Reading Assignment: Design is Storytelling Chapther 1

Assignment Overview:

Welcome to the first chapter of our exploration into the world of graphic design through the book “Design is Storytelling” by Ellen Lupton. In this assignment, you will delve into Chapter 1 of the book to gain insights into the fundamental principles and concepts that underpin the relationship between design and storytelling.

Chapter 1: Defining Design as Storytelling

In the opening chapter, Ellen Lupton introduces the concept of design as storytelling, emphasizing that every design element has the potential to convey a narrative. She explores how designers use visual and communicative techniques to engage audiences, evoke emotions, and convey messages. This chapter sets the stage for our journey into understanding how design is a powerful form of storytelling.

Assignment Objectives:

  1. Read and Comprehend: Read Chapter 1 of “Design is Storytelling” by Ellen Lupton carefully. Take notes to ensure a deep understanding of the key concepts and ideas presented.
  2. Analyze Concepts: Identify and analyze the key concepts introduced in Chapter 1. Think critically about how Lupton defines design and its relationship with storytelling.
  3. Reflect and Discuss: Write a reflection on how the ideas presented in Chapter 1 resonate with your own understanding of design. Discuss any examples or experiences you may have that relate to the concept of design as storytelling.

You can Borrow a digital version of the book HERE for one hour. You can also buy the book on Amazon or borrow it from your local library or CityTech Libaray if it is available.

Assignment Requirements:

Post your learnings from Chapter 1 (200-300 words) in the discussion due 9/21


  1. In chapter one of “Design is Storytelling,” In Ellen Lupton’s introduction to the idea of design as storytelling, Ellen Lupton points out how each design element has the power to tell a story. In the book, she introduces the concept of a narrative arc. The narrative arc consists of five parts: rising action, exposition, climax, falling action, and lastly, the conclusion. Ellen Lupton also introduces the concept of storyboarding and the purpose of it. The ideas in chapter one resonate with my own understanding of design because, behind every design, there is always a story of how you came up with the design and creation. In order for us as designers to have a deep and emotional understanding of the people we are designing for, storytelling connects a interesting narrative around their requirements and motivations. For example, for the self-branding logo project, there’s a story behind it to introduce people to who I am as a person and why I came up with the design. To conclude, Ellen Lupton discusses the action of designing and what it takes to build a design.

  2. Although I read both the overture and the first chapter of Design is Storytelling, by Ellen Lupton, I found myself resonating more with the ideas presented in the overture, then in chapter one. Except for the idea of story boarding. In the overture the quote, “What excites me about design is the potential to transfer information into someone else mind.” Stood out because reminds me, respectfully of alchemy, and symbolism. However, when the author adds that design is a method used to exchange energy and not just transfer data, I understood why she uses the word empathy in her explanation. A relationship the should occur between the design and viewer. For me, I want this relationship to be illuminating and forward thinking. In chapter one, Ellen Lupton presents methods of engaging the viewer within the relationship of design. She suggests that creating a interactive, multi-perspective design experience with a beginning, middle, and end point is most effective. Story boarding was one of the methods presented in this chapter that I found to be most appealing because it can be used to design campaigns.

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