Whiteboard / WhiteWall®

Blog posts that specifically feature stories with whiteboards or WhiteWalls.

Mon Dec 3 2018
By: Mike P

For over 50 years, Magnatag has worked alongside architects and contractors to build thousands of custom whiteboards for office spaces across the globe. Over the years, we’ve managed to pick up a few tips from the experts that can help you find the perfect location for your whiteboard. With some of our Magnatag expertise added to the mix, we've put together this guide to detail everything you need to know when it comes to finding the perfect destination for your whiteboard.

Understanding the Relationship Between Positioning & Display Size
Display size and positioning are the two most significant factors that one must consider before choosing a size for your whiteboard—both of which vary depending on the size of the space. Ultimately, the two elements share a unique relationship, as both positioning and size directly relate to text and images displayed on the board and how we interpret content in a presentation space. The size of a surface directly links to the size of the room, and contrariwise, the size of a room implicates how large a surface can be and its final location.

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend mounting your whiteboard no higher than seven feet above the base of the floor and no lower than three-feet. To be more specific, the top of a 4 x 6’ whiteboard should hang 84” off the floor; a 3 x 4’ board should be 78”, and a 2 x 3’ should hang no higher than 72”. You should always place your dry-erase board in a position that lines up in direct eyesight of the primary user. The bottom line is you never want to place your whiteboard in a place that’s out of reach. Of course, this is just the guideline that we practice in our facility, and that’s not to say it’s the cardinal rule for whiteboard installations. If you want to take a deeper dive into the science of whiteboard installations, including ADA rules and guidelines for accessibility, we’ve put together this collection of rules and guidelines that can help you master your next whiteboard installation.

The 4/6/8 Rule
At its core, the 4/6/8 rule functions as a set of standards that determine the optimal display image size in any given presentation space. Depending on the intent of your dry-erase board—be it passive viewing, general information gathering, or inspection-based viewing—the image height of the board should be either 1/4th, 1/6th, or 1/8th the distance to the furthest viewer.

1/8th or Passive Viewing
The 1/8th viewing distance is perfect for spaces where general visual content will be displayed-think along the lines of webcam calls, movies, and YouTube videos. Typically, this content doesn't involve detail-oriented graphics, and when paired with a combination of audio and visual cues, can be easily digested. For example, in the case that you're setting up a project where passive viewing is the primary function of the display surface, and the furthest viewer is 30' from the board, the minimum image height your display surface can support should be 3.75' tall.

1/6th or General Viewing
The 1/6th viewing distance works best in environments where information is retained but is not critical for comprehension of the presentation as a whole (PowerPoint presentations, classroom notes, word processing, etc.). This type of content is the most common use case for general conference rooms in the US where a discussion is driven by what's displayed but does not necessarily require an in-depth inspection of an image or diagram. So, for the room where the furthest viewer is 30' from the display unit, the minimum height of the display surface should be just under 5' tall.

1/4th or Detailed/Inspection/Analytical Viewing
The 1/4th viewing distance is the most intimate and compelling angle of the 4/6/8 rule. Specifically used when inspecting highly detailed graphs and documents, like a CAD drawing or medical chart, this viewing distance should only be considered for presentation spaces where analytical interpretation and discussion of the display's content is of primary focus. If we were to revisit once again the presentation space where the furthest viewer would sit 30' away from the board or screen, the ideal height for the display unit would be 7.5'.

Generally speaking, most projects that require a whiteboard should fit nicely into one of these three categories. In the case that you may not know the exact intent of the presentation space, we recommend going with the 1/6th distance, as the majority of businesses and schools typically keep detailed inspection-based discussions to a more intimate small-group environment.

Determining The Height of Your Board

The ultimate goal when hanging any visual display surface is to provide a clear sightline for everyone in a designated presentation space. Finding the perfect height to accomplish this task is easier said than done, and quite honestly, there's no industry standard to get you started—but there are a few rules and regulations that can point you in the right direction.

