SONY JUMBOTRON

"A sad, sad day for New York" was how Late Show producer Rob Burnett described the removal of Sony's original Times Square Jumbotron in 1996.  When it debuted six years prior, it revolutionized outdoor signage and Times Square itself.

 

2010 was the date set for the return of the massive sign, known as a spectacular.  Now it would be state of the art, interactive and high resolution.  A lively and spirited partnership between Sony, News Corporation, ESI, Daktronics and Winston & Co.

Role - Design, Branding, Project Management
Year - 2010

Client - Sony Corporation of America

THE CHALLENGE

Elegance and restraint were the order of the day as Sony wanted to showcase the highest resolution display in Times Square.  It had to be crisp, clean and easily read from the opposite end of the plaza, four blocks away at 47th St.

A static logo was preferred because it is never in transition nor distorted and the design had to avoid gimmickry like imitating a big TV.   A fitting high-tech tribute to Video-1, the original Jumbotron - a bit of history of which you can see below.

THE SOLUTION

Since we were retrofitting an existing 40-foot tall structure, we had to find a way to celebrate the new hi-rez panels and deemphasize the depth.  News Corporation opted for animated onscreen branding leaving Sony to claim the entire physical bezel, which was then minimized to appear as thin and flat as possible.

LEDs illuminate the Sony logo and outline the screen, visually separating it from the deep cabinet full of equipment.  The sign's relative proximity to street level encouraged interactive crowd participation, enabled by cameras and sensors installed around and behind the sign's framework.

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