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Published September 8th 2014

For The Win(dow) – A User Generated Digital Canvas #bdfFTW

Throughout the duration of the Brighton Digital Festival, the second floor windows of our headquarters at International House Brighton will feature a...

Throughout the duration of the Brighton Digital Festival, the second floor windows of our headquarters at International House Brighton will be draped with a hand-crafted LED curtain.

These windows will display personalized messages and designs from Twitter users around the world, as well as information about the Brighton Digital Festival and its events.

Anyone – even you, the lucky, lucky reader of this post – can broadcast their own message, whatever it may be, and have it displayed across one of Brighton’s busiest spots (16 million footfall per year) and broadcast across the world via webcam.

What is #bdfFTW


bdf stands for the Brighton Digital Festival, an annual community driven grassroots festival celebrating digital arts and culture.

FTW stands for ‘For The Win(dow)’, an acronym for the 11 meter long LED digital canvas overlooking Brighton Station.


How to use #bdfFTW?


Go to the website:

Draw something using the 8×16 bit screen: 
Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 11.00.37 AM
Add in a few frames to create an animation:

Press ‘Tweet To Display’ and the application will generate a unique code to post on Twitter: 

Watch your image appear via the webcam or come and see it for yourself! 


How it works


1. Your 8×16 design will generate a unique hex code based on the type of image you have created.

2. Once you tweet your code, @FTWindow will take around 1/2 minutes to recreate your image on the LED canvas.

3. There is no image priority. Every new image will take over the place of the existing image, meaning every single image will be shown on the canvas.

How it looks


The LED window display is purposefully lo-fi, a whimsical throwback to the graphical style of 70s and 80s computing. This retro approach is a nod towards 25 years of the web, one of the themes of this year’s festival.

The 8×16 bit screen allows you to create a wide range of different designs – we’ve managed to create football pitches, ducks, dancing stick men and basically everything under sun.

It can be difficult to view the LED display during the day (especially via the webcam) due to the sunlight. So, if you can’t view the panels in person it may be best to save your 8×16 bit designs until sunset.

What went in to #bdfFTW


  • 7000 man hours
  • 1792 LEDs
  • 432 cups of coffee
  • 117 meters of wire
  • 39 Brandwatchers
  • 4 months of planning


  • 3 soldering injuries

Data can often be seen as mathematical and technical, here at Brandwatch we see it as shapes, colours, motion, beauty, energy and much more.

That’s why all of the work for the display was done in-house by some of the extremely dedicated and creative Brandwatch team.

Members of our team have painstakingly hand-soldered 1792 LED lights for this interactive light display. It’s a marriage of social data and high-concept design aesthetics, that stems from the collaboration of the many bright minds here.


An early prototype.


Soldering one of the 1792 LEDs on to the wired frame.

LED wall

Five of the LED panels.

the making of

A copper wire, soldering iron, duck tape mess (the importance of the coffee mug shouldn’t be underestimated).

2014-09-03 12

The panels attached to the window.


The Brandwatch office looking particularly deadly.


Edward Snowdon’s eyes overlooking the station entrance.


Some impressive pixel art on show.

The collaborative and creative approach used throughout this project is the same driving force behind the Brighton Digital Festival and our city at large.

We’re proud of both, and happy to have a window view to it all.

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