So, you’ve convinced your organization to invest in digital signage, and now it’s up to you to start unlocking the benefits. What’s next?
The next step is developing content for your displays. You’ve likely uploaded some content to your displays already, but just one or two templates won’t do the trick—you need an assortment of cultivated templates and content displays that showcase every aspect of your brand messaging.
And while great digital signage templates are available for free online along with several free design tools for content creation, the best results from a digital signage investment come from a brand that designs their own, customized content. But not just any content—it needs to be professional, high-quality and backed by market research. To that end, let’s delve into common design mistakes in digital signage that can hold you back.
1. A Lack of Focus
Like all marketing materials, digital signage content must focus on a particular audience. Targeted content is the only way you’ll be able to craft messages that engage readers and motivate them to action.
What type of messaging do they respond to? Is there a specific time of day when most people will see your signs? What outcomes are you expecting from them? This research is the backbone of digital signage content creation, and trying to engage readers without it will leave you blind in one eye.
2. No Supporting Structure
Structural issues are one of the most common design mistakes in digital signage. After finding a focus, signage owners need a strategy for their content. If the focused content is the backbone of your digital signage, then your overarching strategy will provide structure and support.
Questions to ask here include:
- How many content slides will you produce?
- How often will they be rotated?
- What content will be displayed on which day?
- Which slides will act as informational resources?
- Where will calls to action be featured?
Lock down this guiding framework before you start creating your content.
3. No Visual Hierarchy
One of the most important elements of design for digital signage, websites, and just about any marketing material, is the visual hierarchy.
Visual hierarchy involves using design, formatting, and spacing to clearly delineate which on-screen elements are most important. You’ll see this everywhere, particularly on the internet. Headers in large, bold font describe the overall piece. Subheadings offer a quick summary of what their accompanying section entails. Generally speaking, the biggest and boldest on-screen elements will have the most visual weight and are what your viewers will notice first.
Keep this in mind as you design your slide content. Identify which statements are most important, and design the rest of the content around them. The goal is to make it easy to tell what each slide’s message is without having to spend too long staring at it. And with that in mind…
4. Cluttered Slides
Each content slide needs to be focused, with one singular takeaway that audiences can ascertain at a glance.
This is one of the more amateur design mistakes in digital signage. Adding too much clutter into each slide will confuse viewers and make it unclear about what message is being presented. Remember, content slideshows rotate on a timer, meaning that viewers have only a brief window to view each slide’s message. Keep it simple to help them retain your message.
5. Too Much Text
Think about the last digital sign you saw. How much text was featured on the screen? Chances are, the text itself was minimal, with some images and stylistic design choices pulling most of the visual weight.
The reason for this is the same reason you need to avoid clutter: Short, punchy statements will have more impact than long, rambling diatribes. In the interest of keeping your slides clean and straightforward, keep the text brief. Plus, shorter statements are more likely to actually be read by passing view.
6. Dull and Bland Content
The above rules might seem restrictive, but brief messages don’t have to be boring.
Make sure you’re utilizing all of your signage capabilities in your slides. Color, dynamic visuals, animated clips, and audio can spice up even the dullest messaging. Use your text to push each slide’s key value proposition while using support elements to make it more appealing.
7. Wild Colors and Contrast
Before you start splashing colors across your content, hold on a second. Eye-catching designs are great, but not all colors work together in a template. Have you ever seen a DIY flyer posted in a college coffee shop with purple backgrounds, garish yellow print, and messes of colors that burn your eyes when you look at it? Chock that up to one of the many design mistakes in digital signage to avoid.
Clashing colors reduce the visual appeal of a slide and guarantee that their eyes won’t be on it for very long. If you want to create content on your own, you need to get familiar with the color wheel and the elements of design. Avoid contrasting colors and be wary about using too many contrasting elements in each template.
Don’t Get Tripped Up By Your Design
It’s not easy to design content in-house, which is why so many users end up outsourcing the process to digital signage providers. Regardless, it is possible as long as you keep the following best practices for digital signage design in mind.
- Start with a market research-backed plan for content creation
- Establish a key, singular value proposition for each slide
- Design the visual hierarchy of each slide around this message
- Balance the design of each slide by strategically using formatting, white spaces, images, and complementary colors
With these tips in mind, you can avoid the most common design mistakes in digital signage and guarantee that each slide you create will be as engaging and stylish as you need it to be.