Storyboarding is important for clarity, and for brainstorming

by Erik Briones | March 2, 2020

Today my codesigner was tasked to create campaign materials for International Women’s Day. One of the tasks was to create motion graphics for social media with some copy and numbers.

My role is just to see if what she is building is consistent with the brand.

A few minutes after we had been given the brief, she tried sketching out her ideas, which was great. She pulled up some references, and we looked into how to incorporate the known symbols of IWD into our brand logo.

Then in the afternoon I came back to my colleague and see her progress. She showed me what was Frame 1, and then Frame 2. It was all good, however, there was a missing piece. She did not show me a storyboard of the whole thing.

I then told her about storyboarding and why it is important.

In her mind, the flow might be very clear. Frame 1 is this, Frame 2 is this, 3 and 4. But in mine, since I am just an overseer, I did not quite see “it”. Frame 1 looked good in concept so did Frame 2. But how do we ensure that the whole thing will be tied up together and would make sense as a whole?

A storyboard would have helped me understand, and for me to buy in the idea. I would have had clarity on the whole flow. It is important as creatives that we are not only good at drawing our art/designs, we should also be good at explaining them and most especially making stakeholders understand and get buy-in. After all, these are the people who we need to approve our output.

For me also, storyboarding is great for brainstorming. It is similar to wireframing a website, that in wireframes you get to flesh out what works and what does not (more importantly).

It makes it easier for you to notice that in Frame 1, you are using an Airplane, which could symbolize something mechanical and again in Frame 2, or if your thoughts on implementation are best achieved with linear drawings in Frame 3, but solid darker shapes in Frame 4. These things could easily be noticed when we have a storyboard.

I didn’t know the technical language of filmmaking, so I said, ‘OK, I’m going to do my own storyboard,’ because I had to explain to the crew and the technical people what I wanted.

– Robert Redford

I have first heard about storyboarding while I was working for a film production company. I think the term was started by and is mostly used by people in the film industry, and animators. Now it is equally important in advertising campaigns – especially the motion graphics types, or when you create carousels on Instagram for example.

Well, that’s it for me. Good night.