If you aren't quite confident about what you're doing, designing material for digital signs might provide you with several challenges. Because of this, we have developed a best practices guide for your use.
You may access a wide variety of high-quality digital signage templates online. They make it possible for you to effortlessly produce content without requiring any design expertise (but it's never a terrible idea to have a designer make branded templates for you to use).
If, on the other hand, you are developing anything fresh, it would be helpful to have some pointers on the ideal layouts, dimensions and font sizes. Check out the followings things that you should have at the back of your mind:
1. Digital signage aspect ratios
Digital TV displays are always made with the same aspect ratio, which is not the case when designing for the web. This is a 16:9 aspect ratio for a landscape screen and a 9:16 aspect ratio for a portrait screen. Consequently, you need to adjust the aspect ratio of your designs to either 16:9 or 9:16. Check your device size if it's not a standard TV screen; this may alter if you're developing for a display like an iPad (iPads have a 4:3 ratio) or LED screen with a custom aspect ratio of 32:14, for example.
2. Display resolution for digital signage
The "display resolution" of a screen is also crucial. What this means is the number of visible pixels on a screen. Generally speaking, the more pixels a photograph has, the better it will seem. The clarity of the image and whether or not the screen resolution qualifies as "high definition" are determined by the number of pixels present. Displaying low-res pictures on digital signage displays is a bad idea for several reasons.
Standard pixel sizes for common display technologies are as follows:
- 1/4 HD (960 x 540)
- Common HD resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels.
- Full High Definition (1920 x 1080)
- 3840 by 2160 (ultra HD or 4K).
If you can, try to have, your digital signage display pictures and videos not less than at a resolution of 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels in height.
3. Layouts for digital signage content
Several excellent layouts may be used for digital signage displays to aid the readability of any text shown. For example, Look DS has a Layout Designer tool that makes work easier.
When designing digital signage, it's important to take into account the following factors:
- Leave enough space
Your design needs "safe space" around the edges, so it doesn't get cut off on the TV screen. Like a bleed in print, this ensures that your text doesn't get clipped off at the edges.
- Focus on the path your audience's eyes will take
When arranging material, use the "F Pattern" to place items from left to right (or right to left) since this is where most people's eyes will go. The traditional rule of thirds composition recommends positioning important elements at the content's intersections, which the human eye finds more aesthetically pleasing.
- Use the 3x5 text rule
The 35 rule might help you decide how much text to use. The name of this format implies that you write in no more than three lines, with no more than five words in each line. Your message will always be clear and simple to read, no matter how little time you have.
- Organize material according to a hierarchy
Like any other material, your digital signage design could include certain information that is more important than what comes after. It should immediately grab your attention, such as a catchy headline, enticing offer or striking picture.
- Test the call to action
Commercial experience has taught us that words have the power to either attract or repel readers. There are several instances online of how altering a single word in a call to action led to a dramatic increase in support for a campaign, such as when Barack Obama switched the term "Sign Up" in his CTA to "Learn More" and got millions more in donations. You may experiment with words, forms, durations, and actions on digital billboards. Keep in mind the visual noise that may surround your title as well. Is the message strengthened if more is taken from the text?
4. Avoid confusing fonts and sizes
The writing on many digital signs devices needs to be bigger for easy reading. The following advice may be of assistance:
- The typical viewing distance for digital billboards is 7-10 feet.
- For legibility, use a sans-serif font, such as Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana.
- One can read a 20-30 point font from 7 feet away, even though a 100-point font can be read from 26 feet out.
5. Make use of contrasting hues
Digital signage design relies heavily on contrasting color palettes, with light writing on dark backgrounds and darker text on light becoming progressively more important as the viewer moves back from the screen.
Experiments with digital billboards show that the most successful color schemes include stark contrasts. It seems to sense that this would be the case; if your content is distinct from its surroundings, it would be simpler to read.
6. Verify sound
You've probably already thought about whether or not your display supports audio. Live video, streaming, news feeds, YouTube, social networking, and so on may all benefit from the use of sound on TV displays. If the media you enjoy has audio, check that it is both audible and acceptable for the space you're in.
The YouTube app may be set to display just the videos you want, but there's still a chance you'll hear something you don't want to hear if you watch music videos or live TV.
7. Make zones
When you must present numerous pieces of material at once, a zoned digital signage display is a wonderful option. For instance, several zoning templates might guide partitioning your screen in the Look DS software's Layout Designer.
8. Dwell time design guidelines
Knowing what to display and when to show it is crucial to digital signage content creation. You may use the following recommendations as a rough estimate of how long the content will be displayed:
- Passer-by, shopper, and other short-term viewers: 30 seconds
- 30 seconds to 2 minutes for intermediate viewing
- Two to thirty minutes for long-term viewing (at an office, restaurant, or waiting room).
This gives you a blank slate to create your content and adjust its timing following the time a given visitor will spend looking at it. Offices with longer viewing times may benefit from two 30-minute playlists playing in a cycle, whereas a storefront window may need a minute or two of continuous content play.
Of course, boundaries exist to be pushed, and digital signage is one area where innovation is welcome. These guidelines serve as a starting point as you search for the most engaging material for your digital signage network.