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Visual Storytelling: How Stories are Told in Pictures

Are pictures really worth a thousand words? Let’s take a look at some facts.

According to a whitepaper published by NewCred and Getty Images, the following statistics are proof:

  • 40% of people will respond better to information presented visually
  • 83% of human learning is visual
  • 44% of users are more likely to engage with brands on social platforms if they post pictures
  • Articles and blog posts that contain images get 94% more views than those without

Aside from all that, there’s also proof in the way our mind works. The human brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than information presented through text. In fact, we’re all highly attuned to our sense of sight. According to Dr. John Medina, vision trumps all of our other senses.

With these facts laid out, it’s easy to see why images are important to presentations and marketing materials. Through visual storytelling, you can use pictures to create stronger emotional impact. Pictures can tell a story that immediately allows your audience to connect with the message you’re sharing.

So whether you’re delivering a presentation or revamping your social media profiles, visual storytelling is the best way to go. When selecting pictures to use, try to keep in mind the four key characteristics of visual storytelling:


The best stories come from candid moments. It’s why photo sharing has become so prevalent in the age of social media. Replacing the super-polished stock photos are snapshots that allow others to see the world through a more personal perspective. Take, for example, Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. Instead of featuring models that are photoshopped to perfection, Dove featured everyday women and challenged today’s absurd beauty standards.

To find images that are more authentic to your story, focus on what your brand stands for. Look for images that convey your identity and experiences as a brand. Next, look for something that will resonate with your audience. Think about the people you’re addressing and what might be authentic for them.


Visual storytelling should also take into account what’s happening in the world. After all, your message doesn’t exist in a bubble. It’s contextualized in a milieu—a world where billions of individuals are discovering new things every single day. Make sure your visual stories are relatable and relevant to the audience you want to target. Consider what Oreo did to make the most out of a blackout that interrupted the Super Bowl. For your own visual story, choose images that evoke a sense of time and culture.


The only thing better than a picture is the real thing. But since you can’t have real situations on a PowerPoint slide, you’re going to have to settle for the next best thing. Visual storytelling thrives on imagery that can heighten emotions and senses.

Close-up and macro shots are great for showing textures that audiences can almost touch. On the other hand, a long shot can also take your audience into a particular scene, allowing them to experience it through a wider perspective.


Lastly, the best of visual storytelling alludes to narratives that are practically as old as time. If you think about it, you’ll notice that all your favorite stories are tied together by recurring themes and archetypes. These are universal symbols—called such because they can be found across many different countries and cultures. For your visual stories to be a success, you need to take these symbols and turn it into your own.

Find an archetype that relates to your brand and make it your own. Get to know your own new character and find images that correspond to this new version of a well-loved symbol.
Visual storytelling is great technique to use in presentations and marketing efforts.  By weaving imagery together, you can create a story that speaks volumes about your core message.

READ MORE: The Power of Visual Storytelling – NewsCred + Getty Images (Whitepaper)


Featured Image: Ravinder M A via Flickr

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