Creating content for digital signage is a fun, creative process that lets you experiment with design elements like color, contrast, text and arrangement. However, don’t forget that the goal is to impart information. In design – form always follows function. So, it’s important to have a basic understanding of some design rules to make sure your content is readable as well as pretty. Here are our top 6 digital signage design tips:
Rule number 1 – Contrast and legibility
Your message can get lost if the viewer can’t easily separate the elements of your design. Contrast is the primary factor for legibility – poor contrast reduces legibility, good contrast improves it. Always make sure there’s plenty of contrast between your background and foreground colors, especially for text.
Rule number 2 – The 3 x 5 rule
Words on the screen are there to communicate a clear, concise message. Don’t clutter your designs with too much text. Keep the type size large for readability at a distance, and present only the most important information. Try not to use more than three lines of text of five words each OR five lines of text of three words each.
Rule number 3 – Text styles
Unless you’re duplicating a brand or logotype, keep the font simple and legible. Never use more than two fonts in a single design and use italics sparingly, as they can be hard to read from a distance. Also, large text and bold lettering can help improve readability.
A “serif” font is a typeface that has small strokes on each character, like Times New Roman. Serif fonts are better for long text like books, because they help the human eye track from one word to the next. Fonts like Arial that don’t have serifs are called “sans serif” and tend to be easier to read in short messages.
Rule number 4 – Color and Perception
Color creates good contrast, and color choices should place your foreground elements, like text, perceptually in front of your background design
In the digital world, three basic colors are used for color mixing: red, green, and blue (known as RGB). All other colors are created from these three. White is combination of all three RGB colors and black is the absence of color. The human eye is most sensitive to green, with red coming in second, and our eyes are least sensitive to blue. To improve your designs:
- Use contrasting colors – light on dark or dark on light
- Understand what your viewer’s eye is drawn to
- Control the impact of information
Rule number 5 – Focus Techniques
Use focus techniques to guide the eye to critical information first and create a visual hierarchy in your design. Headlines, graphics, bright colors and high contrast items will pull the eye to them. Size also tells the audience the priority of design elements, as does their arrangement, angles and open space.
Rule number 6 – Previewing
When previewing your designs, consider where your eye goes first and adjust your design to ensure that the most important elements take priority. Test readability and visibility on your own monitor before publishing out to digital signs. A good tip is to stand back from your monitor at least five feet because this simulates your audience’s perspective for viewing screens at a distance.
Want more design guidance? Watch our Content Tips videos and listen to these podcasts:
- Digital Signage Design Primer 1 – Basic Foundations
- Digital Signage Design Primer 2 – Practical Tips
- Storytelling and Text Tips for Digital Signs
- Image Tips for Digital Signs
- Call to Action Examples & Advice for Digital Signage
- Measuring the Effectiveness of Digital Signage Designs