Is visual storytelling just a buzzword?

Younito Man

Last weekend my family and I put together the very first furniture items in our new home after moving overseas – an Ikea table and four chairs. After eating on boxes for a week, we couldn’t wait. The four of us, including a 6-year-old, a 10-year-old and two adults in their 40s assembled everything in under an hour using only one allen key and a set of drawings.

If you look around your home, chances are, you’ll spot at least one Ikea item you assembled yourself. Stressful as it can be, (i.e. where the heck does this go??), imagine if you had to deal with a long list of instructions instead of simple drawings.

It’s a well-known fact that most of us prefer to consume information visually. According to the study republished by Forbes, “91% of consumers now prefer visual and interactive content over traditional media.”

But did you also know that people can follow instructions 323% better when visuals are used? That’s because our brain is so much better at dealing with images than text.  According to MIT researchers, the human brain is capable of processing an image in as little as 13 milliseconds. The blink of an eye takes about 300 milliseconds.

Though nowadays, visuals alone won’t do the trick anymore. It’s more about what you do with them, which is where visual storytelling comes in.

As overused as this term might seem, it’s not just a buzzword.  Using a series of drawings to create a narrative for a specific purpose – to record, to communicate, to engage, to influence – has been around for centuries.

Younito is thinking

It is still the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.

Visual storytelling has become a trend for the majority of brands since 2016.  Visual narratives with an accent on relevance and emotions are now part of every big brand’s marketing.

In organisations, visual storytelling is increasingly used as a way to support transparency and mutual understanding of systems and processes, for example, development of ‘customer journeys’, large scale ‘strategic visualisations’ and even ‘design thinking’.

Telling curated stories visually through photos, videos, comics and infographics (the most shared content on the web) is currently the most direct way to connect with your customers, your team or your stakeholders.

In a nutshell, visually storytelling seems easy – pick your content, line up visuals and off you go.

But to do it well, to do it effectively, you need to understand the specific storytelling techniques and develop a different set of skills.

That’s why the Global Bikablo Team created the advanced bikablo training covering popular topics like ‘Visual Storytelling’ and “Graphic Scribing’, which began its roll out world-wide in 2020.

During the two days of training the students, who have already learnt the basic visualisation principles during the bikablo fundamentals course, learn how to transform complex subjects into lively picture stories. With the bikablo emotions figures, large-format layout techniques and visual dramatic composition, students are taught to convey necessary messages in a clear, but more emotional and lively way.

Our Brisbane based trainer Danny Low attended the Global bikablo train-the-trainer course last year in Germany and is now the only certified instructor to teach advanced bikablo in Australia and NZ. “The course, with the focus on visual storytelling for business, allows you to take your visual skills to the next level.  We teach people the theory behind the visual storytelling, how to create visual hierarchy, the most effective ways to layout and present the content on paper. This is the deep knowledge that has been packaged into a time-effective workshop on the hottest visualisation topics.”

Last year at VizConf, (Australia’s premier and only conference for visual practitioners), we trialled the advanced class with a small group of participants.

Sujith Ramachandra, a Senior Consultant at Radically, and one of our enthusiastic students had an opportunity to attend the session.  “The pace of the course, the balance of theory and practice was fantastic and I came out with a lot to think about and a boost of energy and confidence. Visualization with clarity and awareness of the power of storytelling is a game-changer.”

Watch out for the advanced bikablo classes on our website or contact us to arrange an in-house session (if your team has already completed bikablo fundamentals).

Younito has an idea

The article was written by Natalia Tsygankova. Natalia has always loved words and talking to people. She has put that passion to good use and has been sharing people’s stories in the community radio, TV and print media for the last 10 years. Natalia is also a big fan of true storytelling events and regularly volunteers at the most famous one – The Moth, interviewing the winner. You can hear her own story of moving to Australia from Russia in 1999 here. Natalia believes that everyone has a story – So what’s yours? Contact her today to share your story.