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For Storytellers

We spend most of our time at the studio thinking about stories, and if or how we might tell them from a computer.

One thing seems clear: humans invented words on a page to record these stories, but you cannot share them well with just words on a page.
This is storytelling — and telling means you have to engage more senses than just vision to a screen. We’re currently working with these strategies:

A sense of sound

Audio + imagination

As anyone who loves or listens to podcasts knows firsthand, the sense of sound evokes a deeper emotion, and surprisingly more realism, than consuming it with video.

The difference of course is imagination. For most people, that enables more possibilities than 12 or 24 megapixels. Our studio is constantly experimenting with how to add sensory vignettes to our digital work.

Sometimes, the best thing we can do on screen is ask the reader to close their eyes:

See an example»

Audio & video editing Audio & video editing

We can edit or remix your existing video assets to tell stories that your readers will stop to hear.

A sense of exploration

Let maps do the telling

There remains something irresistible about maps… they are teeming with information from top to bottom (North to South), but it all emerges at the reader’s own pace. This means the stories come into focus bit by bit, and there are unspoken connections to be made. A key part of understanding how events unfolded is to observe how close (or far apart) the actors were and how they moved.

We think about this, how it is a moment of self-controlled discovery, that it feels both satisfying and even delightful.  So we continue to experiment with telling histories on interactive maps and timelines.

We want our maps to be engaging, non-threatening, mind-opening:

See an example»

Digital cartography Digital cartography

One of our core strengths is designing full-screen interactive maps. They can be static display maps, too. You might integrate a map on your website, in your touchscreen exhibit, or as a b-roll asset in a film.

DIY Quickstart

Or perhaps you want to get started on your own, but not bang your head against Javascript? We’ve bundled the entire setup to Mapbox, the best solution out there, to get you mapping in the first hour. You can always upgrade later to more customized cartography from the studio.

Learn how to Get Started, for one low fee

Maps are for storytellers

But a map is not neutral.
A map takes a position.
A map is a [thousand] decision[s].
A map reflects a worldview.

And all too often, every one of those biases goes unspoken and ill-considered.

So let’s consider and speak them.

auut studio is especially adept in making striking and deeply rich digital cartography. Everything else looks boilerplate and more like you’re giving road directions. To achieve thought-provoking maps, we combine three things in our recipe: an intersectional practice of storytelling, an unwavering willingness to examine who is being left out, plus a handful of open-source tools (QGIS, Leaflet, Mapbox, and others).
Every element in our maps is chosen to support the story. Our cartography is multi-narrational: it recognizes that there are multiple relationships of people present on the same area of land. We do not let a map speak only for the most powerful person in the room. And we strive to produce a visual image that genuinely compels a reader’s curiosity … to reconsider what they thought they knew.
screen image of a map of South Carolina
Mapping the VEP
A photograph of Mr. Work superimposed upon a map of the United States
Monroe & Florence Work Today
map of Bosnia-Hercegovina with various parts of territory colored in pink, light purple, or magenta, indicating military control in 1995
Bosnia-Hercegovina Warzone
brightly colored map of various regions of the USA
United Regions of America Map by Dr. Jeremy Posadas

Perhaps you can let your audience see the situation unfold, or discover the patterns for themselves?