Have you ever heard a great story? One that brings every emotion to the surface and leaves you wanting more? One that makes such a strong connection that you can’t wait to tell the same story to someone else? These stories are what make us who we are and what our world is today. They shape our history, connect us to each other in ways that normal interaction can’t, and guide us through the poetically tumultuous journey that we call life.
As human beings, we are natural storytellers and problem solvers; we are born for it. We crave that connection and yearn to be a part of something. So it seems only rational that the world of design, and the creators that encompass it, would be the ultimate practitioners of the storytelling described above. Designers create the objects, spaces, etc. that shape our lives and behavior. Still, there are times when our natural draw to a story is abused for the sake of selling a lackluster product or appealing to the needs of one.
Throughout the world of design, we see storytelling used as merely tactic and trend, rather than natural outcome. The misuse occurs tragically to the point where skepticism outweighs emotional connection and involvement. This is seen strongly in advertisements, particularly during high profile events - just imagine any Super Bowl beer ad. Perhaps the skepticism is rooted in inundation of information and overexposure of product, or perhaps it is due to the lack of truth and over-rationalizing of the “stories” that are told. More importantly, however, is the lack of involvement in the story that the recipient craves. Yes, they use the product or service, but the connection stops there. Smaller companies, and some larger such as Patagonia, take the involvement into greater consideration and are ultimately more genuine in their storytelling and creation of those who help them spread a positive experience.
Overall, the thoughts above are a call for all to remember that storytelling is something that is natural, powerful and essential. When used correctly (and honestly) it creates an experience in the hearts and minds of those listening that is unforgettable. So, what’s your story?