While many design best practices still apply to digital signage design, there are a few unique considerations. The 8 tips below help professional designers expand their services to include digital. They also help DIY designers who prefer to their Digital Signage Design content in-house.
#1 Desired Viewing Distance
Before we dive into factors such as size, scale, and ratio—let’s address your desired viewing distance. Not all digital signs are custom-built for high-definition clarity. If the sign you are designing for is HD, the sky is the limit. You can post images, videos, 3D and 4D motion graphics, text, and more. If your sign isn’t HD, you can still create a stunning and compelling design. The key is understanding what your parameters are before you begin.
Start with the pixel pitch. This is how close together the LEDs are placed within each module of the sign.
- The higher the pixel pitch, the lower the resolution.
- The lower the pixel pitch, the higher the resolution.
However, not all signs require ultra-high definition. For example, if your sign is mounted high off the ground and designed for long-distance viewing, you may choose a higher pixel pitch.
The closer a sign is to eye-level, the smaller the pixel pitch to ensure clear short-distance viewing.
That being said, the overall screen size plays a factor too. It may be helpful to begin by designing a simple series of graphics from small to large so that you can see how they display on the screen you are designing for.
#2 Design Ratios
Signs can be designed in any square or rectangular shape. So, your digital signage design ratios must be created for either horizontal or square (portrait) designs. This differs from other types of digital mediums, where you may be able to get away with creating one design ratio and using that design for a variety of platforms.
- The design ratio for horizontal screens should be 16:9.
- The design ratios for square/portrait should be 9:16.
The exception to this rule is if you are utilizing a software system that automatically adjusts the ratio. Either way, be mindful as a horizontal design may not look as visually appealing when autoformatted for a square screen—and vice versa.
Always test before you go live.
#3 Display Resolution
In addition to pixel pitch, you must consider the display resolution of your design. This is the difference between a graphic looking flat or multi-dimensional—either 2, 3, or 4-dimensional.
Here is a general resolution guideline:
- 960 x 540 pixels – quarter HD
- 1280 x 720 pixels – standard HD or “HD ready”
- 1920 x 1080 pixels – full HD
- 3840 x 2160 pixels – ultra-HD
Whenever possible, the images and videos you share on your digital signage design should be 1920 wide by 1080 pixels tall.
#4 Image File Size
When Wi-Fi is spotty, file size becomes of greater importance. Take a proactive approach to what you can’t control by keeping your files between 2 to 3 MBs. That way when the internet connection is less than its best, your design will shine.
#5 Content Layout
Less is more! You may be tempted to add more design elements to your sign. It’s oversized so why not? Although your screen is large, viewing times are typically seconds. So, keep it simple—just like you would a printed advertisement.
Also keep in mind that:
- Because screens and frames differ, don’t design elements to the edges as they may get cut off.
- Unless the screen is eye-level and designed for informational purposes (maybe to display time, date, weather, traffic, and flight times) keep text to a minimum. No more than 3 lines total, with 5 words per line.
- Create color-coded and contrasting zones for signs that post information or data.
- Place key information front and center or positioned in a manner that it stands out.
- If multiple messages or lines of text are required, organize content by importance. For example, if you are posting 5 rules of conduct—post the most important rules first.
#6 Ensure Text Pops
Creative fonts are fun, but your font must pop. The edges must be clean and crisp, the sizing right for the viewing distance, and the color must contrast with the background. Some of the most popular fonts for digital signage design are Arial, Helvetica, and Veranda.
Here is a general rule to follow for font size:
- Use 20 to 30-point fonts for signs with a viewing distance of up to 7 feet.
- Use 50 to 60-point fonts for signs with a viewing distance of up to 15 feet.
- Use 100-point fonts for signs with a viewing distance of up to 26 feet.
#7 Prioritize Contrast
Prioritizing contrast is a standard design concept, but it must be mentioned. Full HD signs can display 281 trillion hex colors, making it easy to get carried away. So yes, utilize vibrant and branded colors—but never forget the importance of contrast.
Size and scale contribute to how effective contrast is for vibrant colors. So, the brighter the background the more negative space is required. Don’t be afraid to be bold in your digital signage design, but never lose sight of contrast.
#8 Timing Is Everything
Some digital designs will be static, but you or your client may also want to alternate between a variety of displays. This means you must keep timing in mind, including how long each display remains on the screen, how long the average passerby will view it, and how much information there is to consume. Each display can be programmed for a different length of time.
- You have 10 seconds or less to engage those who drive by or ride by on public transportation.
- You have 30 seconds or less to engage those who walk by your sign.
- You have 30+ seconds to engage consumers in your lobby, elevators, or reception area.
- You have 2 minutes or more for those in your waiting room or who are in line at your cash register.
In Need Of An HD Sign To Bring Your Design To Life?
If you are in need of a new sign to share your digital designs, we invite you to reach out to Mega LED Technology today. We custom-build signs to your precise size, specs, and viewing distance. Let’s get started!