Archive for the ‘Visual storytelling’ Category

☞ Does visual storytelling have the same rules as other forms of storytelling? Or do different rules apply? Or could it be that some of the rules that we associate with it also apply to other forms of communication, and are not restricted to storytelling per se, whether visual or otherwise? I choose the following article not because it provides easy answers to the above questions, but because it highlights the concern that there might be different rules for visual storytelling, or that some people believe that some of the general observances of storytelling do not apply to it. What is needed here is a clearer spelling out of what these rules, principles or inclinations actually are, especially when they do, as in this case, touch on questions of ethics.

“Did you see Businessweek’s recent cover illustration on the housing bubble rebound? Did it strike you as offensive, racist, misleading and factually incorrect as it did me?

Businessweek is rightfully being pilloried over the illustration, which feels more like a 19th-century minstrel cartoon than it does a cover for a leading and mainstream 21st-century business magazine.

But the more I looked at the situation and thought about the artwork, the more I realized that in the midst of this move towards more visual storytelling in media, business and culture at large, there seem to be few rules and standards in place for telling visual stories appropriately and accurately.

Infographics, video, stock photography, presentations and charts — you can’t visit a web page or turn a magazine page without being fed visual content that has replaced the written word. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but this shift brings with it more story formats that lack traditional checks and safeguards. And that’s why the Businessweek cover is so troubling.”

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