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Wirfs-Brock Associates Home Page > The Art of Telling Your Design Story

The Art of Telling Your Design Story

1 day

Suitable for small teams or larger groups. Price Contact us at training@wirfs-brock dot com.Price includes all course materials. Instructor travel and lodging expenses are extra.

Do you have trouble communicating design ideas, getting buy-in to new approaches, or informing others about your design? The best way to present your design isn't the same way you came up with it. As Francis Galton, a 19th century geneticist remarked, “It often happens that after being hard at work, and having arrived at results that are perfectly clear and satisfactory to myself, when I try to express them I feel that I must begin by putting myself upon quite another intellectual place. I have to translate my thoughts into a language that does not run very evenly with them.” This course presents tips, techniques, and guidelines for communicating your designs to others. To be an effective communicator, you need to know what belongs together and what deserves special emphasis. By choosing what to emphasize, understanding what's fundamental, and using progressive realization techniques, you can unfold a design in successively interesting parts. In this short course we'll present options for drawing and explaining your design using informal as well as formal notation. We'll demonstrate some fun ways to get people to simulate object interactions by tossing koosh balls, and we'll have time to plot out your own design storyline.

At the completion of this course attendees should be able to

Plot a design storyUse techniques to increase emphasis
Order a story's topics from most to least fundamental
Choose an ordering to tell a story based on the audience and context
Determine an appropriate storytelling strategy and format



  1. Why tell design stories?
  2. A story-telling strategy
    a. Stories worth telling
    b. A presentation planning “template”
    c. Understand the needs and concerns of your audience
    d. Story considerations for presenting an architecture
    e. Early design stories
  3. Storytelling basics
    a. An ordering of story fundamentals: from most to least fundamental
    b. Use progressive realization
    c. Decide what to emphasize and understand visual impact
  4. Storytelling dilemmas
    a. The crowd
    b. The impatient audience
    c. Massive details
    d. Missing details
    e. How to solicit and handle criticism
  5. Storytelling patterns
    a. Describing exception handling
    b. Describing how to adapt a design
    c. Describing design decisions
  6. Elements of Style
    a. Strunk and White's advice applied to design stories
    b. Representation options-formal, informal, detailed, overview

Each student will receive a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style in addition to a course guidebook developed by Wirfs-Brock Associates that includes story templates and notes on story telling.

For additional information please contact us at training@wirfs-brock.com


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