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The Future of Signs

In 2013, Nike treated unsuspecting pedestrians in Amsterdam to a unique advertisement for the latest version of its Free sneaker. Not satisfied with showing off the shoes on a poster or billboard, Nike partnered with three media agencies to create a holographic outdoor ad. The hologram projected within a cube gave passersby a chance to see the Nike Free sneaker in 3D.

Nike Sign Hologram

In addition to holograms, there are other emerging trends in signage that focus on digital signs, and we could be seeing a lot more of them.

Holograms capture attention

Nike and its creative partners used a hologram to showcase a shoe, but authorities in Sydney, Australia use holograms to safeguard the city’s infrastructure. Sometimes drivers can ignore not just one but several warning signs to stop their vehicles. So to combat inattentive drivers, officials at the Sydney Harbour Tunnel utilize holograms projected onto waterfalls to alert drivers not to enter the tunnel. It’s an effective sign, because it appears right in front of the driver, as opposed to above or beside his or her vehicle. In the case of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, holographic signs can help prevent major accidents from happening.

Stop Sign Sydney Hologram

Projecting people

Taking the topic of hologram signage a step further, we can recall some recent examples of holograms not just displaying a product or static sign, but the image of an active human being. A hologram of Michael Jackson was projected on stage during the Billboard Music Awards to create the appearance of him performing live. Similarly, Indian Prime Minister Nerendra Modi used hologram images of himself to address his supporters at hundreds of rallies across the country.

Businesses may embrace the use of holograms not just to display their products, but also to display a human being using and enjoying their products. The three-dimensional possibilities of holograms mean that companies can showcase their products in a way they can’t on television or with two-dimensional images.

Interactive signage

Thanks to the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, people are now starting to expect to be able to interact with displays to obtain additional, relevant information. As a result of this growing expectation, there could be shift in signage from traditional forms like billboards, to interactive ones that involve touchscreens.

For example, a restaurant menu printed on paper that shows written descriptions of dishes and maybe some photographs could instead be a tablet loaded with multiple images of the restaurant’s cuisine, information on ingredients, and so on. Restaurant patrons could interact with that menu to view their dining options and customize their orders.

Another example would be a map of a city’s public transit system. Instead of a single static image, riders may be able to interact with a digital map that lets them zoom in and out of certain areas, highlight connecting trains and buses, and ask for alternative routes.

This sort of digital signage requires much more than just appealing imagery. It requires a good user experience. That means signage of the future will rely not just on capturing attention with pretty colours and pictures, but on holding attention by offering interactive options that engage viewers.

About Signs is committed to staying up to date with sign trends and technology and we look forward to the new opportunities and learning experiences it will bring us.