Reading Assignment 2: Exploring Storytelling in Design – Act 2

Objective: To critically read and analyze Act 2 of “Design is Storytelling” by Ellen Lupton and reflect on the key concepts and their application in design.


Part 1: Reading and Summary (45 minutes)

  1. Read Act 2 of “Design is Storytelling” by Ellen Lupton carefully.
  2. Take notes while reading, focusing on the main concepts, examples, and any key terminology introduced.
  3. Write a 1-2 paragraphs summary of Act 2. In your summary, address the following points:
    • Explain the importance of storytelling in design as discussed in Act 2.
    • Identify and define any key terms or concepts introduced.
    • Provide examples from the text that illustrate the concepts discussed.
    • Highlight any questions or ideas that you found particularly thought-provoking.

Part 2: Application and Analysis (45 minutes)

  1. Select a real-world design project, such as a website, logo, poster, or product packaging.
  2. Analyze how the concepts discussed in Act 2 can be applied to your chosen project. Consider the following questions:
    • How does storytelling play a role in the design of this project?
    • What visual and narrative elements are used to convey a story or message?
    • How does the design align with the brand or message it is intended to convey?

Part 3: Reflection and Discussion (30 minutes)

  1. Write a reflection (1-2 paragraphs) on your findings from Part 2. Discuss:
    • How understanding storytelling in design can improve the effectiveness of the chosen project.
    • Any challenges or limitations in applying these concepts to real-world design.
    • How the content of Act 2 has influenced your perspective on design and storytelling.

Submission: Submit your assignment summary, application analysis, and reflection as a comment to this post

Due: Monday 10/30

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 Library if it is available.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Comprehension and accurate summary of Act 2.
  • Insightful analysis of the application of storytelling in a real-world design project.
  • Thoughtful reflection on the influence of Act 2 on your understanding of design and storytelling.


  1. In Act 2, Ellen Lupton explains the importance of storytelling in design through emotion and persona. Lupton explores the idea of narrative structure in design in Act 2. She stresses that to produce engaging and useful designs, designers must comprehend and use the concepts of narrative. Lupton goes further into the concept that every design tells a story and that, in order to convey their message effectively, designers should intentionally shape the narrative. Lupton also discusses about color and emotion, which are both strong storytelling tools. One key term and concept introduced in Act 2 is experience economy, which is when consumers will pay more for things that offer more experience. Lupton uses Starbucks and coffee as an example of the experience economy.

  2. Emotional connection in Design. 

    The main topic of Act two was the introduction of emotional design in user experience. Adding design aspects such as color, texture, form and material. The thought process behind this design aspect is to create a connection between the product and the user. For example: using texture such as something soft and warm to convey a feeling of being safe to the user. Thus, connecting them with this inanimate object to a tangible memory that is dear to them. Increasing the chances of the user investing in the product.  

    A theory that I think explained this very well was Maslow’s hierarchy of user experience. Breaking it down to four basic questions. Is it Pleasurable? Is it Usable? Is it Reliable and Is it Functional? Providing one of these options to users for a product makes it easier for the user to connect with said product with design tieing it all together. 

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