A Perspective on Maria Virokbik’s “Many Ways to Show a Story” – Showing a Story Means Thinking Like a Designer

Maria Virobik gave a great presentation at a recent QRCA So. Cal. Chapter meeting, “Many Ways to Show a Story”. When writing this, I started out with ‘everyone needs to be a designer these days’. Then, crossed it out. Instead – ‘everyone needs to THINK like a designer these days’.

Just like Maria’s presentation, this is not to discount the role or value of designers. I have worked with many talented designers (designer/magician, take your pick!). Rather, it’s to highlight the importance of visual storytelling. As analysts and report writers, this is fast becoming table stakes. Arranging the information in such a way that it’s compelling and easy processes. No-one wants to look for the answer, they want to simply see it!

At Echo, we operate by a similar principle. Anyone should be able to pop into your project folders and see exactly what’s going down. Not have to look or search for it, but simply see it. It’s the same approach we take with report writing; you want anyone who reads the report to see it and get it. Let the insights and ideas speak for themselves, rather than having to seek them out (that’s what the research phase is all about, right??).

Much of that depends on your storytelling swagger – and ability to think like a designer when bringing that story to life. When taking in Maria’s principles of showing a story I kept coming back to one big takeaway – state it, then see it. Headlines tell the story, but the slide has to visually bring it to life. I’ll never be a brilliant public speaker, but over time I’ve learnt some of the tools and tricks to think like a brilliant public speaker when going about presenting. Connecting with the tone, pause, presence (… maybe an occasional pun or attempt at humor). Same goes with visualising insights – I’ll never be a designer, but “Many Ways To Show a Story” has added a few more tools and tricks to my back pocket to think like a designer.