1

My naive idea was to put three figures on top of each other and put the caption left to it. Now it seems to be impossible, any idea how to achieve this? My errorous code until now:

\begin{SCfigure}
    \begin{subfigure}
         \includegraphics[width=0.9\linewidth]{pic1} 
         \caption{}
    \end{subfigure}

    \begin{subfigure}
         \includegraphics[width=0.9\linewidth]{pic1} 
         \caption{}
    \end{subfigure}

    \begin{subfigure}
         \includegraphics[width=0.9\linewidth]{pic1} 
         \caption{}
    \end{subfigure}

    \caption{some pretty text}
\end{SCfigure}
1

You can do this using two simple side-by-side minipages; one for the caption and the other one for the subfigures. To easily fine tune the vertical alignment of the caption you can use the adjustbox package:

The code:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{adjustbox}
\usepackage{subcaption}

\begin{document}

\begin{figure}
\adjustbox{valign=t}{%
\begin{minipage}[t]{.5\linewidth}
\caption{this is a figure with three subfigures and a long caption for the example. The caption will span several lines for the example}
\end{minipage}}%
\adjustbox{valign=t}{%
\begin{minipage}[t]{.5\linewidth}
  \begin{subfigure}{\linewidth}
  \centering
  \includegraphics[width=.9\linewidth,height=3cm]{example-image-a}
  \caption{test subfigure one}
  \end{subfigure}\par\bigskip
  \begin{subfigure}{\linewidth}
  \centering
  \includegraphics[width=.9\linewidth,height=3cm]{example-image-b}
  \caption{test subfigure two}
  \end{subfigure}\par\bigskip
  \begin{subfigure}{\linewidth}
  \centering
  \includegraphics[width=.9\linewidth,height=3cm]{example-image-c}
  \caption{test subfigure three}
  \end{subfigure}
\end{minipage}}
\end{figure}

\end{document} 

The result:

enter image description here

Simply changing valign=t to valign=b in the \adjustbox commands, you get:

enter image description here

and with valign=c:

enter image description here

By the way, the subfigure environment from the subcaption package has a mandatory argument specifying the width, so you should use

\begin{subfigure}{<length>}
...
\end{subfigure}

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