The Role Of Graphic Design In Visual Storytelling/Movies

The Role Of Graphic Design In Visual Storytelling/Movies

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Visual storytelling is a powerful tool used in communication and an integral part of graphic design. When you’re a graphic designer, you’re expected to create content that is visual, which aims to portray a particular message. In movies, visual storytelling is used to portray the contents of the film in a way that’s both creative, as well as compelling. 

When you’re a graphic designer, and you’re working on a movie, visual storytelling will no doubt be part of the process. You’ll need to know how to tell the story of the movie such that it doesn’t overwhelm the audience. At the same time, if your approach isn’t compelling enough, then the audience might not even take an interest in the film. So next time you try to work on visual storytelling for a movie, how do you approach the project such that you’re able to accurately portray the movie through your story? 

1. Establishing Your Purpose 

First, you need to set the foundation for the project. Here is where you ask the ‘why’ questions, and then try to answer them. You should have a very clear purpose. Know why you’re creating a certain illustration, or a storyboard. Your aim will generally be to inform the viewer, or to somehow influence their process of making decisions. Maybe there’s a key challenge that you want to highlight. Before you can create a visual narrative, you’ll first need to know what you intend to put to paper. 

2. Understanding The Audience 

Next, it’s time to identify who your ideal audience is. Consider doing market research at this point, to understand more about the audience. You can build personas for the ideal audience, so you can get a better idea of who you’re developing the film for. When you know who the audience is, you can identify what the right channels would be to reach them. You’ll also know how to create your visual narrative in a way where you’re able to hook the audience. 

3. Working On The Visual Elements 

Now, it’s time to put your graphic design skills to the test. You should be working with a team at this point. Consider holding a team meeting where everyone pitches ideas on creating the visual story. Create a framework that’s structured and wait for something truly powerful to emerge. Work with the ideas you’re getting until you land an idea that aligns with your set objectives. 

When you know how to tell the story of the movie in a clear and concise manner, you can then represent it graphically with ease. 

4. Looking For Feedback 

When you want to tell a story successfully using the visual medium, you’ll need to keep all team members in the loop when it comes to your thought process. Everyone should know the general creative direction that you’re heading in. As graphic designers- what’s expected of you? What kind of illustrations do you need to create? Do you need to create advertising content for the movie? An ad film? Your approach to visual storytelling will change depending on the medium that you’re working on. 

Irrespective of the medium however, you’ll be expected to gather your knowledge, your critical thinking skills, and your creativity together, to graphically represent the movie properly. Ask for feedback from team members, and take that feedback into consideration when telling your story. 

How Can You Become Better At Visual Storytelling? 

Graphic design is a core part of the visual storytelling process. To tell better stories, there are five things that you can do. These include: 

  • There should be a solid structure for the story. Follow this structure in your designs, to ensure that you can represent the story well. 
  • The characters in the story should be visually brought to life. Try to make the characters relatable as well as easy to isolate. Use emotions during your design process to show different shades of the character. 
  • Use visuals that are engaging and interactive, such as dynamic graphs, over infographics and videos. This will help the readers understand the information provided even better. 
  • Interactive content can also be used in capturing attention. You can also use motion graphics to tell your story. The message your narrative provides should be meaningful. 
  • The UX is at the core of a successful visual storytelling process for graphic designers. You can make use of typography that’s readable or responsive designs, for mobile users. 


Graphic design is a key part of visual storytelling, especially in movies and similar media. This guide explores what your role is in visual storytelling as a graphic designer. Use this guide to learn why graphic design is important to visual storytelling, as well as how you can tell stories better graphically.

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About the Author: Diane D. Kelling