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Gensler Explores Video Storytelling With FSU Students

Image © Gensler

This past year, I had the distinct pleasure of working with graduate students from Florida State University's Department of Interior Design. The students were exploring ways to use video storytelling to share their thesis research and design outcomes. At Gensler, we are also exploring how to use video storytelling to keep clients and others informed about design trends.

In many respects this is a match made in heaven, because designers are visual people, and videos naturally showcase compelling visual content. Telling stories through video can be very powerful and engaging. Video storytelling can simplify complex research findings, sell a new idea or design concept, or call an audience to action. But creating truly impactful videos requires an intensive process to craft a story that is clear, concise, and memorable.

Annette Jones, Katherine Shaw, and I worked with the FSU students several times over this past academic year on honing our video storytelling abilities. We shared techniques and best practices both externally with the FSU students and internally with Gensler staff. We talked about understanding the target audience, developing a plot, and structuring the story in a compelling manner. We also shared easy tips and tricks on how to use a basic iPhone for capturing both video and sound as part of an interview process. The students worked on their videos with their instructor, Amy Mattingly Huber, in FSU’s brand new Advanced Visual Communications course. Ironically, Amy is a Gensler alum whom I worked with for years in Gensler’s Denver office. She saw the value of a Gensler collaboration and became the “match-maker” between her students and Gensler’s practicing professionals. Everyone learned from each other.

Image © Gensler

During their spring break, the students traveled from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C. to spend a week in Gensler’s D.C. office. They edited and worked on their videos while Amy, Annette, Katherine, and I reviewed their progress, gave suggestions, and answered questions. A number of Gensler staff also stopped by, weighed in and shared insights and critiques. It was exciting to see daily progress and improvements. At the end of the week, each student presented his or her video at an all-office staff wine and cheese event. For the students, it was a chance to learn critical storytelling skills and receive real-time feedback on their work to date. For Gensler, it was an opportunity to learn from members of a generation that has grown up with YouTube and similar social media. Each of us was enriched by the experience.

This summer the grad students each completed their thesis projects including their final videos. We welcome you to take a look at the final videos. Please let us know what you think!

The videos are the individual work of the following FSU students which are now all recent grads: Heather Dodd, Amelia Cubbage, Amanda Cleveland, Allison Keevan, Melanie Murata, Lauren Trujillo, and Kelley Robinson. We want to thank them for sharing their talents with us and we wish them the very best!

Janet Pogue is a Principal in Gensler’s Washington, D.C. office. She co-leads the firm’s Workplace Practice and is a frequent writer and speaker on the critical issues affecting the design of high performing work environments. Contact her at janet_pogue@gensler.com.

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