Field Notes Blog
News and thoughts on UI/UX, web design, and more.
As an interactive designer I'm fascinated by how much we communicate nonverbally. From websites to social media to the humble business card, we transmit a lot of information visually. But sometimes the effectiveness of a piece has nothing to do with design, it's simply the emotional power of an image. Take for example the high resolution Earthrise image by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showing our planet from the surface of the Moon. To me, April is a celebration of Earth and a reminder that caring for our cosmic home is nothing less than our sacred duty. Like the more famous "Blue Marble" photo from 1968, this shot instantly communicates - without words - that we are one family living together on a tiny planet. Whether you're a small business striving to use your website to boost sales or a nonprofit using social media to attract donors, powerful images reach people at an emotional level and can carry your message far and wide. If you think that's far fetched, consider the ways in which iconic imagery has shaped our cultural landscape and altered the course of history.
The Blue Marble image was taken by the crew of Apollo 8. It was not the first time we'd seen our planet from space, that happened with a grainy black & white photo taken by the Lunar Orbiter 1 in 1966. But the higher quality, full color Blue Marble image captured international attention and went on to inspire the environmental movement. It was on the cover of Stewart Brand's iconic Whole Earth Catalog (a handbook for sustainable living) and peace activist John McConnell used the image on flags the summer after the moon landing. His actions led to the creation of Earth Day itself in 1970. A single image snapped hurriedly by an astronaut (we don't actually know who took the photo) still reminds us to care for our precious home - a message understood across the barriers of language, geography and time.
Earth Day is also an opportunity to think about how the WORLD wide web connects us in ways that our parents could never imagine. Technological wonders in abundance are literally our fingertips and all that's needed to wield them is the willingness to learn how. If you want some examples of how to chose powerful images for your projects I offer a one hour online webinar that walks you through choosing effective images called The Dos and Don’ts of Website Imagery – Best Practices for Visual Communication.
I hope you're inspired to find or create great images that help your message travel to the people you want to reach. I also hope that Earth Day is a fun reminder to enjoy our precious time on Terra (the actual name of our planet) and do your best to preserve it for the future. With that I leave you with one of my favorite Carl Sagan quotes.
"There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
About the author
As the owner of Pixel Lava Interactive I've helped hundreds of small businesses and nonprofits with websites, graphic design and more. I hope you'll find this blog full of useful information.
~ Ame Stanko