, have fun with your visuals, and let your illustrations do the talking!

Need custom illustrations?

Our reliable design team at Deer Designer can deliver high-quality designs.

Book a client fit call today!

Key takeaways

  • By using visual storytelling, you will engage your audience more and get them interested in the story you are trying to communicate.
  • Creating interesting characters with a fun story progression can help make your brand stand out and be memorable.
  • Setting the scene, even just with different background colors, can affect the mood of your illustration.
  • There are visual elements, like symbols, metaphors, and visualizers, you can play around with to make your visual storytelling easy to understand.
  • The medium in which you are using your illustrations matters. Make sure you are creating illustrations that fit the platform where your audience is.
  • The key to being a good visual storyteller is understanding your audience and what gets them interested in your story. Make sure to do some research on what they are into.