Visual Storytelling Goes Viral

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While sifting through my Twitter feed I recently came upon a video about the distribution of wealth in the United States. I read and research various topics every day, but I have to admit, I’m more often reading about social media, advertising, design, storytelling and less often about finance and the economy (to my detriment—I only have so many hours in the day).

I didn’t know what to expect. The video was embedded on a site so I couldn’t see how popular it has truly become (over 4 million views). Within the first few seconds, I was hooked. The narrator tells a great story, and as a tax-paying citizen of the U.S., I was interested because I saw myself in the story. Combine the story with beautiful and effective imagery (with little text), and it was a prime example of the power of effective visual storytelling.

Check out the video and I’ll discuss more after the jump:

Displaying Data Without The Dull

Every so often I receive emails that all ask a similar question: “I love the way you design PowerPoint presentations, but my presentations have a lot of data and don’t lend themselves well to full-bleed images. How can I effectively design my presentation without filling the screen with data?”

Effective PowerPoint presentation design isn’t just about slapping a full-bleed image on every slide. At its core, effective presentation design is about revealing the truth. It’s about utilizing visuals as a backdrop to your story in order to further engage the senses, turning your presentation into an experience.

Even if your presentation has loads of data that no photography could express, that doesn’t mean your presentation has to be boring. It just means you’ll have to commit to effective design and to think about your data not just as words and numbers, but as visual scenes.

This video went viral, and for good reason. It proves that data CAN indeed be presented beautifully and effectively when told as a story and professionally designed with the audience in mind.

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  • Tedw

    Really? This video went viral… even though it says this video is private????… went to youtube and there it said: “this video is private, sorry about that.

    Private social media?

    • Jon Thomas

      Sorry Ted. This post is now a few months old and since then, the person who uploaded the video must have set it on private. Certainly when it went viral, it was public and easily shared.

      • Susana Perez-Bradford

        thanxs for the image of one of the clips. Im sad I could not see the video but the image looks beautiful. I also love your quotes in this article, especially the sentence about effective presentations and how it is an experience. I am used to excel/word/organization and I want to move into presentations. I’m someone who researches obsessively and a speed reader but sometimes worries too much about if I made the right choice and with changing technology(compatibility) I want to create experiences(presentations) that can be edited effectively and shared as video and/or presentation and/or multimedia. There seems to be a blur between video editing and presentations that are presented as video. Like how much work has to be redone if I make something in WondershareVideo/FinalCutPro/something else(haha I have downloaded 5 video editing and dont know which one to stick with) and now I see there is Articulate Storyline and I am very familiar with Powerpoint(although this seems more labor intensive than a video editing program since I am always creating 3-D “images”/charts and adding in video clips, basically Powerpoint as multimedia a la webmobile3.0. And it seems powerpoint and excel takes a lot more work to look “sexy”)…… Just dont know which one to stick with in terms of best use of time and future compatibility.

  • arshi

    this video is awesome!!! i couldnt start playing or got bored at all!!! but topic is too boring to create such a great ppt on it! its english! can anyone help me….i basically have a topic from a book and have to explain it through quotes! any ideas guys?? tx in advance