Feeling the Overview Effect
Recently I discovered the Instagram account of The Daily Overview, a project aimed at collecting images of remarkable earthly landscapes as captured by satellites above. I was immediately awestruck by the beauty and scale of some of these images, captured from a completely foreign vantage point to my own experience. My designer’s eye was drawn to the patterns, symmetry and vibrant colors that many of our human creations incidentally take on. However, these are more than pretty pictures; the Daily Overview project seeks out images that highlight the ways in which human activity has shaped the landscape of our planet, for better or for worse. A beautiful wash of abstract color may also double as a troubling reminder of the toll humanity has taken on our planet, or it may be a testament to the brilliance of human ingenuity.
“The overview effect” refers to the sensation that astronauts feel when viewing planet Earth from space—seeing our planet and the proportionately razor-thin shell of our atmosphere all as a whole for the first time and realizing how small, fragile, and interconnected everything is, something that is not quite possible to comprehend from the ground. The Daily Overview’s mission is to bring a little taste of that ah-ha moment down to us terrestrial beings through the modern miracle of photography captured from hundreds of miles above our heads.
While I’m at it, what really put me over the moon was their brilliant minimalist logo and its super cute animated counterpart.
“From our line of sight on the Earth’s surface, it’s impossible to fully appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the things we’ve constructed, the sheer complexity of the systems we’ve developed, or the devastating impact that we’ve had on our planet. We believe that beholding these forces as they shape our Earth is necessary to make progress in understanding who we are as a species, and what is needed to sustain a safe and healthy planet.” – The Daily Overview