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Sunny Moment. An Investigation of Colourful Sun Visualizations by Making a Tool for Recreation

The demand to stay at home for the sake of the environment currently seems ironic because, this year, the Corona crisis has turned tourism upside down. Air traffic has been paralyzed worldwide. All over the world, there have been and still are exit restrictions or even lockdowns. Holiday plans were put on hold. Flights or train and hotel reservations were cancelled. Therefore, staying at home was on the agenda.
Actually, the crisis situation is quite convenient for my project idea. Now people all over the world are beginning to reflect on their holiday behaviour. And even if they do not, some will learn to appreciate the sunny sides of their surroundings. Perhaps this leads to an awareness that recreation also works in a different way – without long distances, without great effort, without great costs and with a positive contribution to the climate.

That one reason for travelling lies in the longing for sunshine, especially in the colder months of the year, is part of my hypothesis. That the sun has an influence on our general well-being, physically and psychologically, is crucial to the concept, too. Passed on to the brain via the optic nerve, sunlight causes the release of serotonin, the so-called good-mood hormone. When the sun reaches the skin, vitamin D is produced, which is important for a healthy immune system and our bones, among other things. However, behavioural rules have to be observed in order to use the positive properties of the sun rays and avoid their risks.

My experiments started with analogue photography – coloured light-leak effects – and ended up in the field of interface design, experimenting with analogue and digital techniques such as watercolour on paper, brushes and gradient tools in Photoshop. Therefore, I worked on several components of the app, including icons, text, backgrounds, buttons, and menus, to finally unite them in an interactive prototype.
The aim was to develop a visual language for an application that reflects our enjoyment of the sun, focusing on form and colour. In order to create suitable visuals, I have defined five terms that describe the associated feeling in more detail and built a method of analysis: humanity, lightness, calm, warmth, and brightness.

The practice-based topic of this MA thesis arose as a result of theoretical considerations that investigated the origin of wanderlust. After these reflections, the prototype of a mobile user application called “Sunny Moment” was developed. Its goal is to help people experience holiday feelings not only when travelling, but also in their home environment.
The idea is connected with sustainable tourism on the one hand and a healthy work-life balance on the other one. Society should be encouraged to produce less CO2 – without reproach or prohibition, but through pleasure. It may seem absurd to make a real contribution to climate protection in this way. Of course, the app could serve the same purpose for tourists who travel from far away.
Basel, 2020