Expanding Storytelling as a Design Method

Solji Lee
4 min readDec 17, 2019

Focused on Designing Brand Homepage

[Design Thesis]

“The value of a good story is priceless.”

(Hermansson& Na, 2008)

Story and storytelling design method are topics that gained an increased interest within the marketing and UX design area during the last years because of their power to attract and empathize with people.


A story is similar to the narrative which means the sequence of words or speech and it is naturally emerging when people communicate. A story is used everywhere and every time through various media such as voice, written word, and body language when people communicate with each other.

The story is a powerful method to explain the situation, making us engage the imagination of the situation following the sequence. People can share the same understanding after listening to the same story which makes it easy to persuade when people confront different understandings and conflicts.

The story is used not only in the mundane conversation but also in the art area such as painting, movie, novel, and design. A storytelling method especially used in the design process because the purpose of the design and the effects of storytelling correspond. For example, designers make a persona to persuade clients or to understand deeply by themselves.

The story puts a human face on data or design.

In the same sense, storytelling is going to be a vital tool for brand marketing now.


For these reasons, the brand is trying to deliver their brand identity to users and uses the same logo, color, and typeface on their product package, shop, and website to show it. And the brand website is the face of the company when customers try to find the information about the brand, companies need to take care more to show their story and identity on the website. Unlike the importance of the homepage of brands, it is not common to use the storytelling method on the website.

To meet these expectations, we as designers must do better to understand storytelling and be mindful of the storytelling design method on the brand website.

five elements of storytelling

In this paper, I discuss this topic through five elements of storytelling which are previously studied in the UX area: perspective, character, imagery, context, and language. I use these concepts to reflect on three unique brands (Airbnb, Coca-Cola, and Red bull), which all in different ways embrace aspects of storytelling, in terms of their brand identity and strategies, but also in terms of practices in website design.

Airbnb, Red bull, and Coca-Cola Homepages

I use my analysis to articulate high-level principles: Making the point of view on websites, building a strong context, and creating a layout to support the story. And these principles may help to make a closer relationship with customers in homepage design, maximize marketing effects, and in general make the website design method using storytelling.

I believe this paper can open discussing storytelling as a strong design method that can understand and communicate well with a human through a story.

If you are interested in the thesis and want to read the whole, use the below link.




Solji Lee

a second-year design grad at University of Washington / UX designer based in Seattle