You have installed digital signage and it is connected to a CMS. Phew! But you’re not done yet.
It’s just as important to understand good digital signage design as it is to make sure your screens are turned on. You will need to learn how to format your content, how to make it readable and effective, and you might even encounter new terms such as “dwell.” Do not worry, we will explain that in this guide.
Don’t worry – we’ve compiled a list of the 10 commandments of good digital signage design to help you out. If you want to get started designing content using these principles, you can sign up for a free trial of Fugo. With Fugo, you can focus on publishing your content to your screens, without having to worry about file optimization, aspect ratios, and screen resolutions.
Let’s get into the scripture.
The 10 Commandments of Good Digital Signage Design
Thou Shalt Follow the Golden Ratio
The most important thing for every artist is to have the right canvas. When you’re designing content for screens, you have to take into account the dimensions and aspect ratio of the screens you’re working with. That’s different from other formats, like web or print. The two most common ratios for screens are 16:9 for landscape screens or 9:16 for portrait screens.
In addition, you need to take into account the resolution of your screen. The number of pixels in your screen determines the resolution of your screen. If you use low-resolution images or videos on a high-resolution screen, the image will be blurry and pixelated. It’s a good idea to check your manual to see what resolution your screen uses, because it won’t be determined by the size of your screen.
All these measurements can be overwhelming!
Don’t sweat though. Fugo’s Content Studio has an easy to use Resolution Selector that allows you to pick the appropriate resolution to display your content while you are designing it. The canvas of the digital signage can be flipped between 16:9 and 9:16 to preview how the content will look on the screens.
Thou Shalt Keep File Sizes Small
When working with images, audio, or video, you need to make sure the file size is not too large or too small. The maximum file size for videos is typically between 2 and 3MB.
A higher file size usually means that you can have a better quality file. The audio quality will improve, images will be larger, and videos will be of higher resolution. You will want to balance the file size with the quality so that it does not take too long to download and does not use up too much storage.
Fugo can help you create digital signage content that is optimized for size and quality.
Thou Shalt Make Fonts & Text Legible
There is more to this than what would be assumed from a casual glance. Let’s explore a couple of key points in more detail.
Three by five
When designing digital signage, it is important to communicate as much information as possible using as few words as possible. Your viewers will not be reading the text on your screens up close and personal and might be walking past the screen as they read (rather than sitting down and taking the time to focus). As a result, the text on your screen needs to be easy to read from a distance.
When creating content, it is easy to overlook the needs of your audience. The Three By Five rule can help you keep your audience in mind.
This rule indicates that when writing, you should restrict yourself to either three rows of five words each, or five rows of three words each. It is helpful to focus your ideas and produce clear and concise text. This also prevents your screen from becoming cluttered with too much text. If you follow this rule, you can increase the font size, which will be helpful for digital signage content that might need to be read from a distance.
Size and styling
The key difference between digital signage and other media formats is the way content is viewed. We mentioned font sizing in the previous section, and it is particularly important for content on your displays because they will typically be looking at the screen from much further away than other media.
For best viewing, choose a font size of at least 20-30pt for your body text. This size is visible from around 7 feet away. This text size is a good compromise between having text that is too large and taking up too much space in your design, and having text that is so small that readers have to squint to see it.
When choosing a font for your website, you’ll also need to consider the style of the font, as well as the size. Surprisingly, your actual font choice makes a difference too. Sans-serif fonts, like Arial or Helvetica, are always the best choice. If your text includes serifs, it can be difficult for your readers to see the letters clearly, especially from a distance. This can make it difficult for them to understand what you’re trying to say. You’ll need to make sure your kerning (the space between letters within words) is big enough to prevent letters from looking like they’re merging (for example, a “c” and an “l” can easily look like a lowercase “d” on your displays if the kerning isn’t high enough.
Besides all of this, you’ll want to avoid using italics often. If you want to format your text for emphasis, it’s better to stick with bold or underlined.
Keep it simple
That was a lot to think about, right? Thankfully, this one’s pretty easy. Just don’t use too many different fonts. It is typically best to use one font for headings and another font for longer-form body text. It is generally best to avoid using more than three different fonts in a single slide. You can use fonts to create a hierarchy of importance for the information in your text, making it easier for readers to understand and remember. If you use too many fonts or have a confusing layout, readers will have a hard time understanding your content.
