Oldest Biomedical Research Institute in U.S. Embraces Digital Signage


Rockefeller University, the private graduate university in New York City and the oldest biomedical research institute in the U.S., recently overhauled a myriad of static signage pieces including easels, posters and other cluttering eyesores at strategic locations on its existing 14-acre campus as well as its new property expansion—the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus. With the goal of improving promotion of campus academic lectures, faculty candidate symposia, evening lectures and its wayfinding directory, the school found collaborators in C&G Partners, who established best-practices for custom digital design as well as content duration and quantity.

To that end, a location plan for screen installation and configuration was carefully developed with campus architecture and the flow of visitors top of mind. Now, there are nearly 50 BrightSign XT244 players feeding content to an equal number of 49-inch LG 49UH5C 4K screens with custom mounts, frames and power-handling infrastructure. Screens were configured in both diptych and triptych formats based on each specific location, and the result is a campus-wide system for promoting academic and cultural events in the form of a constantly animating trio of media surfaces.

“We specify BrightSign players regularly,” said C&G Partners’ Managing Partner Jonathan Alger. “They give our clients a rare combination of reliability, ease of maintenance, smooth playback and importantly, a choice of software. We joke that BrightSign’s players will outlast us all, and I bet that’s not far from the truth.”

In terms of what those players and screens are displaying, the content types had to be just as accessible to first-time visitors as they were to Nobel prize-winning scientists. One innovative means to accomplish that end involved taking actual biomedical immunofluorescence imagery generated in the university’s labs and transforming it into attention-grabbing backgrounds for other information overlays, not unlike the increasing number of abstract public art pieces with designs that are driven by seemingly random data points. Check out the video below for a closer look:

Using the Adobe Creative Suite primarily, in-house teams have since been able to hit the ground running with custom content templates and color palettes that both maximize aesthetics and serve to categorize different types of public information on dynamic digital posters.

“Our creative work blends the technical, the artistic and the communicative, which isn’t always easy,” continued Alger. “And of course, the pressure is a little higher when you know you are using scientific imagery as art that will be seen daily by real-life Nobel Prize winners. But Rockefeller University has always been a client keenly interested in doing things the right way, and that makes it all worthwhile for us.”

Unifying all of Rockefeller University’s digital communication platforms will not only educate students, faculty and visitors for new normal of the future, but it also ensures uniform presentation of the school’s brand identity throughout the campus. As the image below shows, one of the recurring bits of text for this digital signage system is the university’s slogan of “Science for the benefit of humanity,” and never has there been a more appropriate sentiment as many other universities prepare for onsite classes in the fall in the midst of a pandemic with proven vaccines still to come.

Rockefeller University pic


About Author

Jason Kushner is a videographer, editor, writer and filmmaker living in the Greater Atlanta Area. With an educational background combining film and journalism, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa, TBO.com, Starline Films and Digital Signage Connection. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival.  In 2015, he became Digital Media Editor for Digital Signage Expo, LightShow West and LED Specifier Summit and has since become Digital Content Manager for those shows’ parent company, Exponation.

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