• 09.27.13

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling–Visualized

See the rules that make up the Pixar playbook, as image macros.

Note: This article is included in our year-end storytelling advice round-up.


A while back, now-former Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of pearls of narrative wisdom she had gleaned from working at the studio. This list of 22 rules of storytelling was widely embraced as it was applicable to any writer or anyone who was in the business of communicating (which is pretty much everyone, including software developers). And much of its advice (e.g. “You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different”) is still as applicable as ever. Thanks to the efforts of one fan, though, the rules may now become even more eminently shareable.

Last week, Dino Ignacio, a UX Director at a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, created a series of image macros of the 22 rules, posting them to Imgur. Now, those rules that helped make Pixar synonymous with quality storytelling (we’re pretending Cars 2 never happened) are broken into meme-like chunks, free to spread around the Internet. Each of the rules is illustrated with a corresponding scene from a Pixar movie, making for what look like motivational posters for making timeless entertainment.

Have a look through more of them in the slides above.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.