Sun Thinking: A Solar Protocol Exhibition

Website Design & Development
Commissioned by Tega Brain for Solar Protocol

As a designer who thinks a lot about how to move forward in a warming world, this project was a welcome challenge. Solar Protocol, a website hosted on servers around the world, each powered by the sun, was having an exhibition. In the exhibition, works were to be hosted on the server and displayed in a special section on the site, which I was to design and develop. 

The parameters for this web design were a bit different than most, but they fit within a category of research I’d spent quite some time on in the past. It needed to be congruous within the existing Solar Protocol website design and structure, it needed to be built entirely with HTML and CSS (no libraries or external resources) and it must be lightweight enough to run on the Solar Protocol server. This meant that images on the site must be dithered and typefaces could only be system fonts available on every computer. 

Retro sun graphics and polar coordinates were the foundational inspiration behind the design. Featured on other pages of the site, they create a sense of scale and context that I wanted to be sure to include in the exhibition. In this context, the artists were the main points of interest. I rotated them around the center of the page to form the navigation, using svg file format to preserve interactivity and its radial shape. 

I tackled the issue of typography using system fonts by utilizing Patrick Gillespie’s Text to ASCII Art Generator, specifically the ‘stick letters’ font. It makes use of glyphs in the typeface to form new letters, so that no matter which monospace font your computer loads, they’ll look right at home. 

The various background colors featured here are thanks to Solar Protocol’s custom servers. Each server has it’s own color, which is featured in the server info panel on the SP homepage. This was a fun feature to be able to work with for the exhibition, as it adds a bit of dynamic content to an otherwise static site.