DIY Digital Signage Themes

As we discussed in our custom digital signage themes blog, it’s always best to use layouts and templates tailored to your organization.

If you’re feeling creative and are skilled at Photoshop, you can create your own DIY digital signage theme.

Layout Backgrounds

First, you’ll need to create your layout background:

  • Make sure you’re designing at the appropriate resolution for your screens (1920 x 1080 is very common, but check the display specifications to be sure).
    • In Photoshop, you’ll want to create or place your background design, color, gradient or image so that fills the entire image area at that resolution. This is the base of your layout.
    • It’s always a good idea to include your logo in one of the corners of your layout for branding. Horizontal formats work best so the logo doesn’t appear too small.
  • Next, create your content blocks. The easiest way to ensure you use the correct aspect ratios is to create a black box at either 400×300 pixels, 1600×900 pixels, or some multiplier of your actual content block aspect ratio. You can also insert your blocks and then enlarge them. Just be sure that you lock the ratio, so you’re expanding both the height and width of the blocks equally.
    • Place your blocks where you want them on the layout. Don’t forget space for tickers and date/time!
    • If you want borders or shadows applied to your blocks, do those next. Be sure to put these layers underneath the actual content blocks.
  • Now you’ll want to figure out your content block coordinates. We always suggest you put these right into the layout for easy reference in AxisTV.
    • Make sure that both Layers and Info are turned on in your Photoshop workspace.
    • Select the entire area of a content block. The easiest way to do this is to select the layer of that block and right click. Choose Free Transform.
    • IT’S VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT ACTUALLY ALTER THE CONTENT BLOCK – JUST USE FREE TRANSFORM AS A SELECTION TOOL.
    • Now check the Info box. It will give you the x, y, w and h coordinates for the block.
    • Create a new layer with these coordinates. White text overlaid to appear inside your black content boxes works nicely.

Once you’ve done this for each of your content blocks, your layout is done. We recommend at least three different layouts for variety, so keep the same background image and move your logo and content blocks around to create a few more.

Keeping the same content block sizes will ensure that you can use message backgrounds across all of your layouts. Remember that you’ll need to update the coordinates on each individual layout.

Message Backgrounds

Message backgrounds are a lot more straightforward. Simply plan your topics and then design as many as you like in the aspect ratios you’re using:

  • Keep your color scheme to just a few colors. The busier and more colorful your layout background, the cleaner your message background designs should be.
  • We often use a single accent color for title areas, highlighted text and icons; and then we use grey tones for accent and ghost images in the background as grayscale.

Whatever messages you choose, it’s always a good idea to pop them into your layouts to make sure they work well in the overall design scheme.

Now you’re ready to import your designs into AxisTV, create your layouts and get going! If you’d like some inspiration, check out our creative services gallery.