What makes the Everbright unique can present challenges and surprises to designers accustomed to large-scale displays. It looks like a screen, but it’s not a screen. It’s a canvas. You turn a dial, and the lens changes colors.
This can seem like magic. What else could it do? It’s not hard to think of novel uses.
But this interactive feature light wall has some built-in constraints and limitations that it’s good to know about upfront. Here are some constraints and potential limitations for designers and owners to consider.
Bigger is better? Well, it depends on which part. Unlike large-scale decals that can turn a wall from floor to ceiling into environmental graphics, the Everbright has kinetic dials meant to be twisted. People don’t just stand back and take it all in. They use their hands to discover, create, collaborate.
Technically, it’s possible to produce an Everbright 8 feet high and 8 feet long. But we advise against it. No child or adult will be able to reach the upper rows of an 8-foot-high Everbright without pulling up an old-school rolling library ladder. And to reach dials on the bottom, everyone will have to take a knee. Additionally, people will kick the lower dials by walking into them.
The bottom line is that while floor-to-ceiling dials sound great and look good in a render, in reality, it puts too many pixels in too many awkward places for too many people.
Remember the days before Netflix when your favorite TV show would run a two-part cliffhanger? Just when you were about to discover the truth about Carlton, a message flashed on the bottom of the screen: To be continued…
This is exactly how it feels to be 7 years old and look up to realize you can’t reach the upper rows of dials. If a child is developmentally capable of being upset that she isn’t old enough, she will find a way to reach those dials. You might not like her methods.
If you’re looking for a large-scale creative canvas that inspires awe and wonder, consider doing this:
(Read more about Mounting Height Recommendations.)
The Everbright runs what our customers call light shows when not in use. These dynamic, abstract, illuminated patterns look mesmerizing and are intended to attract new users.
We call them “interactive canvases” because they’re meant to invite play and creativity.
These algorithmic animations mimic the qualities of a screen as they dance across the board. When people who have invested in branding see this, they think of all the ways their logo could make an appearance here, just as it has graced walls, doors, pens, and cookies.
Unfortunately, unless your logo features basic geometry, it will look comically out of proportion on an Everbright.
The Everbright’s low resolution makes it a poor display for a logo (but an excellent display for the head of accounting’s very first abstract design).
To put the Everbright’s low resolution into context:
It can be disappointing to hear that the Everbright may not be a suitable canvas for an organization’s logo.
On the other hand, could this constraint be the source of a creative breakthrough?
We can evoke the logo, the mood, and the qualities and themes your brand represents by developing custom animations using gradient color flows. We’ve taken this direction for a number of brands in the past. The gradient color flows do a nice job of “faking” the logo without being too on the nose.
For example: A global firm asked us to create a custom, abstract animation to evoke their logo.
We turned the colors and shapes of their logo into an abstract animation that evokes their logo and their brand.
This is about your users and what they can create. It’s about inviting people into a culture of creativity, collaboration, and inclusion. If these are qualities your brand stands for, people don’t need to see your logo to get the message.
We can do a lot with your brand colors by providing a custom color palette. With a custom color palette, you can set your Everbright to only use your branding colors during animations. We can even limit the colors displayed when you turn a dial to those that match your branding.
White is difficult—not impossible, but technically difficult. The Everbright has two features that suit themselves best to a velvety, matte, charcoal-black color:
These unique features give the Everbright a rich, velvety, felted texture that feels warm and approachable. It was made by humans, for humans. We want every user to feel that.
The lens material we use is unique in that it’s black when it’s not illuminated, but allows the colors to come through at full saturation. The colors really pop. With a white lens, the same colors look like washed out pastels.
Technically it’s possible to make the frame and dials in light grey, but the caps would become visibly dirty, and the finishing process here in the studio tends to make the caps and frame darker as well. Plus, you’d still have the black lens.
Solid surface is possible technically, but it requires more development and would increase the costs because of the materials and processing needed.
