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Visual Story Lab
A project of resourcemedia

Using visuals to communicate size and scale

September 8, 2014
Just how big is the Great Barrier Reef? A quick Google search will tell you that it is approximately 2300 kilometers long and covers 344,400 square kilometers. That’s pretty big. But, just how big? It is difficult for people to wrap their head around large and obscure numbers. Grounding numbers…

5 best practices for photo captions that sing

August 25, 2014
Think about your blog posts. They probably include a photo or two. Hopefully authentic ones from your work. Perhaps taken by staff or volunteers, or crowdsourced from supporters.  If we’re describing your website, congratulations! You are already taking huge steps to draw supporters’ eyes and touch their hearts with smart…

Interview: Amy Marquis, The Digital Naturalist

August 4, 2014
If anyone knows about effective film and photography advocacy, it is Amy Marquis. In an effort to help others understand the world of digital advocacy, she created The Digital Naturalist in 2010, a website that examines the elements of what makes advocacy videos go viral or be a complete flop.…

Close your eyes: visualizing energy efficiency

July 22, 2014
I have an exercise for you. In a second, I want you to close your eyes and tell me the first image that comes to mind when you think about energy efficiency. OK, go ahead. What popped into your head? Was it, by chance, a CFL light bulb? Maybe someone…

What brain science tells us about website design

July 16, 2014
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span is now just 8 seconds. That doesn’t give us a lot of time to engage website visitors before they lose interest and click elsewhere. Fortunately, the science that is tracking our shrinking attention spans also offers some insights…

Water wins

July 15, 2014
Here’s the scenario: Washington State, like many states, uses something called fish-consumption rates to set water quality standards. The idea is to start with the average amount of fish people eat, and then figure out how clean the water needs to be in order for someone to eat that amount…

Photo essays that captivate, part 2

July 10, 2014
This part two in a two-part series on photo essays. Yesterday, I wrote about powerful essays that use just one or two images. Today, I’m going to talk about longer-form photo essays. You probably are familiar with these from online news sites which use slideshows of five to ten images…

Photo essays that captivate

Old man
July 9, 2014
Instant. Emotional. Captivating. Yes, we’re talking about stories. Visual stories to be precise. Traditionally, stories are (hopefully, gripping) text with images to support the storyline. But, what if the story format was flipped to be largely made of images with text included to support the visual story, not vice versa?…

Be your own meme machine

June 24, 2014
Ever wish you could have a photo editor in house? Someone who could whip up a meme, tweak a photo or put together a fancy graphic for your Facebook page? Or, just help turn a photo from “nice” to “fabulous!” That someone could easily be you! We’re sharing our favorite…

What makes images and videos go viral?

June 2, 2014
What causes certain images and videos to go viral while the majority wallow in cyberspace never to be discovered by more than a handful of viewers? You may remember how Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign received over 30 million view in a mere 10 days, or how Kony 2012 received…

We invite you to share your own challenges, successes, best practices and lessons learned. If you would like us to showcase your visual story, please email Don’t forget to send us pictures or links to your video!