Graphic Design Inspiration: Storytelling

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Storytelling is at the heart of all great designers, and Stanley Hainsworth is no exception. In the current issue of Print magazine, associate editor, Karli Petrovic, had an opportunity to sit down with Hainsworth and learn how storytelling plays a key role in his business. The following is an excerpt from that interview.******* As a designer and CCO of Tether, Stanley Hainsworth has made quite a name for himself by telling great stories. After all, nowadays, brands live and die by the narratives they share with customers. Read on for Hainsworth’s advice on how to build the right happy ending every time:

Designers are problem-solvers. That’s what we do. We identify a problem and then come up with the most efficient and compelling way to solve that problem. But in order to get a consumer to want a product or service, they need to care. And, that’s where the story side of our job becomes so important. We have amazing creative tools that enable us to create and strengthen emotional connections between a brand and its audience. With these tools we can translate the soul of a brand into a story—a rich platform that touches all five senses at every point of contact.

KP: You do a lot with packaging design. How can it tell a story?

SH: Packaging is the face of a brand’s story. Many times it is the most direct face to the consumer as they encounter the brand on-shelf. A great product can’t be designed without knowing the brand’s story. Otherwise, what are you designing the product against? The packaging is a physical representation of that brand. It contains all the elements—voice, color, photography, structural and graphic shapes, etc.. I like to think of a consumer’s first encounter with a new brand package like a first date.


You see it sitting on the shelf as one of many possibilities. But, somehow, that particular package calls out to you—there’s something about it that intrigues you. It first catches your eye, and you become curious. You pick it up and turn it over in our hand. You like the feel of it. You read the front and like the attitude. As you turn it over and read the back, you decide that you like it enough to consider a ‘first date.’ And you place it in your cart to buy for a first try. At home, you spend some time with the product.

It delivers on the potential that you first hoped when you fondled the package. Next time you’re at the store you buy it again, then again. You’ve now had enough dates with this ‘brand representative’ that you decide to make it a part of your life, and it takes a permanent place on your shopping list.

To read the rest of Karli’s interview with Stanley Hainsworth and for more storytelling graphic design inspiration, get a digital subscription to Print. Links to Google Play, iTunes, Nook and Kindle are linked in the box below.

Follow Karli’s stories online at or and in the pages of Print and HOW magazine.

Also check out Stanley Hainsworth’s essay in the new book Graphic Content: True Stories From Top Creatives.