A Quick Look At New Digital Signage In Downtown San Francisco

I was in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago to see all the Samsung/PrismView LED and smart displays at the new Chase Center, but I also had a couple of free hours to have a quick look around.

I’ve seen the LED displays in the lobbies of the cluster of Salesforce office towers downtown, but I’d not seen what was done in the new main tower. In short, it’s predictably stunning. Predictable because the other two buildings already had great content.

What’s different about this one is that it has gentle curves and thematically it fits in with a key Salesforce marketing initiative that extends to lobby decor. The creative is very reminiscent of a lobby I saw recently in Taipei.

It is a must-see if you are a bit of a signage or creative nerd and happen to be in San Francisco. It is quite close to the Moscone Center, where most conventions in that city are held.

Salesforce also has naming rights on the mass transport terminal that extends across several blocks, at multiple levels, through downtown. That thing is the nicest bus/rail station I’ve seen. Period.

Given that the BART system’s stations are awful in every respect, it’s shocking to see something that reflects a ton of design thinking.

I was interested because the bus level has a huge number of digital displays, one for each pickup/dropoff stand. There is also a vast video wall in the main lobby that uses tiled LCDs. It looks good, though the content designers need to go and look at the layout and tweak designs to fit around the evident seams/bezels. Right now, the text in some cases, is broken up by those gridlines.

The integrator spec’d in a lot of daylight-readable displays, though I am not sure why in some areas that were well-covered by overhead surfaces. The result is 2 by 2 video walls with VERY noticeable bezels bisecting content. That also needs a rethink on the creative design.

Don’t fight the bezels. Work with them!

There is also a mostly transparent LED mesh screen on an oval glass atrium window above the main lobby. It’s a bit hard to shoot and see in daylight.

The transit center has a narrow rooftop park that stretches 400-plus meters, with play areas, bamboo forests and a one-person gondola for taking people to street-level.

Finally, the Museum of Modern Art was beside my hotel, so I stuck my head in the lobby and grabbed video of the huge curved SNA LED wall being used for an ongoing exhibit celebrating the colorful people of the city.

Very cool stuff.

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