Telling the Story Through Design

By Jessi Pierce


Earlier this year I attended a conference in New York City for small business owners. As each entrepreneur took the stage, they told the story of how and why they started their company and the tenacity and courage it took to withstand the lean times.

The stories were compelling. But equally riveting were the numbers. On the screen behind each business owner was a snapshot outlining the financial investments and current economic health of each company. As I read through each screen it occurred to me that sometimes the best way to convey a story is to show it rather than tell it through words. As interesting and, in some cases, heartbreaking it was to hear what these business owners went through to get their companies off the ground, the numbers were telling a pretty arresting story as well.

That’s why it’s important to have a variety of mediums to tell your clients’ stories. Sometimes an infographic packed with useful and eye-opening information can tell a story better than any prose. The trick is to know when great design can be leveraged to inform the reader better than simple text. Now don’t get me wrong—as a writer and editor I’m pretty partial to a great narrative that hooks the reader from the first sentence. But sometimes a great chart, infographic, or table can give the audience exactly what they need to know in a more visually interesting and efficient manner.

So the next time you have a great story to tell, take the time to think through the best way to convey it. You just might find that a picture—or chart or graph—is indeed worth a thousand words.