Prototyping: From UX to Front End — Medium | Olivia Montagnese
perspective is a book that captures the beauty and uniqueness of the world through the use of satellite imagery.
Self-directed (School project)
Editorial Design, Typography, Copywriting, Photography
InDesign, Photoshop, Visual Arts
Spanning two months of our Studio Project Class at Humber College, we were expected to create any self-initiated piece that would be used to enhance our portfolios.
perspective chronicles the history of three places around the world: The Dead Sea, The Ganges River, Lop Nur, Doha Qatar, and the Suez Canal
(Specs: 18 pages | 7” x 13”).
The goal for this project was for me to convey a narrative through the use of these satellite images and my artistic abilities. I wanted to challenge myself to create a project that was more art-based, and unlike any other project that I have created.
When I first started planning for this project I had a very vague idea in mind for it, but I was struggling with how I wanted the final product to be, and did not think it would fabricate into a project that I would be proud of or different in any way.
A couple of months prior I received this book called, “Overview: A New Perspective on Earth,” by Benjamin Grant as a gift. This book is a collection of beautiful satellite images derived from Grant’s Daily Overview Instagram project.
Images from Grant’s book
The project is based on the Overview Effect, which is explained to be a profound sensation felt by astronauts when they see the world as a whole from space. This notion was first written by author Frank White in 1987, who explains that these astronauts who view earth from space are in awe, at the beauty and fragility of the world. Viewing the world as a whole, heightens self- reflection and self-awareness, as it causes individuals to greatly appreciate the interconnectedness of life, their home, and the beauty of the planet. This sensation produces a cognitive shift that can produce a meditative experience for astronauts.
The film “Overview” was the main source of inspiration for Grant’s project. I watched some of it to help me learn more about this concept to drive my project forward. Various astronauts in the film mention that it is hard to describe all of the colours, beauty, and motion that they experienced.
“It was truly incredible to be up there doing what I always wanted to do my whole life, and then to kinda glance back at our plant and see that view was just tremendous” — Shane Kimbrough (Shuttle/ISS Astronaut)
“Looking down at the earth and you see that line that separates day into night slowly moving across the planet, thunderstorms on the horizon casting these long shadows as the sun sets, and then watching the earth come alive as your see the lights from the cities and the town” — Ron Garan (Shuttle/ISS Astronaut)
Grant’s book allows readers to see the world from a unique perspective, and analyze the patterns, colours, intricacy, and complexity of places on earth that can only be seen at an arial view. Each image provides readers with insight into that specific place in the world, and the progression made by humans.
I was very intrigued by this book, and definitely used it as research for the final deliverable. However, when starting out, I really struggled to create something completely different than Grant’s project.
I began by collecting lots of inspiration to reflect the certain artistic style I was aiming to achieve with this project.
I then began by browsing various satellite imagery sites, such as AxelGlobe, Digital Globe, and Zoom Earth. I began to sift through these resources as inspiration and determined the five places that I wanted to focus on learning about for my final deliverable.
From L–R: AxelGlobe, Digital Globe, and Zoom Earth
I managed to get a variety of high resolution images off of AxelGlobe, causing me to chose from that website. The images I chose had to have variety in colour, patterns, as well as locations. I also ensured that I was able to find a sufficient amount of research for each place that I chose.
The Dead SeaThe Ganges RiverLop NurDoha, QatarSuez Canal
As I started to gather more and more content, I realized that I wanted to create a book that would tell the narrative of that specific place in the world. When researching I was so intrigued to learn about the history of these places, so I knew that I needed a unique and artistic way to display all of the information gathered.
I decided to break up the content for each section, by creating three different art pieces for each location: one pencil drawing, one ink drawing, and then the watercolour drawing. This allowed me to have three pages to disperse the information on, as well as to choose specific facts for each page. There is a direct correlation between the type of facts on each page and the specific art stage they are located on. For instance, early history of a location will be located on the pencil drawing, whereas vegetation and animal life will be located on the watercolour drawing. I believe that this was the most effective way to display all of the information, as it allows the reader to be intrigued as it provides the facts in chronological order.
I began by painting all of the scenes in watercolour, and then from there I traced the paintings to create the pencil and ink drawings. When painting the scenes, I really focused on trying to capture the exact colours and vibrancy of each location. Once finished I scanned all of my artwork and spent a great amount of time editing all of them.
The Dead SeaThe River GangesLop NurDoha, QatarSuez Canal
While creating my booklet I has the idea of just simply typesetting the facts for each place and overlaying them over the art piece.
However, I felt that this didn’t match the overall feel of my book. I was very pleased with the art pieces I created, and I felt that these blocks of text I would be placing on the images were hiding most the beauty of each art piece. As a result, I decided to work out of my comfort zone and take a different approach by hand lettering all of my facts by using a tablet. After receiving feedback from my professor, he suggested that I be more random in the way I display my facts, and suggested that I write them out in a messy manner rather than using a font. I was hesitant to try this, as I felt that it would look too messy, so I began to use guides and tried to write all of my facts out very neatly and readable. However, I realized that since this is more of an art-focused project I could be more liberal and experimental with how the information was displayed.
I believe that handwriting all of my facts was a much more effective solution, as it reflected the very artistic and unique feel I was aiming for outlined in my strategy.
This piece is geared to more of a niche market. As more of an art-focused project it will be very subjective, and I accepted that not all will be interested in the ambiguity and abstraction of the piece.
Throughout my book I used Spectral, as it gave a elegance to the book when paired with my handwriting. Although all of my facts are hand written, I was still able to achieve a sense of hierarchy through the use of different sizes of the facts.
The Dead Sea
The Ganges River
This is the full book, which is printed and coil-bound.
All of the copy was sourced off a variety of websites. Then all of this information was sorted and rewritten onto each art piece.
Throughout college, I aspired to use my artistic abilities in a project but never got the opportunity to do so. This project allowed me to step away from the computer, and to spend time creating art that can be incorporated into my end design pieces, which I absolutely loved to do. I think that during the whole design process I was too focused on the end product and trying not to copy Grant’s project that it really hindered my creativity at times. I realized that if I had a strong strategy and concept, than the deliverable medium would just follow.
Thank you for reading my case study! ☺️