Spicing It Up

A four-story-tall LED display presents culinary delights.
Spanning four stories and measuring 18 x 45 ft., the NanoLumens Performance LED display in McCormick & Company’s lobby features taste sensations of the company’s seasonings – sweet, spicy, savory, zesty and smoky.

McCormick & Company, known for spicing up dishes in kitchens near and far, recently boosted its corporate appeal with a new $170 million headquarters. Its central attraction is an 800-sq.-ft. LED display that entices visitors with visual flavor cues of the company’s spices and seasonings. Standing 18 x 45 ft. tall, the expanse would not be out of place in Times Square. The new facility in Hunt Valley, MD, just north of Baltimore, brings together 1,000 employees from several buildings to the new site. 

“We’ve moved from our very old, stuffy office, to a sleek, modern structure that shows the kind of innovation the company is proud of,” said McCormick CEO Lawrence Kurzius. The lobby features a direct-view LED display, thanks to NanoLumens (Norcross, GA), whose displays are made of at least 50% reclaimed materials and are almost completely recyclable.

Superior brightness (1,700 nits) was another motive for selecting a direct-display LED display over LCD. With all the ambient light inside the lobby, McCormick & Co. needed a display solution that could handle a very bright area, something that NanoLumens’ LED technology handles well, according to Dana Michaelis, the company’s regional sales director, northeast. The building’s open floor plan makes all six floors immediately visible to people entering the lobby. The AV technology integrator, Whitlock (Richmond, VA), faced the task of positioning and installing the large display, which traverses the second to fifth floor. Key selection criteria for LED displays include the brightness, compatibility with HD content, display thickness and weight, and pixel pitch – the distance between the centers of neighboring pixels (each with an RGB LED). A smaller pixel pitch improves resolution and image clarity, but each step to a smaller pitch has an exponential effect on LED count and cost. 

This is where viewing distance comes into play, as does the amount of time viewers spend looking at the display (for instance, informational displays may only require a glance while large TVs are watched for longer, requiring better resolution). While many manufacturers of LED displays provide a rule-of-thumb for pixel pitch to optimal viewing distance (multiply the pixel pitch by 3-10 and convert mm to feet), it’s important to note that these are simply reference points and the environment must also be considered. McCormick chose a Performance Series display featuring 4.7 mm pixel pitch. Technically known as a direct-view display because nothing alters the LEDs (such as polarizers that manipulate and decrease LED output in LCD screens), 1.5 mm is state of the art for fine-pitch LED displays, with the industry rapidly developing so-called micro-LEDs with 0.5 mm or smaller pitch.

Corporations are increasingly selecting LED displays as showpieces, indicating that they wish to appeal to digitally savvy employees and clients while making environmentally conscious decisions.

LED displays are known for providing bright images (1,700 nits) that stand out in strong ambient light conditions.

LED displays are known for providing bright images (1,700 nits) that stand out in strong ambient light conditions.

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Signs of the Times March 2019

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