In the last year, I have tried to put in place more and more storytelling in my design practice. I started it at Enigma with the project for the HR company Beyond Management. We created for them a logotype that would be the basis for telling their story. The logo isn’t just a symbol including their core values, but the logo tells the story. It helps explain in a visual way the shift from traditional HR to a new type of HR. Since then, I started to search more and more for what is storytelling. I discovered some insights about why it matters and what are its effects on humans.
It’s nothing new
Fact N° 1
Storytelling is as old as language. The first men used it to make sense of their life. They used it to share knowledge and just to express themselves. It is something you can see on the walls of the ancients caverns. Do you remember these simple paintings of animals and hunters you saw in history class?
We are all good at it
Fact N° 2
Storytelling is a public art. Children use it all day long during their play sessions. Adults too are masters of storytelling without noticing it. Research tends to prove that 65% percent of our daily conversations is storytelling. We tell each other our day, our frustrations. We talk badly about our enemies. We create and tell stories every day. Even when we sleep, we are creating stories. Dreams are all stories. Sometimes weird and creatives stories but still they are stories.
Stories influence us
Fact N° 3
Numeral studies tend to show that stories influence people. Stories have an effect on our brain. In fact, our brains are more engaged by storytelling than by simple logical facts (Jeremy Hsu, 2008). Other studies show that the only fact of reading fictional literature makes the reader more social.
Stories have patterns
Stories aren’t complicated to build. There are typical templates for stories. One of the most used patterns for stories is the problem/resolution pattern. You first set the stage, show the character. Then a problem appears. The characters struggle through the problem and fights hard. He finally finds a solution and reaches a new state of homeostasis.
Your product isn’t the hero
Ron Ploof, the creator of the StoryHow™ PitchDeck key rule for business stories, is that the hero should be the customer. The hero of your business story shouldn’t be your company, its products or services.
Books, articles, and tools
Here are a few resources to go further in your exploration of storytelling:
- A Refresher on Storytelling 101: An article from the Harvard Business Review about the basics of Storytelling
- StoryHow: 60 playing cards that help you find, develop, and tell business stories that people remember.
- The Science of Storytelling: An article by Leo Widrich which compiles and resumes various research papers about storytelling
- The Storytelling Animal: The Handbook by Jonathan Gottschall with the major theories about storytelling