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A storyboard is a graphic organizer that plans a narrative or, for instance, a writing objective. Special software can be used to create visual storyboard, which are a powerful way to visually present information.

The layout consists of sequential panels, each functioning as a frame within the narrative. The linear direction of the cells is perfect for storytelling, explaining a process, and showing the passage of time. At their core, storyboards are a set of sequential drawings that tell a story with key points. By breaking a story into linear, bite-sized panel, it allows the author to focus on each cell separately, without distraction. A good frame helps to make sure that the narrative writing stays consistent and is represented in a certain way. And during the storyboarding process, you can demonstrate the ideas you want to put across to your audience. Find out more on how you can use a storyboard or book creator to work for you.

Example of a Film Storyboard

A Brief History

Depending on the source, either Howard Hughes, with the 1930 film, Hell’s Angels, or Walt Disney, with the 1933 animated film, Three Little Pigs, is cited as the father of modern day storyboards. In 1939, Gone with the Wind was the first live-action movie to be completely drawn out on storyboards before filming.

The original storyboards showed stories broken up into pieces. Each piece of the story was drawn out on a card or piece of paper and pinned to a board in sequential order. Collaborators were then able to talk about and revise the story by looking at one part at a time, check to be sure it made sense, and plan for the production. Instead of redoing a large-scale drawing when changes were made, a single card could be reordered, redrawn, or even deleted. The ability to make changes easily ahead of time saves a lot of time and money!

What is a Storyboard Used For?

Over the last 80+ years, the use of storyboards has grown. Following the roots of animation and movie-making, storyboards are used by advertisement agencies for commercials, directors for plays, and artists for comics. They have also found their way into the business world for modeling how customers will interact with new products.

We all need to plan for something, whether it be at work, school, or home. Storyboarding out your desired outcome, even in a very simplified manner, helps you prepare for potential issues, make sure your plan is sound, and/or communicate ideas with others. Today, the purpose extends to a wide array of fields, catering to various needs and objectives. Whether you use storyboards professionally or personally, they serve as indispensable tools for planning, visualization, and communication. There are many uses for them in the entertainment industry, the business world, and education. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Entertainment IndustryBusiness WorldEducation
  • Plan for shots in a live-action video
    (commercial, vlog, TV show, film, etc.)
  • Pitch a product idea
  • Keep track of characters in a text
  • Plan a narrative for animation
  • Make "How-To" instructions
  • Summarize a text
  • Plan scenery for a stage production
  • Illustrate potential outcomes
  • Show steps in an experiment
  • Plan or create a graphic novel or comic
  • Present ideas to peers and colleagues
  • Create an illustrated story

  • Storyboard Example

    Here are a few different examples to showcase how this visual approach can be used:

    Example 1: Advertising

    The business world has recognized the need to create storyboards for modeling customer interactions with new products. Also, they help to map out the entire process from start to finish. They are used to plan how each advertisement will look, how it will be presented, and where it will appear. Additionally, a video storyboard provides an opportunity for marketers to test different versions of their ads with potential customers.

    Example 2: Film and Television

    Various visual style templates are used in the process of making movies or TV shows. They are used by directors to plan how each scene will be shot and edited together. The drawings help arrange the order of events, determine the camera angles, and figure out if special effects need to be added.

    Example 3: Education

    They can be used to plan out any type of lesson, from a simple math problem to an elaborate science experiment. By breaking down each step into individual components and drawing them out on paper or using software to create CGI projects, educators can better see how the lesson will flow and make sure that all necessary materials are covered. They can also be used to help students organize and create visual aids such as comics or videos that can be used when explaining complex concepts.

    Storyboarding Process

    The process begins with creating a framework with defined visual style for your project. You’ll need to decide on the length, format, and structure of your storyboard. Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to start sketching out each step. Depending on the complexity of the project, this could take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

    With an animated storyboard, every frame needs to be illustrated with its theme. This is a great opportunity to explore different layouts, angles, and special effects. Once you’ve completed the sketches, it’s time to add text and captions. This is where you can really bring the story to life by adding dialogue and sound effects.

    When all of the rough sketches are finished, the next step in the process is to start adding annotations or descriptions to explain what each frame is intended to convey. Then you need to review your work and make any necessary changes before presenting it to others. Finally, if you're using software, you can upload your storyboard to an online platform so that others can view it and comment on it.

    Detailed storyboards are an incredibly powerful tool that can help you plan out your next project with ease. They allow you to visualize the entire story before committing any resources and make it easy to communicate your ideas with others. Whether you’re creating an advertisement, film, or educational material, storyboarding is key. It is an essential tool for any collaborative project, as it helps to organize ideas, plan for potential issues, and communicate with collaborators.

    What is Storyboarding Graphic Organizer?

    A storyboard graphic organizer is a tool used to plan out the visual effects of a story to give it a better overall visual flow. This can include uploading images, text, media, and sound. It is divided into panels or cells that represent moments in the story. A storyboard typically contains information about each cell, such as its title and description, along with notes about how it relates to the narrative as a whole. The purpose is to help the author create a visual plan for their story and make sure everything they need flows together logically. They can also be used as a way to add important details and structure to stories that might otherwise seem too abstract or difficult to explain.

