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Adaptive Display's Digital Signage Blog

LED Sign Content Rules and Best Practices

Posted by Chad Bogan on Mon, Dec 01, 2014

LED Sign Content Rules and Best Practices

Deciding to make use of a outdoor led digital sign is a giant step in the right direction.

It might look daunting, especially if it's the first time you're creating content. Perhaps, you're also wondering where to start and what to consider. Don't let these details stress you out!

If you already have an LED display, or thinking of having one, these tips should get you started when creating content to run onscreen.

Getting it Right

Before you start, make sure you're well-informed about local restrictions and moratoriums on LED sign animations. Some cities only allow stationary slides without any animations or slides that can only change once every few minutes.

Here are the basic rules to guide you when designing quality content specifically for LED signs.

Rule #1: Viewing time duration

Convey your message in less than 10 seconds.

Even without restrictions, it is important to consider the viewing time of your audience. Make sure that people can see the entire message, from start to finish, while passing by. Most of them are driving 30-40 mph and not sitting on the sofa waiting for the next TV show.

If you're content is good but is too long, there's a huge chance the people won't get to read your call to action.

Aim for a seven second per slide without any animations or 2 to 3 seconds slide transitions instead.

Rule #2: Text Formatting

LED signs and LCD TV's display quality are both different. Using 3D text, bevels or embosses (unless clearly defined) is not recommended. Also avoid glossy text effects or shades, as it makes your LED display pixelated. Choose the proper font size and style instead.

  • Use flat text and make the letters BIG!
  • Use bold two-dimensional font with an outline.

Small text suit PC monitors or LCD screens, but it's not good on LED signs. So better fill at least 1/4 of your screen with large texts.

Use Sans-Serif Fonts (i.e. Verdana or Tahoma) for it is more readable on screen. Or use bold text interfaces (ie. Arial Black and Impact) since it creates an outline and brings the text out of the background.

Rule #3 Contrasting Colors

High contrast means better visibility. LED signs stood out because of its contrasting colors.

Colors attract and connect viewers to the message. By incorporating contrasting colors in an LED design, it makes your sign viewable even from far distances.

For instance, red colors on green backgrounds are prevalent especially during the Holidays. But these colors are both very difficult to see on one another. Added to this is the fact that more than 10.5 million Americans who suffer red-green color blindness.

So consider using high contrast colors like dark green or yellow. If you need to use complimentary colors, make sure to add a contrasting third color to bring definition.

Some best color matches are: Black on Yellow, Black on White, Yellow on Black, Yellow on Blue, White on Blue, White on Green and Green on White.

Rule # 4 Simple and fresh content

Lesser copy tends to reach more people. An LED sign should only contain one focused message. It should have a strong selling point.

Most people stay away from reading lengthy materials. Also, without any new or useful content, people won't mind your sign anymore. Since LED signs allow you to upload new content every day, you can easily keep it fresh and updated.


  • Use short, meaningful and powerful words and copy for faster comprehension.
  • Simplicity, creativity and freshness are the fundamental guidelines for creating LED design content.

Get the most of your LED signs by with stronger content. LED displays attract attention and communicate messages, but they're only as good as the content you run on them. And, don't forget to test your content on the actual LED display.

Tags: Content Creation for Outdoor LED Signage