Over the years we have experimented and prototyped Everbrights with various materials, and have not found other base materials that balance all the design constraints that Everbrights have. But don’t worry, we will keep trying.
There’s no way around this. The Everbright is heavy. Because it’s designed to be durable in public spaces, nothing can be accessed from the front. It’s rare that there’s a problem, but if anything ever needs to be figured out, chances are you will need to have two strong people lift the board up and off of its cleat to set it down upright so they can access the back. There is the possibility that there could be a tricky problem that requires someone to look behind the board. It is very rare, but it’s still in the realm of possibility. In that case, two strong people are going to need to take it off the wall. We can hop on a video call with them if needed, and send detailed step by step instructions so they know what to expect, but they’re going to need to lift it up and set it down. They don’t need any special skills or tools besides a screwdriver, as everything is modular and straightforward. But if you need a solution that you can maintain yourself, personally, without anyone ever available to do a heavy lift, the Everbright will not be a good fit.
Early editions of the Everbright shipped with an integrated power switch. We removed it when we discovered that turning the power on and off multiple times in a row, in rapid succession, can cause its memory card to become corrupted, resulting in the animations and erase features not working.
The Everbright is still functional in these cases—it just doesn’t erase or animate. The only way to erase it in these cases was to power it off until you can schedule a time to take the board off the wall to access the back and replace the memory card.
In order to keep people from tampering with the power switch, we removed the power switch from the unit.
The average cost to install a light switch in the U.S. is $140, so this doesn’t add much to the costs of installation in most places.
When the electrician comes in to install the outlet, they should also install a switch somewhere in the room that staff can reach. The switch should be accessible to staff, but not obviously associated with the Everbright, so children and their parents don’t idly reach up to switch it on and off.
Any mounting surface must be flat.
We can produce a single- or double-sided self-standing integrated unit if you do not have a wall for mounting, or if the wall you have is curved.
The Everbright is not a good fit if you want an interactive feature you can take on the road and incorporate into your traveling mobile exhibit roadshow. Constant travel subjects the wires and circuitry to excessive vibrations and jostling. We didn’t design the Everbright for this kind of lifestyle, so we don’t know whether or how it would affect the Everbright. It might be fine, but you might also have issues.
One library rotates their Everbright between branches every few months and hasn’t had a problem for close to four years now. But their Everbright does not live on the road—it is moved periodically. Constant vibrations could cause issues with the many electrical connections, so we don’t recommend driving it around any more than you need to.
The Everbright has vents along the top. Unless you mount it into an opening created in the wall, or inside of a partial or shallow recess, you’ll need to make sure people aren’t regularly setting drinks down on top of it. If your Everbright is in a spot where moisture, liquid, or drinks can spill through that vent, this will cause problems.
No one has ever had an issue before, but it’s worth planning ahead and taking this risk into consideration in the design and planning of this installation.
Prevention: If you’re afraid your Everbright could become a popular drink rest, you can order a removable, slanted, vented cover from us that will prevent people from being able to set their drinks down onto it.
6. The Everbright is for indoor, climate-controlled use only. You cannot set it up outdoors.
The Everbright is designed and tested for indoor use only. Its circuitry isn’t built to withstand elements like UV, extreme temperatures, moisture, and smog. If you’re looking for an outdoor solution for a festival or a seasonal activator to attract passersby in the summer, the Everbright is not a good fit. Outdoor excursions also expose the dials to dust, dirt, and sand, which can create a gritty, unpleasant sensation if they get worked into the bearings of the dials. This applies to any kind of kinetic sand exhibit as well. If you have one of those, be sure to install your Everbright in another room.
These constraints aren’t a big deal for most people once they understand the reasons why, but the sooner you know about any potential workarounds that may be needed, the sooner you can plan ahead and incorporate these considerations into your design.
Now that you understand the design and installation constraints, want to learn about any potential technical issues? Read about possible issues that could affect an Everbright (and their solutions).
The Everbright is designed, engineered, and individually fabricated by Hero Design LLC