    In summary, a storyboard is an effective way to plan and organize narratives. By breaking the story into separate cells, authors can focus on each part of the narrative and create a visual plan that helps ensure everything flows together smoothly. They are helpful for understanding how different elements of a story relate to each other and for adding detail and structure to stories that might otherwise be hard to explain.

    Traditional storyboards are created manually (by drawing on paper, boards, etc.), but today many software programs exist to make the process easier and more efficient. Tools like Storyboard That provide a range of templates and options for a frame, making it easy to create professional-looking projects quickly.

    Film and Entertainment Industry

    The ultimate in visual storytelling is film. Storyboards were first used for this purpose and work just as well (if not better) than they did in the 1930s. By storyboarding before filming, you can better plan out your camera angles, setting, props, actors, effects and so on and be more industrious during production. Storyboarding ahead of time also checks to see that your script makes sense and allows you to correct errors before they become too expensive to fix.

    These are some film projects that greatly benefit from storyboarding.

    • Commercial advertisement
    • Television show (with or without commercial breaks)
    • Instructional video
    • Feature film
    • Independent Film
    • YouTube & Vimeo Videos


    People love stories. People can connect to stories, and often remember information better when it is wrapped up in a story. It is sometimes better to show others’ stories rather than examples that are too close to home. Give examples using fictitious characters, rather than say things like, “When your boss comes to you and says you aren’t doing a good job….”

    We forget that people have different perspectives, backgrounds, biases and other stuff that could be clouding thinking or making someone think a certain way. Often we need a way to SHOW what we mean rather than spend time describing or explaining things. Meetings will be much more productive if everyone has the same visuals and everyone is on the same page.

    Common Business Storyboard Uses

    Using a storyboard lets you rapidly and easily experiment with a number of choices until you figure out what feels natural and right for you needs. Take a look at all of our Business Resources.


    Storyboards and other graphic organizers are ideal for many aspects of education. A main thrust of a teacher's job is to relay information to students, and in turn, students must show mastery of concepts. In addition to some students being better visual learners, teachers tell narratives, describe processes, and organize information.

    We have many Education Resources available for you to use in your classroom right now.

    Types of Storyboards

    There are many different types you can use to convey your message. Here are a few:

    Cartoon-Style: Perfect for comic-style stories or instructional comics. This type of storyboard uses hand-drawn pictures that capture the mood and emotion of the narrative.

    Motion Graphic: This is a great choice for television, film, and digital media projects. It features motion graphics like transitions, wipes, and zooms to add movement and excitement to the story.

    Photo-Realistic:This type is ideal for realistic settings such as corporate training videos or commercials. The images used should look as real as possible while still telling a compelling story.

    Whiteboard: The perfect solution for educational or informational videos. It features scribbles, arrows, and text boxes to convey information quickly and concisely.

    No matter which type you choose, you will be able to get your message across more effectively with a visual representation that everyone can understand.

    What Are the Benefits of Using a Storyboard to Communicate Your Ideas Visually?

    1. Enhances understanding: Visual aids like storyboards make it possible to simplify and clarify otherwise incomprehensible concepts. It can also show how different parts of a project fit together or lead the audience through a story.
    2. Saves time: Making a storyboard before filming your video or making your infographic will enable you to save both time and energy during the production process. Without devoting too much time to the project, you can quickly sketch out what needs to be done and identify where changes are required.
    3. Creates consistency: They ensure that everyone involved in the project is on the same page about what needs to be done and how it should look when completed. This will result in a better end and save time in the long run.
    4. Helps with budgeting: An accurate budget that takes into account all of the costs involved in producing your project can be drafted with the help of a detailed plan of action. This can be useful for preventing wasteful spending or going over budget on certain aspects of the project.
    5. Universal use: A storyboard planner is a great tool for anyone to use when communicating ideas, whether it’s a corporate training video or a movie, education in schools, business, and more. With the right design, you can create visuals that clearly convey your message and help people understand it better.
    6. Easy to share: A storyboard is a visual representation of an idea that can be easily communicated to others once it has been created. It can be printed out or sent via email so that all team members can review it and provide input on how to improve it. As a result, everyone is more likely to be on the same page, and the process will be more fruitful overall.
    7. Improves efficiency: They aid in concentration and productivity by providing a framework for your ideas. This will greatly improve the efficiency and timeliness of making a video or other visual project.

    Using storyboards, you can communicate your ideas visually, ensuring that everyone involved in the project has the same expectations and is working toward the same goals. By taking some time to plan ahead, you can save yourself time, money, and effort in the long run while achieving an excellent final product.

