Every detail of digital signage design matters. From background colors and images to font types, each element has just as much influence on your message as the actual written content. The wrong choices can not only make the signage text difficult to read, but it can also give the wrong impression to your audience.
With that in mind, our three-part Digital Signage Fonts Guide will look at best practices for selecting the font type, the font color and font pairings for your digital signage content.
Chapter 1 of our series explored font forms and the advantages of choosing different typefaces for digital signage content, and Chapter 2 introduced color into the equation. Chapter 3 will help brands avoid common font pairing mistakes and make design choices that best fit both their audience and their industry.
Some basics rules can act as design guidelines when beginning to narrow down font choices. These general rules can help businesses take steps in the right direction.
- Typically, sans-serif and serif fonts pair well together. Serif fonts tend to have a more traditional look because they include “feet” or decorative edges that are meant to mimic pen strokes. Sans-serif fonts do not have any extending lines and are considered more contemporary. Paring these two types can create a pleasant contrast that makes text more legible.
- Bolder sans-serif fonts and regular sans-serif fonts work well together. Another way to create contrast is to combine both bold and regular sans-serif fonts. This is especially effective when a bold sans-serif font is used for a title or headline, and a standard sans-serif font is used for the body of the text. Using too many different types of fonts along with bolded text can create a chaotic screen.
- Avoid serif on serif designs. Because serif fonts tend to be more ornate, using them in conjunction throughout a digital signage display often appears overly formal.
Font Recommendations Based on Industry
Different businesses and industries are looking to convey images that evoke specific feelings from their target audiences. Certain font types lend themselves better to particular industries better than others. Here are some examples of how the right font can make all the difference between industries:.
Engineering: Engineers want to instill a sense of confidence in their clients by appearing professional and straightforward. The right font choice will be easy to read and interesting enough to grab the audience’s attention. Because this is a highly skilled and traditional field, it is a good idea to take a more formal approach. Elido and Baskerville are both solid choices that fit all the goals listed.
Creative Professions: Marketers, designers, and other creative professionals will want to take a more casual approach to design. They want to appear contemporary and innovative, which means clean and clear fonts that find the right balance between being fun and professional. Avant Garde Gothic and STXinwei are sans-serif fonts that may be useful for those who work in more creative fields.
Law Firms and Banks: Both of these fields rely on creating a strong sense of trust with customers. It is important that clients feel confident that their lawyer or banker is smart, capable and has their best interests in mind. This means choosing more formal and traditional fonts that provide a sense of brevity. Georgia and Odile Initials fit the bill in this case.
Fonts to Avoid
No digital signage font guide would be complete without a list of absolute “no’s.” These are fonts that should be immediately taken out of consideration and avoided at all costs:
- Comic Sans – While this font is one of the most popular fonts in the world, its childlike qualities makes it too casual and will erode the credibility of any business.
- Papyrus – Papyrus was designed to create the look and feel of putting a calligraphy pen to textured paper. The result is a less than sophisticated font that appears more gimmicky than professional.
- Curlz – As the name implies, Curlz features letters with curlicues. It is too cute and too illegible to be used for anything serious or business related.
- Bradley Hand – This is another example of a childish font that just doesn’t translate well to design.
- Stencil – Again, the idea behind stencil is creative, but it simply isn’t easy to read or useful from a design perspective, especially when businesses are trying to convey important information.
- Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri – Yes, these are popular fonts, but using them in professional displays make it look like there wasn’t much thought put into the design process. They’re generally the default option, so it looks like you didn’t bother to choose a font at all.
There is a lot of freedom when it comes to creating a polished and engaging digital signage display, but too many choices can also lead to bad design decisions. Use this digital signage font guide to help steer the creative process and avoid common pitfalls that can eat away at the effectiveness of displays. Using the right font, along with other complementary design elements, can create engaging tools that also provide a valuable ROI.