This Word Visual Serves ...


I explored the concept of word visuals earlier this month as the perfect way for PR professionals to bridge into the visual world.

For those not familiar with word visuals, one “packages” clever words in a way that brings a visual dimension to communications. What’s key is they emphasize the words with the design element taking a subservient role in the visual storytelling.

The timeline is a natural frame for word visuals. If you can hold a pencil, you command the design proficiency to create a timeline.

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, what better time than to dust off one of my all-time favorites word visuals, a timeline called “Thanksgiving With My Family” by Scott Bateman (appreciate Matt Bors’ helping hand in finding proper attribution).

Thanksgiving Timeline “Thanksgiving With My Family” by Scott Bateman - visual storytelling

In reverse-engineering the timeline, a few points rise to the surface that can be applied to business communications:

  • Design: This is what I mean by requiring zero design expertise. The timeline consists of a bar, a line and words. A fifth grader could create this visual on a mobile phone.
  • Details Fuel the Storytelling: We don’t just learn that the Dad is in love. He’s set his sights on “that one checker at Wal-Mart.”
  • Show, Don’t Tell: Actions carry the narrative with the adjectives and adverbs accentuating select parts of the story.

Here’s hoping no one throws up on your shoes tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Side note: For more on this topic — design, not how to survive Thanksgiving with the family — check out the post “Helping Non-Designers Get the Visual Storytelling Religion.”



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