The Ultimate Checklist for Creating a Storyboard for an Explainer Video

June 19, 2023

Want to let your audience know what your product/service is about? Use explainer videos! Explainer videos are becoming increasingly popular.

But only some know how to create a successful explainer video. It is crucial to create a storyboard before starting any video production process. 

A storyboard is a graphical representation of the sequence of events in a story. 

It helps you understand what your explainer video will look like and how it will communicate your message effectively to your audience.

What Exactly Is a Storyboard?

A storyboard is a series of drawn or illustrated panels that help you visualize your video. What do you do when making a plan?

You write it down, explaining the step-by-step process. 

Similarly, a storyboard shows how each shot and scene will look, the placement of objects and people in each photo, camera angles and movements, and the sequencing of images throughout your video. 

It is used as a blueprint for the entire video production process. 

Why Do You Need a Storyboard for Explainer Video Production?

Assists in the Visual Arrangement of Your Concepts

A storyboard helps you arrange all your ideas visually and present them in the best way possible. 

Since the storyboard is a visual representation of your video, you can quickly identify which concepts are redundant, which ones need to be emphasized, and which ones you can do without. 

As mentioned before storyboard is a blueprint for your video. 

Harmonizes the Ideas Within Your Team

A storyboard helps your team collaborate better. Everyone knows what is needed from the video, from the cameraperson to the writers. 

It brings everyone on the same page, and everyone can visualize the end product similarly. 

It also prevents miscommunication and ensures all team members work towards the same goal.

Simplifies the Video Production Process

A storyboard simplifies video production by breaking the video into individual scenes. You can know what is going to happen in each scene and describe it in detail. 

It lets you plan for camera angles, movements, and transitions between the scenes. 

You can also figure out the best ways to edit your video, which makes the entire process much smoother.

Enhances the Impact of Your Video

A storyboard helps you find the best way to visualize your message. You can know exactly how your video will feel. 

Your video will be more impactful, as the visuals will support and enhance your message. 

You can plan how to use visuals and sounds to create a cohesive message that resonates with your audience.

Acts as a Graphic Reminder for Thoughts

The storyboard serves as a visual reminder of your thoughts. You can use the storyboard to remember your ideas, and you can also use it to communicate them to others. 

You can add little directions like - where the camera should focus, what would be the camera angle, the actor's expression, etc. 

This is especially helpful if your team is spread out across different locations, as everyone can refer to the storyboard to stay on the same page.

3 Explainer Video Storyboard Types

Hand-drawing storyboards (Traditional)

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Before technology advanced, traditional hand-drawing storyboard techniques were the go-to for animators and film producers. 

The early Tom & Jerry production did use traditional storyboards for its animated video. 

This method requires artists to manually draw each animation frame, which is then placed together to make the storyline coherent. 

Nearly every panel is hand-drawn, including the nuances of character movements and expressions.

While everyone may not be artistic, the traditional storyboard format is a great way to start the creative process. You can draw stick figures and explain each scene. 

A traditional storyboard doesn't have to be aesthetically pleasing. The ability to recall concepts from your mind to paper can be challenging but can lead to a great result. 

For this reason, you can share traditional storyboards among team members and brainstormed to see what works and what doesn't.

Digital storyboards

With technological advances, digital storyboards have become a common strategy to plan for explainer videos. 

A digital storyboard is created by using digital software. The convenience of creating multiple versions of any changes to the storyboard can save time and resources. 

This is helpful for businesses and video production companies looking to scale their projects using the same changes across multiple videos.

There are two main types of digital storyboards:


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Traditional hand-drawn sketches can be manually scanned and brought to the digital world, or they can use software that auto-traces artwork. 

A digital animatic is an added layer to a traditional storyboard in which crude animations are added to convey movement while still not finalizing them. 

This means a traditional storyboard template is scanned, and basic animations are added to the video storyboard to help jump between scenes.

Animatics are usually added to understand better how timing, flow, and coverage action occur.


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Digital storyboards can also involve taking the initial sketches and animating them fully to represent the final product better. 

Essentially, this is the same process as an animatic but with a higher level of animation in the sketches. 

It is a digitally drawn stop-motion video, combining various scenes to create an animated feel. 

Digimatics are more expensive to produce than a traditional storyboard, but they're great for providing a more in-depth visualization of the completed process.


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Thumbnail Storyboards, also called miniboard, have transformed how people develop their video projects for social media and online platforms. 

Thumbnail storyboards have a marked difference from the other storyboard methods mentioned above in that it's a 'storyboard sketch' condensed onto one sheet of paper. 

In contrast to the traditional method, with thumbnail storyboards, small and quick sketches are made in frames to suggest a story. 

The frames are small as a thumbnail, hence the name thumbnail storyboards. 

These storyboards are inexpensive and quick to create, making them an excellent option for video projects with short turnaround times for your video project. 

While they're less detailed than traditional storyboards or extensive as digital options, they provide enough direction to initiate the project.

Crafting a Compelling Storyboard for Explainer Videos: A Step-by-Step Guide

A storyboard is indispensable in producing an explainer video, providing a clear roadmap for the entire production process. 

