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The Butterfly Lab Narrative Design Toolkit

by Race Forward

Published | January 2022

Building narratives


The Butterfly Lab Narrative Design Toolkit guides narratives projects step-by-step from identifying goals and audiences to building a narrative strategy in the civic space.

Why read

This toolkit provides a narrative framework and a strategy for implementing narrative projects.


The Toolkit is designed to guide in building a strategy for narrative projects, from thinking about the narrative itself, over designing and implementing the project. Narrative projects can be messaging campaigns, social media campaigns, videos, art installations, street theatre, deep canvassing, direct actions, mass mobilizations, and more.

Meaning-making and transformation are in the focus of narrative work. The aim of changing narratives of social movements is to make these narratives the dominating ones, so the goals of social movements can be achieved.

The guide wants to help to build power in social movements through meaning-making and transformation of storytelling narrative projects. The toolkit uses examples of immigration movements; however, the tools can be applied to any other civic space topics as well. It includes worksheets that help identify goals and audiences as well as step-by-step narrative project guidance.

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