The Effectiveness of Visual Storytelling in Science Communication

Abrian Curington, Blue Cat Company, Seattle, United States
Storytelling is a vital component in the effective communication of scientific concepts, especially to the public. Narrative examples aid in the retention of the factual information, much like the tradition of passing history through oral ballads. Visual storytelling, however, amplifies the effect of narratives and facts alike; relaying information in a more succinct manner, that leaves a deeper impact than data or art can, individually. Using a single image accompanied by text, or sequential images, visual storytelling leads the brain through each image, drawing the eye to key components. Clear design, composition, color, and juxtaposition of elements draw readers in, and invoke their emotions, making information easier to recollect. Though writing alone can provoke an emotional impact, narrative visuals are able to hook the reader in an instant; making them curious to know more. The trigger of curiosity can lead to development and innovation in all fields, especially the sciences. This talk will give a practical overview of visual storytelling, explore the roles that both sequential and single-illustration visual storytelling can take in the furthering of marine science communication, and draw several parallels between the methods of the two fields, and how they can more easily work together to promote the spread of information and inspire deeper exploration into how our world works.