How brands use design to tell their story
A picture paints a thousand words. When it comes to marketing, brands need to keep track of their design trends to tell their story, creating a message that will resonate with their target audience and compel them to take action.
Design is able to create an instant connection with audiences that bolster marketing narratives. That's the reason why 73% of businesses invest in design to help their brand stand out against the competition, and 51% of B2B digital marketers find visual assets to be important for content marketing.
But why is design so important for creating a great narrative? And what are some of the latest storytelling design trends that brands need to be aware of?
Storytelling in design compels decisionmakers to take notice
As we mention in our ultimate guide to storytelling, good storytelling makes your brand unique and memorable amidst a sea of competitors – making it more likely they will ultimately buy from your brand than others.
We see approximately 5,000 marketing messages everyday. That’s why your content needs to hook your customer in and compels them to pay attention. It helps explain what your company does, and most importantly – what it does differently.
Why is design important for creating a great narrative?
When done well, design creates an instant emotional connection with the consumer – the first step towards forging a relationship that will ultimately result in a sale.
According to this article from Brain Rules, when people just hear a message (i.e. without an image) they can remember up to 10% of the information three days after – but if that message is coupled with a visual graphic, they can remember 65% of it. That’s why you can’t sleep on design when it comes to telling your brand story.
When we talk about storytelling in design, we don’t necessarily mean telling a three-hour Lord of the Rings style epic. It’s about using design to represent story elements (characters, themes, motivations) in a way that grabs an emotional response from the audience, tells them something about your brand and why they should buy from you.
But times change, and to use design to tell the best stories you need to ensure you are keeping up with some of the latest design trends. Below are some of the key storytelling design trends we ’re expecting to see more of in 2022.
Gamifying your content with design engage your potential customer from the get-go, and is a great way to hook them in and give them an incentive to engage with your brand. A great design example is M&M’s ‘Eye Spy’ pretzel game, in which the company posted a graphic with of multi-coloured M&Ms with one ‘pretzel guy’ hidden amongst it. The game was shared over 6,000 times and was liked 25,000 times.
Introducing characters in design doesn’t just defang your brand and boost personality – it can also showcase that you understand your customer - who they are, and where they want to go. This isn’t just for B2C brands, as when done in the right way mascots can boost the appeal of B2B brands as well. See Owly from Hootsuite, for example, or Moz’s Roger the Robot.
Around 70% of Gen Z consumers are more trusting of brands that represent diversity in ads, while 59% of people say that they are more loyal to brands that stand for diversity and inclusion in online advertising. Your design therefore needs to reflect that you are including consumers from all walks of life, or else you’ll be missing the opportunity to connect with a huge segment of your audience.
Humour is one of the strongest ways to elicit a reaction from your target audience and make your brand stand out, - it’s also much more likely to be shared. See for example, Gucci’s ‘That Feeling When Gucci’ campaign, which used a series of relatable memes to promote a new line of watches, and accrued nearly 2 million likes.
How else are brands using design to bolster their brand narrative? Here’s some of our favourite examples below
Catching Feels – Mondi
How would you sell paper? After all, it’s not exactly the most exciting product out there. But Mondi found a way to showcase the benefits of its PERGRAPHICA paper in a unique way.
Catching Feels creates a sensory journey through six feelings, using emotive visuals to highlight how striking imagery can leap off the page – it takes the customer’s everyday idea of what paper can be and shows that it can be so much more. No wonder the campaign saw sales increase by over 35% (despite paper sales declining across the industry).
Comma – Understanding the building blocks of MDM
On the surface, a brochure for data management solutions could be pretty jargony. ‘Here’s solution XYZ’, it might say. ‘It will help your company by doing XYZ’ it goes on. Who’s going to take that message on?
But if you compare every aspect of data management to playing a computer game – as Comma did in their most recent campaign – the message becomes infinitely more memorable. With Mario-style graphics and visuals, Comma instantly sparks a connection with the kind of people who would read about data management, while helping them visualise Comma literally as their ‘Player 2’, helping them reach the next level.
Total Compliance Tracking – Comic book marketing
Like paper, compliance management isn’t exactly the hottest industry to talk about. Or at least that was the case, until TCT produced a comic book that put its target audience at the heart of the story and showed how businesses could use the company’s compliance tracking solution.
This design-heavy format showcased how a visual approach can make the boring and ordinary exciting and extraordinary.
Colgate – Dental Floss campaign
Here’s a great example of design being used to tell a story and highlight why a product is important. Each image in this Colgate ad series has something off about it – but the only thing you notice is that something is in that person’s teeth.
This design says everything we need to hear. We know the point that Colgate is making and understand why we need their teeth cleaning products, while only needing a couple of lines of copy. That’s the power of great design.
Nutcracker uses design to help brands tell their story
We work with businesses to truly understand their target audience and deliver bold designs that resonate. Tapping into the latest design trends, we’re able to redefine your brand identity with exciting, polished visuals that will grab your customer’s attention.
We look at how designs will help elevate your brand and tell your unique story in a way that will convert leads.