Responses by Jonathan Kim, partner/creative director, Rare Volume
Background: The Shed—New York City’s newest cultural center—commissions, produces and presents the full spectrum of performing arts in disciplines, ranging from dance to music to visual art and beyond. The Shed required a dynamic digital signage system as flexible and unique as the building itself. Instead of just focusing on established arts consumers, creatives and makers, the goal was to also include the intersectional core and cultural engagement seekers. In other words, it demonstrates that The Shed is a twenty-first century institution.
Reasoning: The digital signage system delivers much more than wayfinding and program information. It elevates the brand through dynamic interstitials, delivers art- and tech-forward content to key audiences, and is a physical extension of The Shed’s marketing and communications strategy—all through a tone of voice and visual language designed to attract its target audience.
Challenges: Digital signage often has to be manually updated and doesn’t change throughout the day or even weekly. Rare Volume’s system automatically adjusts all content and screens based on time of day and the event calendar. We worked with The Shed to gather a complex table of rules to reflect the schedules and policies the cultural center has. We then turned those rules into software. The software is able to automatically generate the graphics it requires and schedule those graphics throughout the building.
Favorite details: We’ve created a fully automated signage system without sacrificing creative output. We believe this process points to an exciting future for digital signage in the physical space, and hope other upcoming and existing institutions consider the approach.
Specific demands: Creating the matrix of rules across all signage was a beast of a task. Our associate creative director, Alvin Groen—with his wealth of knowledge from a past life as a web designer—managed to create an airtight system of rules and guides for screens to follow.
Anything new: As a studio, we’ve created automated graphics packages for news platforms like Reuters TV. That said, applying such a system for a physical wayfinding system was exciting and challenging at the same time.