The Best Design for Digital Signage

By Graham Gilhooley
Senior Creative at 20/20 Productions

When it comes to digital signage, it’s easy to get hung up on the latest innovations. But while investing in new technology is certainly important, to really get the most out of digital signage, good design is key.

Digital signage lends itself to engaging and captivating displays — it is made for so much more than just showing static messages on screens. To boost your digital signage, there are some good design principles to follow as a guide. Done right, these well-designed digital displays will really capture the imagination — and attention — of anyone who sees them.

Here are some digital signage design tips to make your displays pop.

Introduce Moving Parts

To extend the level of interaction and engagement with your digital signage displays, feature an element that will grab attention, especially when the signage is located in a busy environment surrounded by lots of other visual stimuli. Moving graphics and animations are a great way of bringing life and vibrancy to your setup.

Give key elements of your signage a bit of character and it will really stand out and connect with your audiences. However, I would advise against making absolutely every part of your display animated, that’s just going to be hard for people to process and will probably end up with your audience turning away. You want to capture the attention of passers-by but make content easily digestible at a glance with minimal distractions.

Instead, if there is a particular aspect of your messaging that you really want to emphasize — be it a new feature on your latest product, a strapline or even your company logo, you can isolate this and make it the main moving part of the sign to make it standout. Or alternatively, focus on the animation of elements entering the screen, leave them static for a few moments so viewers can process the information and then animate them out in one smooth flow.

Videos Can Illustrate Your Point

Video can add depth and dimension to your digital signage and can even extend the level of interaction and engagement with your displays. By adding short clips that help to illustrate your message, you can tell a gripping story that takes your audience along with you.

If you don’t want to feature real people in your video, opt for an animated explainer — these can condense your information and convey your ideas in a quirky and captivating way. Keep it short and sweet — with so many messages competing for your audience’s attention, you only have a few seconds to make yours sink in — so make them count!

Alternatively, give the whole display a professional look by making the background itself the moving part — it can transform slowly for a subtle but effective background for all key messages.

Keep It Simple

If you want to get your key messages across — perhaps at an event or even in a work environment, then well-designed digital displays can be super effective ways of sharing them.

These can of course be communicated in a variety of different ways, but if you’re opting for text-based messaging, then you’ll need to make this as interesting and appealing to the eye as possible — otherwise grabbing your audience’s attention will be difficult.

Opt for captivating colour schemes and bold typography — work within your brand guidelines, but where possible, use strong colour contrast to engage your viewers.

The most important thing here is not to over-message. You don’t want your audience to just become confused by what’s going on or switch off entirely. Limit what you are saying and present it creatively, in bite size snippets. Make it easier for your audiences to engage with your key messages by asking less of them.

Test It Out

If you’re not sure how impactful your new digital signage design is, a good test is to ask yourself is, ‘does my new design make my messaging easier to understand?’ You can test this out on friends and colleagues — briefly show them your design and ask them what they got from it. If their answer matches what you had in mind, you’re onto a winner — if not, it’s back to the drawing board.

Ultimately, a good design is functional. Aim to use your digital signage in a way that attracts and holds your audience’s attention and helps them to easily understand the message you are trying to get across.

There are so many ways to change up the design of your digital signage to increase its capacity to engage and connect with audiences. If you’re used to using standard templates in your signage, I’d encourage you to branch out and give new designs a go, using design software like the Adobe Creative Suite and digital signage platforms like Smoke Signal to enable you to dynamically change digital on-screen content in real time. It might take a little while to get comfortable with these new methods but getting your design right is so worth it in the long run. You’ll stand out and be much more memorable to your audiences, ultimately attracting more interest in your company and your key messages.