10 November, 2007

DOOH idea

The Digital Out Of Home (aka public or in-store TV) industry is booming, and The Sound Agency is flattered indeed to be featured in DOOH guru Adrian Cotterill's blog here; also I did a long interview with David Wiseman that he's boiled down and run on his Minicom blog here. They're running a competition with some signed copies of my book as prizes.

I believe the digital signage/DOOH industry is approaching a crossroads with a major decision to make about sound. It can either add to the noise of modern living, turning on speakers in lifts, shops and even toilets and driving even more people to take refuge in their iPods, or it can make visuals work with audio to create a carefully-crafted, pleasing, appropriate, effective environment in every space. This means creating the right background first, with ambient visuals (they don't even have to move!) teamed with ambient audio, ideally generative. Then and only then should designers start to think about foreground sound, delivering it according to our four Golden Rules: make it optional (or at least targeted); make it appropriate; make it valuable; and test it often.

The analogy is creating a picture: you make the background first, and then you make the foreground object stand out by using contrast but always acknowledging the tones, mood, elements and movement in the background.

I hope to see and hear a world of moving wallpaper and helpful, appropriate foreground content that offers us guidance or advice just when we need it in either visual or aural form, or both, as appropriate.

The dark path, of course, leads to noise (in every sense) - a random mush of competing messages that bombard people everywhere in ever-more shrill and frantic tone. Let's not go there!


  1. Hi Julian,

    Interesting. I was at a networking group a few months ago where a company was promoting broadcast advertising via Blue-tooth. If that happens more there could be rather a horrible combination of competing sounds.


  2. Jim I completely agree - intrusive Bluetooth advertising is a real no-no, and should be no more successful than the current efforts to offer free calls in return for accepting advertising before every conversation. This must be permission-based and conform to the Golden Rules of sound in my book: make it optional, make it appropriate, make it valuable, and test it endlessly!



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