Designers, editors, content marketers and other specialists – about how we will work with the format in the current year. To discussTo bookmarks
In 2019, we face a huge amount of content every day. All around they want to be a media and to convey to the audience something interesting and important. In parallel with this, simple and clear technologies have become available to us, allowing us to create a beautiful design for any messages. Telling exciting stories has become easier, and this is one of the reasons why the format of visual storytelling has become so popular, especially in marketing communications.
The visual storytelling combines elements of graphic and editorial design, illustration and typography, video and animation – and, of course, text. Today, this symbiosis of design and quality journalism helps companies win the battle for the attention of the reader. In order to find out what this format is in 2019 and how we will work with it in the future, we turned to foreign experts – designers, editors, content marketers.
Read the full article in the Accent online edition (inside you can save it in pdf-format).
1. Developers are no longer needed.
Convenient and affordable technologies allow you to make a cool design. To do this, no longer need developers.
Steve PearsonHead of Visual Storytelling at Get Creative, USA Today
Today you can add auto-start videos, animated quotes, 360-degree videos and other elements to a regular article that will make the story go beyond the screen. And since technologies are becoming more accessible, convenient and less expensive, you will no longer need a development team to create such a design. An author or editor can independently work on visual effects and front-end, which was difficult to imagine a couple of years ago.
2. Design is as important as text.
Digital stories in terms of quality are getting closer to magazine design, but on the web.
Vice President Advertising Content Viacom
Online publishers finally noticed that part of the audience appreciates the visual effects not less than the text, and even higher. In the design of publications, more air appeared, it became more gaming, and mobile screens negated the slide show and brought us back to scrolling pages. And now we are approaching a really exciting digital storytelling.
But if we are talking about a basic goal – to make the reader consume as much content as possible – I think the main thing here is still a cool, original visual component, a strong and understandable text, as well as a convincing, unique point of view.
3. Content planning is planned in advance.
Images are as important as the text, so you should plan ahead what the publication will look like.
John collinsContent Director at Intercom
Whenever we talk about a content marketing strategy or a separate project, we first think about the words and only then how to illustrate them. Sometimes we remember this in the middle of the process, and only in rare cases do people really first imagine what the result will look like and what sense to put into the picture – and only then they sit behind the text. <…> I prefer to plan early: to produce a visual identity and work with the installation that the images have the same meaning as the text.
4. Illustrations as a way to compete.
Unique, exciting design will help get through the visual noise on the web.
Amy hatchHead of International Editorial Department at SAP
One of the things we do in the online publication of the Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce is the creation of unique illustrations for each material. This is our design tactics inside the content development strategy. We send the material to the creative department a week before the publication: colleagues ask questions, we find keywords on the topic and discuss concepts together. As a result, the creative team creates an illustration specifically for this material and for SAP. And I notice that this approach is picked up by other companies. There is a lot of visual noise and debris on the Web, so you need to do something really exciting from a design point of view to get through it.
5. Custom images
Involving design becomes the minimum requirement for marketers and brands. One of the ways to match it is custom images, which always outperform template ones.
Jeremy FordSenior Art Director at NewsCred
Recently, I saw a free service for creating modular illustrations depicting people – a good idea for marketers who cannot afford their own illustrators. Only we, most likely, very quickly get tired of seeing such pictures. With this tool, too many similar illustrations have already been created. Custom images are always better than template ones, as they are unique and closely related to the brand voice.
6. Closer work of authors and designers
In good design examples, words and visuals clearly complement each other. We began to observe more often the joint work of authors and designers – and this is the way to revive the design and bring it to a new level.
Claire FallunCreative Director at The Writer
Visual elements tell stories: explicitly – through illustrations and images, or only imply them – through the choice of colors, certain forms or other graphic techniques. And when you need to decide on what will form the basis of the visual range, we are helped by verbal design. We can make the text work in harmony with the picture. At the same time, when we have the opportunity to communicate directly with design agencies or our own designers, it always helps to clearly define the tone and ultimate goal that will form the basis for creating a certain impression or experience.
7. Focus on Evergreen Content
To be successful in perspective, companies focus on long-playing content.
Sean blandEditor in InVision
One of my favorite content marketing texts is Robin Sloan’s “Stock and Flow.” In his view, “stock” is something that is stored forever. That will always be relevant. From the point of view of the author, this is how-to materials, texts useful to the reader, or deeply developed features on any topic. In contrast, there is a “stream” – one-day materials created on the wave of trends or purposefully for the sake of repost in social networks. Content and marketing have always been a balance of these two areas, but in the last year I notice a shift in focus from “flow” to “stock”.
8. Brands as multi-channel service providers
The audience moves between different sources of content and expects brands to follow.
Julie BlitzerDigital UX Manager at Design Group Italia
Brands and publications are increasingly perceived not as separate resources – newspapers, websites, radio stations, but as multichannel service providers. It has always been important for brands to be present on different platforms, but today the audience is free to move more than ever between various sources and expects their favorite brands to follow. What would have been considered strange a few years ago today has become not just the norm, but the expectation of the audience. People are sure: “Services should examine me and my habits and in exchange for this information, offer the best possible, personalized output in the device through which I interact with these services.”
9. An integrated approach to corporate identity
Brands will have to become bolder in choosing authors and visuals.
Paul de MaréArt Director at Optimist Inc.
Although it is obvious that beautifully designed content stimulates reader interest, the experience begins with quality journalism and storytelling. If a brand wants to establish contact with the consumer with the help of content, it should start with an integrated approach to brand identity. How can he integrate a product or service into that fascinating narrative through which he communicates with consumers? Content is becoming increasingly empty and boring. In contrast, brands should trust readers and take risks when choosing authors and a visual language, without losing the belief that good content will always attract a smart reader.
10. Inclusive design
More and more companies will use visual and verbal elements to appeal to audiences who are unable to perceive content in standard formats.
Emily RodriguezBusiness Development Director at The Writer
One of the interesting things that I’ve watched lately is the inclusive design in written communications. Companies turn to many different audiences, and there may be people who, for one reason or another, cannot perceive content in standard formats. For example, before publishing, you can add a short description to a photo so that it can be read by a text-reproducing device for the visually impaired. Among consumers, there are also people for whom the language in which you write is not native: by becoming easier and clearer in communication, you can reach them.