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Adaptive Display's Digital Signage Blog

Digital Signage Text and Visual Design Guidelines

Posted by Chad Bogan on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

Digital signage helps a business win over the attention of targeted customers in a very short time span. It is important to know certain elements during the design stage to optimize the returns on your investment. It pays to pay attention to important elements such as texts, visuals and colors. 

Make your sign design is appropriate for your target audience and your business. 

Bring success to your digital signage by making it entertaining and effective. Here are a few things to keep in mind: 


People won't give your sign a chance if the text is not clear. Remember, less is more when using text. Your target audience only have 3 to 6 seconds to read and react to your message. 

  • Use large, readable text font to make your sign viewable from a normal viewing distance.
  • Use text colors that contrast well with the background.
  • Use Sans-Serif Fonts (such as Verdana or Tahoma) or bold text interfaces (such as Arial Black and Impact)
  • Avoid 3D texts and glossy texts with effects or shadows
  • Use the best color combinations.
  • Limit the use of capital letters as it makes the message harder to be read from a distance.
  • Fit the sign to the size of the letters.


People recognize an attractive graphic instantly. Make your sign visually interesting to not only attract but also to improve reader retention. Images should complement and not take attention away from your message. Add images that will help viewers remember your message. 

You can increase visual interest by varying the design size, fonts, hues, colors, shapes and emphasis. 

  • Use standard aspect ratios (such as 4:3 or 16:9)
  • Match the graphic or video size with the output resolution
  • Avoid overloading your sign with too much images
  • Adjust the graphics appropriately with the sign resolution
  • Add border to bring focus directly to the center of the sign 

Also, spread your message out. Take a look at your message from your audience's viewpoint. 

  • From 500 feet:  passersby glance at your business in an instant
  • From 250 feet:  customers recognize your signage, prompting impulse-buy response
  • From 100 feet: consumers can get to view two to four presentations
  • From 75 feet: customers are finding a way to turn in and buy, or has a made a note to return later


The most important design principle is "keeping it simple." A good design communicates effectively. It is not a place for writing lengthy sentences and paragraphs. 

Remember that you have to know when to stop adding more. Writing an active, headline-style phrase or a single word can draw lots of attention. 

You have to capture your audience attention in a few seconds. Digital signage is more about communication at a glance. 

  • Use action words and active voice
  • Write in short phrases rather than full sentences
  • Use one focused message or call to action
  • Avoid overcrowding your sign with too much visuals, texts, videos or words
  • Ad duration should not be greater than 10 seconds

Tags: Content Creation for Outdoor LED Signage