    Tips for Creating an Effective Storyboard

    Creating these designs can seem like a daunting task, but with just a few tips, you can make it easier and more effective. Here are some things to keep in mind when creating your storyboard:

    1. Have a clear goal: Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your storyboard and how it will fit into the overall project. This will ensure that all parties are on the same page about the contents of each box and the final product.
    2. Keep it organized: If you're going to use a storyboard, you should label each box with a descriptive name and include only the information that's relevant. This organizer will serve as a useful resource for keeping track of information and facilitating quick retrieval when needed.
    3. Use sketches or images: Using sketches or images can be a great way to get an idea of how something should look without having to explain it in words.
    4. Make revisions as needed: It’s important to remember that storyboards are not set in stone, so don’t be afraid to make changes or edits as needed. The quality of the final visuals for your project will be greatly enhanced by doing so.
    5. Create a timeline: Making a timeline can allow you to manage your tasks and complete them in a timely manner.

    By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create an effective storyboard that will get your project off to the right start. With the right graphic organizer, you can easily convey your message and engage viewers with visuals that are both attractive and effective.

    By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to get your project off to the right start. With the right storyboard graphic organizer, you can easily convey your message and engage viewers with visuals that are both attractive and effective.

    Best Storyboarding Software

    One of the options to choose when looking for the best storyboarding software on the market is Storyboard That. It has a number of useful features and tools for you to create designs quickly and efficiently. We offer several plans for different budgets and needs, so you can get everything you need without paying for features that you don’t. If you are looking to create the perfect storyboard, Storyboard That has got you covered!

    The Bottom Line

    Storyboards can be useful even in the most unexpected cases. By taking some time to plan ahead, you can save yourself time, money, and effort in the long run while achieving an excellent final product. While storyboarding has its advantages, it’s important to remember that not every situation calls for this type of visual communication. Before you decide if a storyboard is the best way to go, you should think about your needs and goals.

    Now Get Started!

    Here at Storyboard That, we have expanded on the traditional storyboard and have made multiple layouts and we encourage you to use one in any way that you can think of! Visual communication and storytelling will make you think about the most important things and get you to collaborate in a whole new way. Detailed designs will assist you in creating a plan of attack and turn your ideas into visuals that everyone can understand. Get started today and see just how powerful the storyboarding process is.

    How Storyboarding Can Be Used As A Collaborative Tool For Group Projects And Presentations In Any Subject Area


    Phase 1: Define the Project Goals and Objectives

    • Identify the learning objectives and goals for the project or presentation
    • Determine the scope of the project and the content that needs to be covered
    • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of each member of the group

    Phase 2: Brainstorm and Research

    • Brainstorm ideas and concepts that align with the project goals
    • Conduct research to gather information and evidence to support the project
    • Organize the ideas and research into themes and categories

    Phase 3: Plan and Create the Storyboard

    • Decide on the structure and format of the storyboard
    • Create an outline of the content that needs to be included in the storyboard
    • Identify the visual elements that will be used to enhance the storyboard
    • Collaboratively create the storyboard, assigning specific sections to each group member
    • Review and edit the storyboard to ensure coherence and clarity

    Phase 4: Review and Feedback

    • Share the storyboard with the group and solicit feedback
    • Incorporate feedback into the storyboard to improve its quality
    • Finalize the storyboard and prepare for the presentation

    Phase 5: Presentation

    • Use the storyboard as a guide to create the presentation
    • Rehearse the presentation to ensure smooth delivery
    • Present the project to the class or group, using the storyboard as a visual aid
    • Collect feedback from the audience and reflect on the effectiveness of the storyboard and presentation

    Frequently Asked Questions about Storyboards

    What kinds of storyboards can I make?

    You can create a storyboard of any kind with Storyboard That! Choose from a variety of layouts including traditional, chart, spider map, timeline, T-chart, and so much more! The storyboard examples that we provide for all of our activities are sure to wow and inspire you and your students to create magic of your own.

    What's another word for storyboarding?

    Another term for storyboarding is "visual planning" or "visual outlining." It involves creating a visual representation or sequence of images to plan and organize a narrative or project.

    What is the meaning of storyboarding in simple terms?

    Storyboarding is a process of creating a series of visual frames or panels that outline the key elements of a story, project, or presentation. It is a way to visually plan and organize information, making it easier to understand and communicate.

    What is a storyboard and its purpose?

    A storyboard is a graphic organizer that consists of sequential panels or frames used to plan and visualize a narrative, project, or presentation. Its purpose is to break down complex ideas into manageable parts, maintain consistency, and communicate concepts effectively. Storyboards are versatile tools used in various fields such as entertainment, business, and education.

    What is a storyboard in theater?

    In theater, a storyboard is a visual tool used to plan and organize the staging, scenes, and sequences of a theatrical production. It helps directors and designers to visualize how the play or performance will unfold on the stage, including the placement of actors, props, and set changes.

    What are the 5 parts of a storyboard?

    Making a typical storyboard consists of the following five parts or phases:

    1. Define the Project Goals and Objectives: Identify the project's learning objectives, scope, and roles.
    2. Brainstorm and Research: Generate ideas, gather information, and organize content.
    3. Plan and Create the Storyboard: Decide on the structure, format, and visual elements, then collaboratively create the storyboard.
    4. Review and Feedback: Share the storyboard for input, incorporate feedback, and finalize it.
    5. Presentation: Use the storyboard as a guide to create and rehearse the project presentation.

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