To create an explainer video storyboard, you should take a few steps to ensure that it resonates with your brand objective and delivers your message to your target audience.

Step 1: Begin with a Script or Voice-Over

A script or voice-over is your storyboard's foundation and the starting point for your visual elements.

You can write the script scene-wise, adding the dialogues, describing the setting, and keep adding details. 

But the first step to creating the marketing video storyboard is writing the script! Start with a strong message encompassing your brand and your objective for the story. 

Emphasize the key points you want to convey to the audience. Once the script is completed, it's essential to have a voice-over recorded in case you need time-synced animation. 

Or, if you are shooting the video, you can also get to that later. 

Step 2: Ensure Your Storyboard Resonates with Your Brand and Objective

Make sure that your video script and storyboard resonate with your brand. You can do that by following these tips - 

  • Ponder Over Your Message: It is important to clearly understand the message you want to convey and jot it down.
  • Think About Your Target Audience: Consider your target audience and the message that would effectively resonate with them. This will help with decisions like your tone and the visual storyboarding style.
  • Decide on the Explainer Video Style You Need: Choose an animation style, live-action, or motion graphics video, depending on your industry type.
  • Set the Duration for Your Explainer Video: Shorter videos work better and more effectively explain concepts.
  • Understand the Costs of Producing Your Video: Before beginning production, it's important to consider the cost associated with the storyboard and production team. Trim down additional elements that may not be necessary and can cut down on the charges.

Step 3: Illustrate Your Storyboard

Once you have your messaging and brand objective aligned, begin the process of illustrating the storyboard. 

Create the visual component of the video that will accompany the script.

This may involve hiring an artist or using your in-house design team to draw sketches or create digital assets.

  • Design Your Characters: Create animated or illustrated characters that match the tone and reflect your brand identity.
  • Identify Needed Elements and Graphics: Determine the graphics and images required to bring the storyboard to life, from color schemes to fonts.
  • Depict the Setting: Choose the background and scenery which reflects the message you are trying to convey.
  • Draw Out Your Story: Incorporate visual storytelling of your animated or illustrated characters and how they interject with the storyline.
  • Include All Necessary On-Screen Text: Incorporate any required text messages within the story to support your voice-over and graphics.
  • Compile a Shot List: Optimize the time and resources by creating a shot list. A shot list details the shots and camera angles required to bring the storyboard to life.

Step 4: Incorporate the Script and Additional Notes

After creating your illustrated storyboard, add your script and notes for your explainer video. 

Include details like expressions, camera angles, and additional scripts or anecdotes to guide the animator. 

Step 5: Segment It Into Slides

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Divide your storyboard into equal segments; each slide usually contains a new scene or shot. 

That's the best way to go about it. Segmenting your story into slides you can quickly animate is crucial. 

Usually, it helps in the production of the video. Ensure all your segments have a transition element so your video looks smooth. 

Step 6: Incorporate Text Explanations or Animator Notes

Incorporate annotations or animator notes to clarify any complex visual components, assist the animator in preparing the characters, and understand the scenes' requirements. 

You can add directions for the writers who would be writing the script for the voice-over. 

Moreover, you can also add how you want the characters to look and behave in a specific scene. 

The animator can create characters according to your requirements. It is better to add annotation as it facilitates seamless communication between you and the team. 

Step 7: Pay Attention to Technical Aspects

Technical aspects such as video resolution, frame rate, and file formats should be considered while preparing assets for animation. 

Ensure that all the video assets created are optimized for the animation to produce good-quality videos. 

You can specify the details in the storyboard or communicate your requirements to the production team. This aspect is vital as it decides the quality of your end product. 

Step 8: Display and Adjust

Once the storyboard has been completed, display it to the production team and the stakeholders and keep it open to feedback. 

You need to visualize the video through your storyboard, so if you are not satisfied with the storyboard, you can always adjust it before making the final video. 

Make sure to take feedback from the animators or videographers because they would know what looks and feels better. 

Be receptive to changes and edits until everyone is satisfied with the storyboard.

Step 9: Maintain Flexibility and Welcome Alterations

An explainer video is a collaborative work involving numerous aspects and feedback from different people. 

It's important to be flexible and open to alterations that may enhance the storyboard; feedback from the production team and stakeholders can help to improve the storyboard and produce a compelling video. 

FAQs: Creating a Storyboard for an Explainer Video

What is the best reason for creating a storyboard for an explainer video?

The best reason to create a storyboard for an explainer video is that it is a planning process and a blueprint for your explainer video. 

How do I make a storyboard for a video template?

Using pen and paper, you can make a storyboard for a video template in a traditional method. But if you want to take it a step further, you can use storyboarding tools online like Boords and Studiobinder to create storyboards. 

Conclusion: Creating a Storyboard for an Explainer Video

Crafting a compelling storyboard for your explainer video may seem daunting, but following these steps can produce an engaging and informative video that resonates with your brand. 

It is crucial always to keep flexibility and the audience's perspective in mind while designing your storyboard. 

Remember, high-quality videos take time and effort, but the proper storyboard is the first step toward success.

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