What’s storytelling? Pt. 1

Storytelling apparently is the silver bullet that will make you succesfulll: your product, your marketing, your brand and you personally. It seems to be everywhere: in movies, advertising, photos, newspapers. It’s organically present in urban legends and myths. It’s the spreading mechanisms of all religions. So then what is it?

Absurd idea

For someone with engineering background like me an idea that a picture or a brand logo tell a story seems absurd. Picture is a picture and logo is just logo. Both can be recognisable, but c’mon that’s it. So this text is my attempt to figure it out. I feel I need to understand storytelling for myself as well as for my work. I guess it’s the first post of many…

Random notes & thoughts

With experience I started seeing and feeling what the story might be. Through making pictures and writing I started feeling that the story is there, that it is a thing. It’s what I remember and repeat afterwards. But still, what’s its essence?

There’s small stories, like jokes. There are slightly bigger stories that brands try to tell in their ads and case studies and the PR that they do. And there are the big, epic arc narratives of whole brands, that can span decades. That’s what Apple logo stands for. It’s a symbol for my own individual collection of stories that I heard or lived through using their products. It’s partially told by them and partially made up by me, my friends and the community.

Already the Wikipedia article about storytelling reveals it’s not easy to grasp the topic. It’s just an intro into a maze of other articles to related topics. All of which are obviously abbreviated.

Funny thing is that Wikipedia itself is like an antithesis of storytelling. It aims to present dry facts and objective information. You can recognise that by reading an article on a topic that you know is fascinating. When you read it on Wikipedia it isn’t. It’s dull as ten year old tax form.

There’s literal stories told by one person to another or written in a book of stories or fairytales or novels. And there’s visual stories embedded in pictures and paintings. You can understand them if you know their context, the cultural references that they make. And there’s even more abstract stories inside symbols and even in the design of objects.

Oh man, this is getting complicated… To be continued...