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Digital Signage: Confluence with built environments

Gable Signs and Simon Property Group worked together for more than a year to develop interactive directories for the latter’s shopping malls.
Photo courtesy Gable Signs

Reinventing the on-premise sign
While many municipal governments are seeking to crack down on existing digital signs because of their unattractive appearance, the more enlightened officials have tried instead to encourage better design. After all, better signs will bring greater acceptance.

One approach some of them have taken is to create codes that minimize the allowable portion of a sign for a digital screen, rather than ban screens outright. This ensures there is a strong physical presence to a sign, rather than the ‘lollipop’ effect of a simple pole-mounted screen, while still enabling dynamic content to be displayed.

Indeed, putting aside reduced prices, higher resolutions and ease of use, design improvements may well be the most important trend affecting the further adoption of digital signage. Industry best practices will create goodwill in communities and help ease restrictions, while broader innovations in design methods will help keep the medium fresh, relevant and an important component of the physical environment. This challenge is one where older sign design traditions and keen attention for detail will continue to be crucial.

Craig M. Berger is chair of the visual presentation and exhibition design department of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT’s) School of Art and Design and runs his own firm, Craig Berger Management Consulting, which assists fabricators, manufacturers and institutions with design-based marketing and education strategies. For information, contact him via e-mail at

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