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Cover image for A Visual Guide To: Visual Storytelling
Microsoft Azure

A Visual Guide To: Visual Storytelling

Nitya Narasimhan
PhD & Polyglot / Senior Cloud Advocate @Microsoft / I love mobile, web and visual storytelling / Be fearless, learn continuously!
・3 min read

This is a condensed form of the article originally published on the Visual Azure site. It's part of an effort to explain technology concepts using visual vocabularies, including sketchnotes! Follow @sketchthedocs for daily examples and articles!


The Talk

Yesterday, I gave a talk to the Microsoft Student Ambassadors community on one of my favorite topics: Visual Storytelling.

I was gratified by the positive response and the number of students who actively posted questions on the chat, reached out with more questions later, and even shared their first visual notes on Twitter! I promised to share my slides and a blog post with more resources - so here we go!

You can find a copy of the slides on Speaker Deck above. Go ahead and check the slides out - it won't take too long to scan and it will help set context for the sketchnote below. Go on - I'll wait!!


The Sketchnote

I've given versions of this talk before, but this time I did something extra -- I also sketchnoted it, and captured a 30-second video replay of my process creating it. Very meta, right?

I did that for a reason - the same reason why I sketchnote everything. Because for visual learners like me, having a big picture view of something helps me understand, retain, and recall, it later!

Sketchnote of the Visual Storytelling Guide

This is a hi-res version of that sketchnote - you can download the image from here and print it for review. Note that this is meant for personal use only.

I created this on an iPad with Procreate and shared it for two reasons:

  • It gives you a visual summary of the talk, and hopefully helps you make connections to many of the points I outlined before.
  • It gives you a literal example of a sketchnote, and helps you connect the visual toolkit elements (theory) to examples of their usage (practice).

Behind The Sketchnote

I also shared this 30 second replay showing how the sketchnote was created. It reinforces my stance that sketchnoting (and visual storytelling) are not about art and perfection; they are about ideas and perspectives. And anyone can get started becoming a better learner and communicator, by adding visual storytelling to their content creation toolkit.


A Visual Storytelling Toolkit

Undertaking a visual storytelling journey requires two things - a visual storytelling toolkit, and lots and lots of practice. The toolkit is simply about identifying and exploring visual tactics and elements that help you capture information succinctly.

In the talk, I give examples of ways to use various elements (fonts, icons, colors, containers etc.) and sources of inspiration that you can learn from, and practice on. And I provide a series of example sketchnotes that explain how we can apply these visual storytelling techniques to do everything from preparing our own presentations, to sharing our recaps of others' talks, to journalling, building visual guides, and more.

If you want to learn about the visual storytelling toolkit, check out the recording from one of my earlier talks, from Microsoft Build 2020.


Additional resources

First, check out the Visualize IT series of articles (and online workshops) right here on dev.to:

Then explore these other resources:

And share your journey with me by tagging @nitya or @sketchthedocs on twitter.


This is a condensed form of the article originally published on the Visual Azure site. It's part of an effort to explain technology concepts using visual vocabularies, including sketchnotes! Follow @sketchthedocs for daily examples and articles!

Discussion (1)

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SimonaModica

Thank you for sharing, it's interesting!