With Here is History, I aimed to create a space in which I could explore some of the strange an significant events of our world’s history through a specific lens. More specifically, through Google Maps, which now covers, in extraordiary detail, an enormous amount of Earth’s habited, and vacant, areas.
I started with the logo.
I wanted a portmanteau of the classic digital map marker, made famous by Google Maps itself, and an object that immediately represents history, or at least the passage of time. An hourglass, I imagined, would strike that chord with readers. I crafted it to be far more subtle than a Google Maps marker, which is designed to point to a specific place. I didn’t want to point, but rather guide.
I wanted to keep the design simple and straightforward, which meant I would keep the color palette to only those represented in the logo, and two more variations of gray for body copy. I wanted to make sure people were focused on the stories at hand.
From there, I could move on to the main structure of the site. This comes in two basic forms: a grid of images on the home page, and a layout for individual articles. The primary draw in both situations are large, detailed maps of exactly where the event occurred. Many thanks to Google and all the associated satellite imagery companies for the beautiful pictures.
And from there, it’s all about the content. I chose a modern serif font and made it rather large, with a nice, tall line height to make reading easier. I tried to keep metadata to a minimum, although I did think that people would be interested to know when and where, to varying degrees, the event occurred.
Of course, featured front-and-center, is a large call-out for the newsletter component of Here is History. In fact, it’s so good you should go sign up for it right away.
With all that said, I encourage you to go check out Here is History. It’s a labor of love, and it’s not easy, but there are few things better than doing the things you want to do while learning a little more about the world around us.