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Design Is Storytelling

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  616 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Ellen Lupton, award-winning author of Thinking with Type and How Posters Work, demonstrates how storytelling shapes great design

Good design, like good storytelling, brings ideas to life. The latest book from award-winning writer Ellen Lupton is a playbook for creative thinking, showing designers how to use storytelling techniques to create satisfying graphics, products, se
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 21st 2017 by Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Esteban Mulki
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
A nice compendium of the latest trends that affect design. Nothing more than that, really. PS: the book design is so beautiful that it makes you want to lick the pages (?)
Ian Stewart
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
A pleasant introduction to a wide variety of psychological and storytelling ideas that can be and are successfully applied to the thinking and problem solving involved in the practice of designing things.
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fine intro to different design concepts. With pictures!
Very intrigued by this idea.
Masha Maltseva
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Fine but shallow intro. Great printing and a lot of links for deeper research on topics.
Tim Belonax
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
Well composed and researched, this book is a good starting point for considering storytelling within design.

The end of the book was full of helpful prompts and writing tips.
Marcus Kazmierczak
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
The book is quite nice, it has plenty of graphics, color, and excellent printing. The design ideas and concepts in the book seemed to be more around known stories and common sense, little seemed new to me. The book is put together well and flows nicely, maybe I'd give it 4 stars if I were newer to some of the ideas, though I was hoping for a little bit deeper from it. ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
1) Visually pleasing
2) Promotes Action, Emotion, and Sensation
3) Be advised: tiny text
Enjoyment: 3

There's lots here for reference, to utilize, to inspire, and to learn from. Could be a book that is not required but a suggested read for product design or concept development curriculum. Along with useful and amusing illustrations, this book contains art work, real and imagined products, studies, brands, and theories that concisely showcase design principles. There are accessible anecdotes and indu
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is for you if you are curious about understanding the value of design or have just started off in the design field. Easy read with plenty of examples and supportive visuals.

However, if you are already familiar with the design and its most common theories, this book will not excite you.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. I've read other short UX or Design books for mindfulness, and because people are talking about them, but Ellen Lupton made reading this practical and in moments, frickin' hilarious. I mentor a lot of UX students or interns, and I would recommend this as a fun read. The best example of affordance in the typewriter example was wonderful. In the section for Sensation, she yields two wonderful examples of how people use apps. "Our working memory can hold onto only a few obj ...more
Vinícius Mizobuti
Apr 01, 2021 rated it liked it
This book is a decent introduction to experience design, something that is now discussed in every design field, be it physical or digital.

The author presents several tools, strategies, and case studies that can be quickly adapted to the reader's work. Professionals with some experience in designing branded products might feel that this book doesn't bring anything new to the table, and it is superficial at times. If you're familiar with things such as customer journey, tone of voice, persona, etc
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Reading this book felt like taking a nice short trip to a design museum. It was easy to read with lots of illustrations and examples. I do wish the exhibit-to-text ratio was increased a bit though, since I thought a lot of the explanations were either very superficial or not that illuminating.

I especially thought that comparing the experience of using a product or service to the hero's journey in storytelling was a pretty big stretch. Even after reading through this book, I think I still have to
Miles Larson
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was another fun departure from the normal things I read. I am fascinated by communication. I always want, and try to improve in this area, becoming a great communicator, but intelligent use of images is something I’ve only hacked through. This book is fascinating. It’s as much about sociology and psychology as it is about the storytelling techniques it forwards... As you’d likely expect, it’s loaded with beautiful, odd images that illustrate the points, and challenge your sensibilities...
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
Some really good content that was scavenged from a wide variety of sources and made approachable. That relieves me of the time and energy of doing the legwork. And by “legwork” I mean studying dozens of design books and boiling down their themes.

One of the best things about this book is that it is emphatically not a portfolio of design work by various designers thinly disguised as an informational book.

Will refer to this valuable little volume again soon. So glad I bought it.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Quick and shallow intro to awkwardly grouped design concepts. If you expect depth or consistency that's not your book. If you expect quality paper, graphics, and good sounding to keep you engaged for a couple of hours, you've to the right place. Those new to the wonderful world of design also might enjoy Design is Storytelling and it even if few of you do, I'd call the book a success.
Emma Jiang
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1-non-fiction
I finished this book in two days. It is intriguing and tells a make-sense story. Actually, it is more interesting and funny than I expected. It divided the book into three acts: action, emotion and Sensation (which follows the rule of threes, it advocates).
I think it is some pages in the 3rd part makes it own the reputation of feminism. But in my opinion, it just touched the topic of sex-divined aesthetic, nothing is actually about feminism.
I like Ellen’s writing style, straightforward, logicall
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was very well written. The book was broken down into logical units, filled with lots of images, and examples, which made for a better reading experience.

I liked the design of the book. It makes for a great reference book for me to use when I'm either starting a new design project or finding ways to create better experiences for the user.

Highly recommend this book.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book felt like a comprehensive mini intro textbook that sets the groundwork for future studies. I knew nothing of design previously, so it was particularly interesting me the fact that there are all these underlying theories behind concept design, especially psychology and the fundamentals of vision, of attention, and empathy!
Gabriel Eggers
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
A nice somewhat funny illustrated guide to thinking about design in narrative terms. It includes a lot of different tools and ideas about how to approach the design process. If one thing stood out to me in this book it was the emotional journey tool that was first proposed by Jack Kerouac which I plan to look into more deeply, but there are a lot of good tools here.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The premise of this book is that every product, organization, and experience is a story, and that you can break up all of these life events into various design elements. The book itself doesn't follow a hero's journey through the narrative arc but is rather a collection of valuable excerpts which analyze the discovery and implementation of those design elements. ...more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-design
I've been immersing in experiences design, and this book covers some of it and.. I guess I just love graphic design too much. So this might be bias.

All in all, a nice and quick summary of story telling ideas and projects. Nicely illustrated. There are a lot of further reading in the footnote if you like to dive deeper in each subjects.

Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read it all at once to know what it has to offer, but will keep at my desk for revisiting specific tools from the book when in need of inspiration! Loved the tone, graphics, colors; very pleasing informative book!
J Rizzo
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting read. It covers many good concepts, but the case studies seemed a bit jammed into the flow. The typography is not good, but once you get over that it’s a nice overview of many different design aspects.
Deb Oestreicher
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a lively read, with lots of interesting information but it is not entirely clear who the audience is. Students? A lot of the information seems pretty basic for professionals. Still, I can imagine several folks with diverse interests who would enjoy it.
Bernadette Geuy
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book and I have bought several copies as gifts for friends and colleagues.

The structure and visual methods used through out are fabulous. I always find something provocative and useful in the book to use when thinking about a report or a presentation.

Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
On one hand, Ellen Lupton's Design Is Storytelling is an informative book on how design and storytelling work together. On the other hand, it feels too much like an introduction to different elements of storytelling, such as the narrative arc and hero's journey, without going into the details. ...more
Maggie Sun
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: design
Disappointingly shallow introduction to the principles of design — some good concepts in here but because each idea only receives 1-2 pages of attention there’s a lack of cohesion and depth. Might be a good primer for complete design newbies but wouldn’t recommend it otherwise.
May 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: design
2.5 stars. I don't know what to make of this book. It presents briefly a bunch of tools and techniques commonly used in design and close disciplines. Overall it feels like a potpourri of ideas around how to design "stuff" without much depth. ...more
Joel Gn
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
In this visually engaging and highly accessible text, Lupton incisively unpacks the action, emotion and sensation of design with a wide range of examples across different fields. A must-read for both design educators and students.
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