A VERY Different Take On Digital Signage Wayfinding

July 30, 2012 by Dave Haynes

DISFORM 2012 – BAR sign in action from Dani Wolf on Vimeo.

Tweets like this tend to catch the eye …

Pufferfish is a Scottish firm that does spherical displays, and has someone who apparently doesn’t think much of the wayfinding work in digital signage at the moment.

So I went and had a look, and watched series of videos done by Dani Wolf, a graduating student at an art school in Jerusalem.

The signage system of the alternative music festival DISFORM 2012 has two purposes: to direct the audience, informing where each area is located; and to enrich the whole experience of the festival itself, by creating an engaging dialogue between the signs and their surroundings.

The animation and the editing are directly affected by the live music performances, using OpenGL technology. The additional layer of information is dynamic and updated in real-time in order to help the audience of the festival.

My graduation project for the Bezalel Academy of Design and Arts / 2012

My reaction: a clearly talented motion graphic designer having a crack at doing wayfinding in a very different way. I like the big image footprint that projection allows, and the playful use of objects like food and plumbing bits to create the visuals.

However, there are some important things to recognize here:

1 – In the real world, the hours and hours and hours of motion graphic design time needed to do this would create a bill that would be delivered by forklift. It’s one thing to suggest this is how wayfinding should be done, it’s another to get budget for it.

2 – There is a fine line between clever and difficult to read and understand;

3 – Some of the key information comes and goes too quickly to be read and absorbed.

Great creative can have great impacts, but there are times and dynamics in play that demand simplicity. Wayfinding is one of those things where simple, bold creative is probably the better way to go.

The four video segments are here:

BAR sign – vimeo.com/45349390
PARKING sign – vimeo.com/45350003
FOOD COURT sign – vimeo.com/45350885
RESTROOMS sign – vimeo.com/45351447

Great to see ideas being tested and conventional ideas about how to do this stuff ignored. I seem to be saying every other day now that the best creative being done in digital signage is being done, for the most part, by people and companies barely familiar with the term or the sector.

What do you think of it?


  1. Spot on, but I want to address your final note, about the best creative coming from outside the industry. That’s what’s really worth discussing here.

    This continues to show that DS must not live in a vacuum, and it absolutely not run by technology. Good DS content starts with creatives treating it as a canvas.

    This stuff is really well done. Hope he got a good grade on his work.

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