Integrated Storytelling: The Design of Memories
Updated: Aug 26
This is the first of a series of blogposts by Klaus Sommer Paulsen, author of “Integrated Storytelling by Design - Concepts, Principles and Methods for New Narrative Dimensions”. He is associated with BoldMove Nation as Integrated Storytelling Director, currently working with Houba City & World.
The articles introduce key Integrated Storytelling concepts as presented in the book and reflect on how they relate to the creative strategy, concept and design of Marsupilami-themed experiences.
We are the creators of memories.
Our role goes beyond designing the moments, experiences, images, sound, words and so on and so forth. We aim to create a convergence of disciplines, arts and elements to build something that stays with the audience. Great memories become part of people and become part of their own, individual narrative. They are worth revisiting literally and through sharing with others.
How do we encode memories with our audiences that will stay with them for months, years, perhaps even a lifetime? For the strategic experience designer, that means going from expression to impression. We do it by understanding who they are and using aesthetics and emotional design that includes both body and mind and can be remembered by either one. The memories are designed to be within a range of memory types.
Examples of memory types used in the design and development of Houba World includes Cognitive Memories and Physical Memories. Defined in the Integrated Storytelling by Design book as follows:
Cognitive Memories: These are also considered to be learnings; things that the audience gains an understanding of, an understanding that may outlast the experience itself. Transformative experiences rely heavily on the cognitive triggering of realisation as a discovery of facts – the ‘aha moment!’ – as understanding strikes. Once understanding is reached, motivation for action may follow, and a step towards learning more has been taken.
Physical Memories: These are remembered, and often recalled, on a physical level. They can include the feeling of getting burnt by a flame, being able to ride a bike or drive a car. For Integrated Storytelling purposes, physical memories are often combined with other elements, as they can strengthen the power of emotion and remembrance. Imagine standing in the forest, smelling the trees and the flowers. Standing at the seaside, feeling the brush of wind and water. Or, standing in a deep cave, feeling the fires from the lava below. Each are imprinted on a physical level through our senses.
“The design of memories”, Integrated Storytelling by Design
Klaus Sommer Paulsen, 2021 Routledge
The story universe - the storyverse - of the Marsupilami and Houba City is the perfect platform for creating memories that stay with the families and the children of different ages that engage with it. The memories are coded through physical action and cognitive discoveries, as there is room for using every sense and common sense. Those who visit may be fishing piranhas in the jungle river, dancing with the natives, collecting fruit in an immersive game-like experience or getting to know more about the background behind Franquin’s beloved characters. What was originally a comic book that came alive on the screen in films and games now comes alive with the audience entering the physical world of Houba City. A space with fun and engagement shared with the Marsupilami and all their friends from the Palombian jungle across a mix of media-based and fun attractions.
Through the use of all senses and the combination of fun, play and learning, Houba City has the means to create combinations of memory types that will stay with audiences, also considering their differences. After all, the concept and the structure of families is much more diverse than simple parents with children, and their interests and roles may be different.
This is where modular story and experience design shows its true value. It enables us to fit the Houba City concept to different places and people while still maintaining coherency with the DNA of the Marsupilami IP.
However, that is a chapter for the next part of this story about Marsupilami, Houba Worlds and how we work with Integrated Storytelling.
“Integrated Storytelling by Design - Concepts, Principles and Methods for New Narrative Dimensions” is out now on Routledge/Focal Press/Taylor and Francis. For more information about the book, please visit IntegratedStorytelling.com or the publisher’s product page https://www.routledge.com/Integrated-Storytelling-by-Design-Concepts-Principles-and-Methods-for/Paulsen/p/book/9780367856977