The preliminary studies that led up to Ilya Repin's dramatic painting "Arrest of a Propagandist" show how changes in design can alter the staging and psychology of the story.
This small painted version develops that idea further. He takes away the bearded man's cane and makes him light against the dark background. A little girl clings to her mother's dress near the man. The light shapes and the bright red shirt attract attention to the right places. The composition seems like a "go," in fact Russia used this version as a stamp design.
But like a stage director, Repin keeps trying more variations. In this study, his head turns to stage right to face an official, who sits with his legs crossed in a chair and reads aloud some of the forbidden writing. This is much more dramatic and powerful psychologically. A few sympathetic figures stand at stage left, but we can't really see their emotions, and they become overly important to the picture.
Two men, including a uniformed guard with a weapon, work together to restrain him. The suitcase appears in the immediate foreground, packed with material, with scraps of something torn up on the floor at left. The seated official is an older man with glasses.
In a storytelling picture like this, the designer is a dramatist on a par with a film director. Compositional choices should be driven by mood and meaning, not just as an exercise in abstract shapes or formal niceties.