Systematic Storytelling –
An information design method

by Gerlinde Schuller

Systematic Storytelling is an information design method that combines systems design and storytelling in order to meet a variety of user needs.
It is predestined for communicating complex stories such as those conveyed by journalists and scientists.

The focus lies on the content-related, narrative relationships between different parts in the system rather than on the individual parts. Systematic Storytelling can be customised for a specific content.

In my research projects, I have often questioned common, linear narrative formats. These are insufficiently suitable for conveying multi-layered topics and complex contexts. For this reason, I started to mix information design methods (e.g. universal principles, classification systems, standards) with storytelling forms and techniques. The user is offered a range of different overviews and individual access to a complex story. For this design of ‘narrative systems’, I have coined the term Systematic Storytelling.

I have already experimented with this method in my projects Designing universal knowledge and Amsterdam in documents. My research project The Infinite Narrative serves to further develop and lay down this information design method.

Currently, I am developing a storyline based on Systematic Storytelling for a complex online platform of Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam (NL).

If you are interested in a presentation or workshop about Systematic Storytelling, contact me at: studio(at)

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