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Five challenges of visual storytelling and how to tackle them

Stories help us understand our world. Making these stories visual helps your audience remember them better. But creating a visual that supports the story you’re trying to tell can be difficult. Our lunchtime event on visual storytelling in London generated a number of practical insights, which we’re happy to share with you.


In his keynote presentation, Kevin Schou, Director at Deloitte, highlighted five challenges of visual storytelling that are familiar to small and large companies alike.

  1. Dealing with data overload: Deciding what to show and what not to show.

  3. Choosing the right technology: While there are many fancy BI tools available online, many of them cannot be used due to strict security policies and expensive licensing fees.

  5. Fear of insight: New insights may lead to new discoveries, and eventually to change. Not everyone is ready for this.

  7. Culture: Not everyone is prepared to choose data-driven insights over intuition.

  9. Large number of stakeholders: Often, companies have to deal with a large number of stakeholders, each with their own needs and agenda.

Guiding principles 

Kevin’s employer Deloitte had been dealing with the exact same challenges for a long time. From those experiences, however, Kevin managed to distil a number of guiding principles that help present huge amounts of data in simple, visual dashboards.


  • Clarity: Is the chart self-explanatory and the point easily understood?
  • Conciseness: Edit and re-edit words and visual elements to make the result as concise as possible.
  • Simplicity: Can someone in a completely different role/ field/ industry understand this message?
  • Aesthetics: People pay closer attention to well designed materials.
  • Summarisation: Provide one-slide summaries, 30-second versions, dashboards, or key slides.
  • Stories: Use a narrative – case studies, personal accounts, examples – to illustrate and embed key points.

Find your story

Following Kevin’s presentation, Nicole provided a list of practical tips and examples on how to create the best visual, i.e. which type of chart to select and how to modify it to tell your story in a clear, concise and compelling way. Three common themes emerged:

  • Less is more
  • Appeal
  • Find your story

Want to know how boobook can help you find and visualise your story? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line, we’re happy to help!



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