Making the Case for Digital Storyboards

Written by: Darren Glinister

Important for development of ideas, inspiration and concepts, storyboards traditionally have been stuck in the physical realm. They are mounted in design offices where a limited number of stakeholders can see and add to them with pushpins, pictures, swatches and notes. Also referred to in apparel, footwear and fashion companies as concept boards, mood boards or trend boards, a storyboard is a great way to start turning ideas into something tangible. But if storyboards are only used in the old-fashioned way, they do have their limitations.

Challenges with Physical Storyboards

If you are on a design or product development team, or if you are a sourcing professional or global apparel vendor, the following challenges of physical storyboards probably are all too familiar.

  • Vital information easily lost or undocumented
  • Error-prone manual data entry when storyboard details are transferred to systems
  • Difficulty retrieving or reusing information
  • Misinterpretation of hand-scribbled notes
  • Limited ability to share beyond headquarters

These are a few problems with traditional storyboards identified by WhichPLM, the online magazine and provider of fashion advisory services. The firm recently came out with a new Digital Storyboards Buyer’s Guide.

In 2018, use of digital storyboards is poised to take off, as more retailers and brands embrace new ways to streamline and speed traditional design, development and concept management processes. According to a recent survey by WhichPLM, storyboards are the number 1 priority for further development among PLM users.

Advantages of Digital Storyboards

Retail creative teams need new concept management tools that match the new way they want to work. That means being able to collaborate freely with internal and external teams. Digital storyboards can help teams communicate and share ideas as if they were in the same room. Some capabilities and qualities to look for in digital storyboarding solutions on the market today are:

• Easy printing
• Reusable templates from finished boards
• Ability to insert all sorts of assets, including vector artwork, raster images, videos
• Assets, once inserted, reside in a single library, ideally shared by the user’s PLM platform
• Mobile, cloud accessibility
• Compatibility with different screen sizes and web browsers
• Cost-effective, affordable subscription pricing

Advanced Technical Capabilities

A little further on the leading edge of technology, but also on the market now, are these digital storyboarding capabilities to look for:

• In-solution image editing for common tasks
• Ability to create and issue reference books and receive amended versions from suppliers
• Ability to import business intelligence elements to aid in decision-making


PTC Retail Digital Concept Management

Making the Case for Digital Storyboards

Retailers need better ways to take ideas and turn them into products. Digital Storyboard Buyer’s Guide looks at digitizing design and product development
Tags: Augmented Reality Retail and Consumer Products Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

About the Author

Darren Glinister

Darren Glenister has over 20 years’ commercial experience, having worked as technology strategist and innovator in the fields of Fashion and Design. Darren is VP of Innovation for PTC’s Retail division and is responsible for PTC’s retail IoT strategy.