“What does visual storytelling mean to you?” was a question in a poll from Duarte Design. I thought it was an excellent, very tough question.
Stories mean words.
Visual means no words.
I really believe the heart of storytelling is a human voice speaking words.
As much as I love movies and comics, the story is the part of the film you can describe to your friends: "This happened, then that guy did this, and it was so cool!" The visuals are all in the service of the story, but they themselves are not the story.
But words can be visually evocative; the late, great CBC radio host Peter Gzowski argued that radio can be very visual, for instance.
And great storytellers are usually very animated when they talk, gesturing and making expressions and acting out their stories.
"Visual storytelling" suggests a yin-yang dynamic. There's always a tension between the two, and yet each contains some of the other.