james kinney
Professor, Centre for Art, Design and Informatics

Creating a "Storied Portfolio" Using Adobe Spark Page

Project Published 5/25/17 Last updated on 3/2/20


This project is part of a Digital Storytelling course. The rationale for the project is anchored in the fact that simply posting and curating a website with static images and text in a world where almost TWO BILLION images per day surge onto the web will result in those images having an underwhelming relevance and impact. The rise of mobile social platforms has been a game-changer in how we value online experience. Social requires presence, presence requires identity, identity requires a story, story needs to be supported by evidence, credentials and artefacts (text, images and videos). Social also demands participation or engagement and engagement requires sharing. One may choose to share enthusiasm and encouragement (Likes), Comments, Opinions, Feedback or Critiques, Know-how, Tips, Referrals, Jobs and even Money! The degree and quality of our participation forms the basis of our Social Capital and that social capital converts to influence and influence opens the door to monetization of one's activities. Increasing one's social capital is the ultimate focus of this project. It should be understood that there is an imperative in the mobile social world to constantly curate and share one's self and that being a wallflower will relegate one to being the digital equivalent of one of Plato's cave dwellers!

What is a "Storied Portfolio"?

A storied portfolio wraps one's visual narrative (the collection of visual artefacts that instantiate one's body of work and processes) in a text that instantiates the creator's academic or professional trajectory, their philosophy or worldview vis-a-vis their creative or intellectual quarry as well as unique, personal perspectives that serve to provide an authentic and intimate basis on which to know and engage with the creator—it is a way of "getting to know" the person before the prospect of actually getting to know them—which is entirely possible and has happened on social creative platforms such as Behance. This braiding of one's story with one's works may be likened to being toured around a design studio or an art gallery with the designer or artist, respectively.

Mobile social's inducement to participation requires that we be able to share powerful and meaningful stories that will excite, entertain, inform and encourage the members of our various communities. These stories can be told exclusively through image, video, audio, text or a combination of any and all of these media. Being able to bind these various media elements together happens best when they are tied to a central story—it helps us to better understand them and to attribute to them particular significance. Stories help us to make sense of the complex and chaotic and seeing you and your work tied to an interesting and compelling story helps it to stand out from the infinite and chaotic morass of media artefacts that clog the arteries of the web.

Story, then, provides added value. It is in this context that it is incumbent upon us to develop our stories and connect our work to those stories. THIS, in the general sense, is what a storied portfolio is. The collection of stories, story fragments and artefacts that trail behind us are what constitute our narrative. Narrative is really the sum total of our activities—the overall, general impression. This is crucial to areas in art and design such as Advertising, Marketing, Brand Design, Brand Strategy and Brand Management. As you transition into your professional life you and your work will develop as a brand—one that will have not only a "look" but a host of stories associated with it—some which you will author and others written by the people and companies who have come into contact with you and your company's products or services. These will form the basis of your brand narrative. These activities in the digital realm are what constitute what has been referred to as one's digital footprint and the learning surrounding the activity is geared towards creating active and engaged digital citizens.

So, a storied portfolio is a way of creating and controlling the elements that will represent you and will metaphorically and quite literally write the narrative of your brand. These elements will range from tweets and other social media posts on platforms like Facebook or Instagram to sharing creative and production know-how on communities like Behance or in more formalized and directed forms like Storied Portfolios on platforms like Spark Page.

NOTE: While I work with art and design students, a storied portfolio is not the sole preserve of those disciplines. This sort of activity would make for excellent reflexive, meta-cognitive activity for students of any persuasion. More and more, being able to validate skills and knowledge using online tools is becoming the rigour and, so, I would encourage educators from other disciplines to try this out with their students.

How is it created?

It is important to provide students with some narrative scaffolding to help them structure the textual and visual elements that will constitute their portfolios. This can be in the form of question prompts or information categories, examples of which I will share later. The project is assembled using the Adobe Spark Page platform and shared with the community either through Behance or Twitter.

Project Guidelines

Follow this LINK to project explanation and story scaffolding Spark Page to the Storied Portfolio: Examples and Scaffolding Spark Page.


A rubric is provided in .xls format for you to download.

  • Adobe Spark

    Adobe Spark is an easy-to-use tool that helps you turn your ideas into compelling social graphics, web stories, and animated videos

  • Behance

    Showcase and discover creative work.

1+ Month
ISTE Standards
Students: Creative Communicator, Students: Digital Citizen, Students: Innovative Designer


Computer or Tablet

Stylus (optional) for use in using tablet based drawing applications.


Adobe Draw (optional) for illustrating custom visuals to support the narrative.

Adobe Sketch (optional) for illustrating custom visuals to support the narrative.

Adobe Creative Cloud (optional) for content creation and modification in support of the narrative.


Internet access

Adobe Spark (Page)

Adobe Creative Cloud (optional) for collaborating and file sharing.


Adobe ID


Visual Assets: any artefacts like photographs, sketches, digital images of flow-charts, mind-maps, digital images and illustrations that may have been created by you or a team in which you were a collaborator.

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
4 / 5 • 3 Ratings

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Comments (4)

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Laura Salazar

Posted on 3/18/20 7:22:04 PM Permalink

​super!!! thank you, your article is very insightful!

james kinney

Posted on 4/1/20 2:36:50 PM Permalink

thank you for your encouragement. I hope that the resource will be valuable to you.​

Eric Chow

Posted on 5/2/19 3:41:06 AM Permalink

Fabulous resource that you created! Very impressed with your student portfolios too.​

james kinney

Posted on 4/1/20 2:37:35 PM Permalink

Thanks so much for your words of encouragement Eric and apologies for being soooo late in my response. My students always make me look better than I really am ;-)​