How to Design a Story?

Storytelling for Culture and Media

Vrouw heeft een telefoon in haar hand, op het beeldscherm zie je de webpagina van NPO

How to design a story?

With short attention spans, high competition for attention, and stories consumed through multiple senses, there’s a need for new ways of storytelling. You might feel like you have a goldmine of content (archives, collections, data), but how do you turn it into a compelling story? How do you ensure the story appeals to your target audience and aligns with your brand positioning? How do you make it snackable, interesting, and shareable? How can you use technology to ‘automatically’ generate stories? And how can you give people the ability to create their own stories?

Stories that fit

We help organizations design and spread their best stories. Stories that fit the audience, channel, and the moment, while also strengthening the brand. We develop platforms and digital experiences for rich storytelling. Using a ‘story engine’, we build stories from data sources and digital collections, or create them in a CMS using ‘storycards’—a digital format suitable for modern content consumption.

This has resulted in award-winning platforms and apps like Netwerk Oorlogsbronnen, Binnenhof online, and Depot Boijmans van Beuningen.

Story engine

Museums excel at storytelling in physical spaces, but how do you unlock their rich collections digitally? For the Depot of Boijmans van Beuningen, we designed a story engine to create personal, meaningful stories for visitors. This engine powers the app, the website, and social media.

With the apps we developed for the Depot and the Nederlands Fotomuseum, visitors can discover the stories behind artworks and create their own collections.

Data driven stories

Sometimes stories hide in collections or archives: photos, images, timelines, newspaper articles. How do you extract and present these interesting storylines attractively? We design data-driven story platforms (in collaboration with Spinque), processing vast amounts of data into stories using search design—automated and without editorial intervention. For example, the Netwerk Oorlogsbronnen platform connects and contextualizes 12.5 million sources by linking them to events, places, people, and themes, presenting them narratively. This way, the platform brings history closer.

Building stories with storycards

Storycards allow you to create stories on your own platform, website, or app. They break stories into small, attractive pieces, enriched with video, images, animation, interaction, and audio. This approach suits short attention spans and the popular interactive formats on social media.

Co-creation in storytelling

A storytelling project is ideal for co-creation. In a strategic session, we develop storylines that best fit the organization, audience, and context. In practical co-creation sessions, we design stories in storycards: with the editorial team as knowledge experts, we create stories with the right balance of text, images, and interaction. By the end of a session like this, the editorial team can independently use storycards.

Ready to change things?

Jacco Ouwerkerk

Also want to engage a larger audience? Contact Jacco Ouwerkerk

Jacco Ouwerkerk's Linkedin