Use ADA Accessibility Rules as a Baseline
In 2010 the Department of Justice published revisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) detailing the minimum and height requirements for signage as it relates to the ground level. The regulations state that the minimum height for signage be 48 inches above the ground, with the maximum height hanging 60 inches above the floor. While most visual display units do not qualify as "signage" under the ADA guidelines, many experts recommend using the 48-inch minimum as a preventative baseline for an end-user. The thought behind this recommendation is that the average height of a seated individual measures 36", and with the bottom of the display unit hanging at 48", the average viewer would not have their view of the display surface obstructed by another seated individual.

The 1/3rd Rule
According to joint recommendations developed by the leading global authority in home theater systems, CEDIA, and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, an ideal view of a display surface should not have an angle of greater than 15 degrees to the top or bottom of the screen. The 1/3rd rule takes note of CEDIA's recommendations and utilizes a formulaic approach similar to what's found in the 4/6/8 law to determine the best display height for any given space. Ideally, an architect or contractor should measure 1/3rd the distance between the display unit and the furthest seat in the room and use that measurement to determine the final height of the display unit. By sticking to this formula, the height of the display scales with the audience and limits the line of sight for those located in the back of the room.

In Conclusion

Both the size and location of your visual display unit can have a tremendous impact on the surface’s end-user, and as a result, you should treat every surface you install on a case-by-case basis. It is essential to understand that available space ultimately dictates the final placement of your whiteboard.

Thu Nov 2 2017
By: Mike P

With over 50 years experience in whiteboard manufacturing, we’ve happened to pick up a few surprising bits of information surrounding one of our most popular products. So without further ado, here are five fun whiteboard facts we’ve picked up throughout the Magnatag journey.

  1. The whiteboard was created after Martin Heit accidentally marked up a photographic negative with marker
    As the story goes, Martin Heit was a photographer that regularly worked with film negatives. Way back in the day before digital prints were a thing, photographers used to frequently mark film negatives by number as a way to organize multiple prints of a similar style in the event that an additional print was needed. One day in the late 1950s, as Martin was developing photos in his darkroom, he accidentally marked a film negative with permanent marker. After realizing his mistake, Heit instinctively tried to erase the marking, only to learn that the marker wiped away easily. As a result, Heit accidentally stumbled upon the invention of a dry erase board and took it to market a few years later.

  2. Dry Erase Boards Work Thanks To A Reaction Between An Oily Silicone Polymer Found In Dry Erase Markers and A Non-Porous Surface
    All markers primarily consist of three components: color pigments, a solvent, and a polymer. The big difference between a dry erase and permanent marker is the type of polymer that is used in the manufacturing process. Dry erase markers are created with an oily silicone polymer, which helps the ink dry quickly. This type of lubricating surface acts as a barrier preventing the color pigments from binding to the surface of the whiteboard. The ink sticks to the outermost layer of the board, preventing any permanent damage to the surface itself.

  3. The First Commercial Whiteboard Was Designed To Be Used Alongside a Home Phone
    As you can see in the advertisement above, the first documented commercial-use dry erase board was designed for taking note while talking on the phone. The boards were available in three separate colors—pink, yellow, beige, and white— to match the colors most commonly associated with home phones. Branded as the Plasti-Slate, this dry erase board was designed and manufactured by Martin Heit.

  4. The First Whiteboard Pen Wasn’t Invented Until 1975—Nearly 20 Years After Martin Heit Discovered The Whiteboard
    Prior to the invention of the dry erase marker in 1975, all whiteboards were considered wet-erase, meaning ink could only be erased with a damp cloth. A scientist at Techform Laboratories, Jerry Woolfe, invented the dry erase marker we know today. There’s not a ton of information covering how or why Woolfe created the dry erase marker, but the marker made its public debut sometime around 1980.

