Levi’s is Still Sexy

Transparent displays show the hip look of a brand that understands its roots.
The Levi’s store in San Francisco features eye-catching LEDs.

How do you make a label that is over 150 years old appeal to the younger generation? If you manage the Levi’s store in San Francisco, you find a way to address people’s digital sensibilities while driving home the same sexy simplicity that has been the denim czar’s selling point for all these years. Levi Strauss & Co. launched in San Francisco in 1853 producing rugged work uniforms for men, and now has over 13,000 employees and 500 stores worldwide. The growth is evident in the company’s 8,000-sq.-ft. store near Union Square on Market Street in downtown San Francisco, which features eye-catching storefront LED displays.

“As a forerunner in the jean industry, they haven’t always played a lot in the digital space, but for their San Francisco Market Street location, they really wanted to make a statement and connect with their customers,” said Brandie Perkins, senior account manager at Reflect. The Richardson, TX-based digital media provider designed the two transparent displays in the store windows using 30 tiles each of FLEXClear LED displays from PixelFLEX (Nashville, TN), a custom LED display provider. Transparent displays are a good choice for outward-facing windows that receive natural sunlight and can produce bright content during the day (3,000-5,000 nits) but adjust to dimmer content at night (1,000 nits). Because these displays are 60-75% transparent (pixel pitch 3.9 to 10.4 mm, respectively), natural light still permeates store spaces, providing optimal light for viewing merchandise. “With the way the store is physically laid out, the natural light is essential to the space, so they loved the idea of being able to put in a transparent LED display,” added Perkins. 

Installation required removal of the existing track lighting in the windows and suspension of the displays from horizontal rods to hold each 500-lb., 10 x 8-ft. display. The designers selected the 3.9 mm pixel-pitch so pedestrians can view them best from 5-10 ft. Video content is served up by the ReflectView content management system. With the availability of standard and custom sizes, any window can be accommodated with transparent displays.

Signs of the Times reported on early developments in transparent displays, including a spectacular 5,000-sq.-ft. MediaMesh façade at Milan’s Arengario museum, (see ST, April 2008, page 90). More recently, transparent displays have shown up at the Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles and the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. With the affordability of LEDs, expect transparent displays to be an increasingly attractive option for retail and architectural signage.

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Signs of the Times December 2018

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