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The Web Designer With a Thousand Faces

One of the biggest emerging trends in communications is the prevalence of storytelling. Chris Brogan will tell you that social media is storytelling (and relationships). Everyone from Al Ries to Steve Jobs will tell you that marketing is storytelling. So it should come as no surprise that leading digital thinkers believe web design (and really Read more

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articulation-of-archetypes

One of the biggest emerging trends in communications is the prevalence of storytelling. Chris Brogan will tell you that social media is storytelling (and relationships). Everyone from Al Ries to Steve Jobs will tell you that marketing is storytelling. So it should come as no surprise that leading digital thinkers believe web design (and really any type of visual communication) is storytelling as well.

If we think about web design this way, then it makes sense to look at how critics in other fields have deconstructed storytelling (and what that can teach us).

Joseph Campbell, a leading expert on myths and legends (the oldest stories in our culture) wrote a book called THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. In that volume he theorized that certain characters and scenarios were common across multiple cultures and stories. In an unconscious way we all find rapid rapport and appeal in concepts like heroes, genius and the wisdom of the sage.

Corporate communications experts have taken his work and applied it to the stories we all tell about our companies. By incorporating deliberate visual design and text these unconscious messages can be communicated to the consumer.

Do you want to be seen as wise, secure, reliable, caring, strong, and creative or a combination of some of these? A few well-known corporations could be positioned as follows:

Creator demonstrating imagination, innovation and cleverness – GE and Philips
Ruler taking charge, being responsible, living according to values – British Airways
Jester enjoy your life and work, being here now – Geico
Seeker being willing to be different, having the courage to do new things – Apple

What persona best represents your company? And does your website (and other marketing communications) reflect that archetype?

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