  5. The Algorithms Found On The Whiteboards Of 2016’s Arrival Were Developed With The Help Of Leading Physicists
    It’s usually safe to assume that the detailed math algorithm you see scribbled across a whiteboard on the set of a major Hollywood blockbuster is completely made up—and 99.9% of the time, that’s a safe bet. In the case of 2016’s sci-fi blockbuster Arrival, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The film’s producers contacted Stephen Wolfram, world-renowned computer scientist, physicist, and businessman, to help develop the alien language and time-travel mechanics used throughout the film. It’s an odd bit of detail indeed, but one that makes the film all the more interesting on repeat watches. Stephen posted a lengthy post about his experience on the film over on his personal blog, which we highly recommend checking out.

If all this whiteboard talk has you thinking about how you can use a dry erase board in your office, feel free to check out the rest of our website for over 2300 unique whiteboard systems.

Fri Oct 20 2017
One element of our manufacturing process that helps make Magnatag whiteboards stand out from the rest of the competition is our ability to customize any whiteboard to your liking. Whether you're looking to include a company logo, create a one-of-a-kind chart, or map a specific area on a dry erase board, our team of visual systems specialists can get it done. With 2018 just around the corner, we're revisiting some of our favorite custom whiteboards we've manufactured this past year.

It’s safe to say that if you’re a Magnatag customer, you have a vested interest in visual management. For our manufacturing customers in particular, this comes as part of a continuing drive to incorporate lean manufacturing principals into a factory’s culture. We developed this custom solution to help a Florida-based manufacturing company track and manage their 6S housekeeping method across three separate shifts. Each day of the week has been split into three separate columns, with each representing the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shift respectfully. Daily housekeeping chores are listed along the left-hand side of the board, with workers expected to complete each task once per shift. With the help of this visual management whiteboard, equipment operators are reminded of their responsibilities and held accountable for their completion.

This board is unlike anything you’ll find on our website. Developed for the coach of a high school baseball team, this board was designed to strategize in-game scenarios directly from the dugout. Prior to contacting Magnatag, the coaches were having a difficult time making adjustments to their game plan in-between innings; there wasn’t a tool in place to help quickly communicate position assignments to the entirety of the roster. “We’re super happy with the board. The color is great, the printing is nice and clean— it’s already making a huge impact on how we approach our game plan both before, after and during a game.”

This next board may remind you of one of our more traditional whiteboard systems—and for good reason. This board was developed after one elevator repair company discovered our line of maintenance tracking whiteboard systems. The company was looking for a system that could help identify when an elevator was shutdown, why it was shutdown, and the mechanics and supervisors that were responsible for remedying the situation. The company loved the idea behind our maintenance trackers but felt as if they needed a system that was more in line with their day-to-day operating procedures. Using our Repairs Schedule whiteboard system as a blueprint and the guidance of our Visual Systems Specialists, the company’s maintenance team was able to create a customized solution that included all the tracking information that management needed.

Sometimes finding a tool to motivate your employees requires a bit of creativity from management to get the ball rolling. This whiteboard was designed as a creative way to remind employees at an Ohio-based automotive manufacturer about the environmental impact of an unresponsive auto-part. At its core, the board functions as a basic KPI tracker, indicating when a defective part has been manufactured against company and industry standards. However, rather than attribute a plain number to the problem, the company elected to bring a bit of personality to their tracking metrics. Each leaf represents a specific day of the month and is to be colored in after each shift to highlight any performance issues. The board helps reinforce the idea that defective products can have an impact on the environment and encourages machine operators to be conscious of their performance.

Not all of our customers are using our whiteboards for tracking purposes; some just want to visualize what’s happening. In the case of this whiteboard, we prepared for a California construction company, they wanted to map the entirety of their building efforts spread throughout the Los Angles Area. Using a collection of Magnatag’s own magnets, the company plotted sites for both current and future promises. “We have our map hanging up in our front office. All of our visitors can walk into our building and get an overview of the entire scope of our operations.”
Large or small; color or black and white; our design and manufacturing teams are standing by to help create the perfect whiteboard for you. Contact us directly at 800 624 4154 or email us at sales@magantag.com.

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