six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Dan Moren

Panic’s new building sign

Software firm Panic now has a sign on their building in Portland, Oregon! And if you know anything about them as a company, you just know it needs to have a cool secret:

With a simple, clean web app, we’ve enabled anyone in the city to change the colors of our sign.

There’s something surprisingly special about standing on a street corner, tapping on your phone, and watching some colors you chose appear on a big brick building. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to change the world, but it’ll change our colors.

Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser writes in the post about being inspired by a color-changing weather beacon atop a building in Portland. As a kid, I had a similar experience with the Old Hancock Building1 in Boston, which has a similar setup—there’s even a handy rhyme:

Steady blue, clear view.
Flashing blue, clouds due.
Steady red, rain ahead.
Flashing red, snow instead.

Although in the summer, flashing red instead means the Red Sox game has been postponed. Because it’s Boston.

  1. I guess it’s technically the Berkeley Building, but it will always be the Old Hancock to me and, I imagine, many of my fellow Bostonians.  ↩