Thou Shalt Understand Thy Content’s Purpose
You can’t design your content without knowing what you want to achieve. In order to create successful content, the first step is to determine what the content needs to achieve.
You can improve your chances of creating content that is successful by taking the time to consider the need, asking relevant questions, compiling the requirements, and determining the success metrics. Remember that it is always useful to know more information, and you will be grateful to yourself for taking the time to learn it now. If your original solution doesn’t work out, don’t be surprised if you end up replacing it with something that does a better job of meeting your goals.
Thou Shalt Establish a Hierarchy
After you know what your goals are and have some ideas about how to achieve them, you can start planning the details of how you will execute your plan. Start by looking at your content from a broad perspective; think about all the written or visual elements that need to be included in the final product, like copy, calls-to-action, and links. The two most important factors to consider when choosing a career are its importance to you and your ability to be successful at it. You can create a more effective design by determining the relative importance of all your written and visual elements and prioritizing them accordingly. This will help you build an information hierarchy that will act as your guide.
You will be unable to create a visual hierarchy without first establishing a thought information hierarchy. By doing this, you will be able to produce content that flows together instead of being a bunch of disconnected visuals. In other words, visual noise. Good design is about presenting information in an easily digestible manner. Understanding the relative importance of your written and visual elements will help you make design decisions and ensure that your information is clear.
Thou Shalt Provide Adequate Spacing
Make sure that the visual and written elements in your design have enough space around them so that they are not crowded. It is okay to have negative space in a design. It can be great. If you allow yourself more space, your most important bits of information will have more impact, such as headlines or CTAs. Again, this is exactly what good design should do.
To ensure you have enough space, first arrange your content in the order of importance you established earlier. Then, consider how the spacing should complement that hierarchy. Most importantly, make sure your spacing is consistent. Your margin settings should be consistent throughout the document, with equal widths and heights, and the same leading for all types of text. If you have too much information to fit on the page, try removing some of it or using smaller spacing.
Thou Shalt Align Thy Elements
When designing your visual and written information, make sure that all of the elements are positioned in a way that is visually pleasing. Your design elements should always be aligned on the same line. As a non-designer, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to alignment. This alignment will create a clean design, without any unnecessary tension or focal points. People who are not designers can improve the quality of their designs by paying attention to making sure the written and visual elements are aligned in a simple and straightforward way.
Thou Shalt Coordinate Thy Colors
Using too many colors in a design in an attempt to make it more attractive is a common mistake made by people without design experience. This usually results in a lot of visual clutter and noise. This can be avoided by chose colors based on the feeling they give off.
You should consider what feeling you want your content to elicit. Watercolors can be made warmer by adding more orange, yellow, or red. If you want your content to appear calmer and more professional, choose a cool color, like purple, blue, or green.
Be careful of the meaning certain colors might have. For example, red may have a negative connotation, signifying cancellation or error. If the purpose of your content is happy and lighthearted, then using a color with a similar connotation, such as yellow or light blue, can be a great way to choose which colors to include in your design.
Thou Shalt Not Overuse Drop Shadows
A drop shadow is used to add depth and bring the affected information to the forefront. This is a great way to achieve the desired result for certain elements. If you use the effect too much, it will have the opposite effect. If you’re using the same effect, like a drop shadow, for every written or visual element, then you’re not making any particular piece of information stand out. You are making your design more complicated and difficult to understand by adding unnecessaryvisual elements. The most important thing to remember is that effects are best when used with a specific purpose in mind, rather than using them just for the sake of using them.
Thou Shalt Strive for Consistency
This means that if two or more design elements have the same purpose, they should have a similar appearance and behavior. The same look, feeling, and message should be present in every part of the brand. More specifically, all of the visual and written elements that serve the same purpose in an ebook should have a similar appearance.
For specific content, designers should use the same fonts and font sizes for text of the same kind. Ensure that any elements that you want people to take action on share similar colors, margins, widths, and heights. This will make it clear that those elements are related and encourage people to take action on them.
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