Three-Act Story Structure

Three-Act Story Structure

What is it?

The 3-act story structure one of the most widely used and beginner-friendly organizational tools to help build an effective story. It divides a story into three distinct acts: the setup, confrontation, and resolution. This helps you establish a clear beginning that captures attention, a well-supported middle that presents your information effectively, and a strong ending that leaves a lasting impression.

Act 1: Introduction (Setup) In the first act, you'll introduce the main characters, set the stage, and establish the initial situation. This act is essential for providing context to your presentation. Engage the audience by creating intrigue and introducing the central conflict or goal that will drive the narrative forward.

Act 2: Development (Confrontation) The second act is the longest and forms the core of your presentation. It's where you'll dive into the details, presenting rising action, complications, and obstacles that the protagonist (your topic or idea) encounters. This act keeps the audience engaged as the story unfolds, building suspense and intensifying the conflict.

Act 3: Conclusion (Resolution) In the final act, you'll bring the presentation to a satisfying resolution. The climax is reached, where the conflict reaches its peak, followed by the falling action and resolution. This act ties up loose ends, offers closure, and provides a clear outcome for the audience. It's important to leave the audience with a sense of fulfillment and a clear understanding of the main message or call to action.

It's important to note that while the three-act structure is a useful guideline, you don't have to adhere to it rigidly. Your story may need additional acts and subplots, or remix the structure to create unique narratives.

      When to use it

      1. If you want a simple yet effective storytelling approach.
      2. When you have limited time for storytelling. It's a concise framework that allows you to convey a message or idea efficiently without the complexity of the Hero's Journey or the detailed analysis of SCQA.

      Remember to

      1. Ensure that the transitions between acts are seamless and well-marked. These transitions are pivotal for guiding your audience through the narrative.
      2. Keep the central message or key takeaway in focus. Every element of your presentation, from Act 1 to Act 3, should contribute to reinforcing and delivering this message.



      Gather inspiration and references

      Collect inspiration and references that are relevant to the project. This can include existing mood boards, Pinterest boards, existing presentation content, and any other presentations from the client. Also, look for presentations that are similar in nature, format, or purpose to the project you're working on.


      Define design elements

      Define the key design elements that will be incorporated into your boards. For a presentation concept board, these elements typically include a chart and/or diagram, typography and type relationships, color schemes, icons, imagery, and 1-3 sample layouts. Determine the specific choices for each element that align with presentation content.


      Brainstorm and sketch ideas

      Start generating design ideas by brainstorming and sketching rough concepts. Think freely and explore various directions while keeping the brand's identity, values, and target audience in mind. Consider design details such as rounded corners, outline versus solid versus gradient, image style and tone, etc. Don't worry about perfection at this stage; focus on capturing the essence of each idea.


      Select the strongest concepts

      Review and evaluate the sketched ideas based on their alignment with the brand's objectives and visual identity. Select the most promising concepts that have the potential to communicate the desired message effectively.


      Explore and refine concepts on digital boards

      Transfer the selected concepts from your sketches to digital concept boards. Create separate boards or groups of boards for each concept. Organize and structure the digital concept boards in a logical and visually pleasing way, considering the flow, hierarchy, and composition of the elements. Use layout techniques like grids to create consistency and balance.


      Select concepts for client review

      Choose 2-3 concepts that effectively communicate the desired message and align with the brand's objectives and visual identity. Ensure each concept is distinct from one another while staying consistent with existing brand guidelines and the nature of the presentation.


      Present and discuss

      Develop a narrative or description for each concept on the concept boards. Clearly explain the thought process, reasoning, and unique selling points behind each design. Encourage discussions and gather feedback from the client to understand their preferences and expectations.


      Make adjustments and finalize

      Based on the feedback received, iterate on the concept board if necessary, making adjustments and improvements. Once the concept board is approved, it serves as a guide for the subsequent design stages.Make any final refinements or modifications before moving forward with the project.