Story, noun

  1. A story is an account of imaginary or real people and events (...); a narrative.

cf. Storyteller, noun

  1. A storyteller is a person who tells stories; a narrator.

At Design Academy Eindhoven storytelling is used as a design and design research tool. It offers de-signers and design researchers the possibility to engage an audience in a way that is different than the showing of an object or offering of a service, enabling an audience to understand a message or way of thinking. Stories (narratives) can be used to provide insight, to entertain, to educate, to question, to commemorate, to explore new, yet to be discovered ways of being in the world, as well as to rediscover lost traditions and recall forgotten memories.

Narrative structures and storytelling can be used to investigate and express the designer’s own experiences and views, but these techniques also provide opportunities to convey other people’s lives, views, experiences, problems and solutions. Telling other people’s stories requires a willingness to listen carefully with a certain degree of empathy. Stories can manifest themselves in different guises, such as films, texts, performances and products. They can be exciting and revealing as well as consoling and confronting.

DAE examples

  • Heather Daam, Moving Stories, Research Associate in CRISP (Creative Industry Scientific Programme), project Grey But Mobile, 2014
  • Tuomas Tolvanen, Engineering Temporality, Master Contextual Design, 2012
  • Eefje Sandmann, Off Dutch Soil, Graduation project Man and Leisure, 2010


  • Bal, M. (1997). Narratology: Introduction to the theory of narrative (2nd edition). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Bertolotti, E., Daam, H., Piredda, F., & Tassinari, V. (Eds.) (2016). The pearl diver: The designer as storyteller. Milan: DESIS.
  • Cadamuro, A. (Ed.). (2013). What remains? Eindhoven: The Readership in Strategic Creativity at Design Academy Eindhoven.
  • Daam, H. (Ed.). (2014). Moving stories. Eindhoven: The Readership in Strategic Creativity at Design Academy Eindhoven.
  • Hamers, D. (2016). Notes on storytelling as design. In E. Bertolotti, H. Daam, F. Piredda & V. Tassinari (Eds.). The pearl diver: The designer as storyteller (pp. 78-81). Milan: DESIS.
  • Rorty, R. (1989). Contingency, irony, and solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Somers, M. (1994). The narrative constitution of identity: A relational and network approach. Theory and Society, 23, (pp. 605–649).