Digital imagery as technology & information

The third project for this semester’s Meaning and Form course with Eli Blevis asked us to “find or create your own images or illustrations which denote or picture the notion of digital imagery as a distinctive digitally enabled technology or as a means or form of information” [1]. In projects for this course, we alternate between research project such as this, and concepts based on digital images that we produce.

For this particular project, I chose to focus on the concept of digital imagery as a means of exploring and visualizing the unknown. I began my research by exploring the depths of design consultancy concepts, NASA projects, and the Earth Observatory for examples of the impact digital imagery has had on our lives. The PDF copy of this project is also attached to this post.

The project


Visual research of ways we understand the unknown through digital imagery. Images flow from the most intimate to the least, clockwise from the top left. References available in the PDF.

The first page of my design document contains the research relevant to my design search and final concept. Moving clockwise from the top left five (5) images, I was initially inspired by IDEO’s Palette concept. This simple analog design attempts to point out the nutritional value of foods through color. From there I moved to ways digital imagery details and teaches us about our personal and physical selves. This is shown using images of a sonogram and Google’s new Body Browser lab, both of which show us details about our bodies that would be impossible or prohibitive to understand without the assistance of digital imagery. Next are examples of sonar and Doppler radar scans which have helped us understand the world around us. Finally, the images move to examples of pictures taken of our solar system by the Hubble telescope and Chandra. Technology has enabled us, through digital imagery to explore and understand the previously inconceivable.


The concept I outlined with this project, showing new ways in which we can now understand our surroundings through digital imagery.

The second page of this project outlines how the concept of under the unknown through digital imagery has affected us on a global scale. The first image shows a picture of a toxic sludge reservoir leak that happened in October, 2010 in Hungary. Digital satellite imagery allowed people to see and evaluate the spill and its effects on people in the area. The second image shows aerosol concentrations around the world. Without digital imagery, this information is a complete unknown, even though this is a major contributing factor to global warming through the reflection of sunlight. The final image shows the concept of the new Space Fence concept. Lockheed Martin won this contract a few weeks ago, and before this sort of technology, objects surrounding the earth have been tracked entirely by path estimation and visual tracing. This gives NASA a tangible means of observation presented in a visible, interactive manner. These three images in my final concept also move from the close–which could have moved even closer to show real people–to the very distant, centering on our interaction with the earth.