Digital signage screen – what to show on it?

Relevant content is a huge part of a good digital signage solution; not only aesthetically pleasing content, but content which is aimed at the correct target group, is up-to-date and has a clear sender. Of course, this is easier said than done. What to show on that screen? And how? are typical questions. So – let’s figure it out.

Aesthetically pleasing – create a visual structure with symmetry and contrasts

Symmetry will create harmony, balance and clarity. A balanced placed text will help the reader to understand the message. At the same way as a right or left aligned text can guide the reader to a specific goal or point on the screen. Therefore asymmetry can often be an exciting complement to a symmetrical layout.

Contrasts will ease up the ability to see a certain object or picture or to read a text. Mix black and white, small and big. It’s all about trial and error but watch out – don’t make the presentation messy. Regularity and simplicity is an important rule. Don’t be afraid to use spaces between paragraphs and pictures. Spaces are a good way to ease up the impression and making it easier for the viewer to read and understand the context.

For a corporate presentation, it is a good idea to have a general structure to your layout, i.e. for various components such as text, logos and colours to be compliant with your company’s graphic profile. By using a single layout throughout the entire presentation viewers will learn the layout and where the text is expected to turn up; this enhances legibility.

Always ask yourself how big the screen is and where it will be placed? Long distance calls for a bigger text and clearer pictures. Smaller screens may not be able to contain as many items and figures as a larger one, without the risk for a cluttered impression. Please take into account how long your viewers actually have time to watch your screen. Are they able to stay and read more carefully or do they just pass by whilst driving? Customise the content when taking these conditions into consideration.

Content – structured layout eases the impression

So, what to add on the screen? Pictures are one of the best things to add to a presentation to visually show a product or explain a service. One large picture can be used, as well as many small ones. The situation will often determine what works best. But keep in mind to pick pictures that match the message you’re trying to convey. Wrong or inappropriate photos or illustrations may ruin the whole presentation or distort the purpose.

A picture is worth a thousand words, yes. But often a picture and its message will be reinforced with clear words. A text is built up by a strong header and contains a well-formed body text. For a startling message, select an explosive headline. For a more nuanced impression, choose gentle words. Choice of words and sentence structure is important for how the message will be perceived and received.

There are hundreds and hundreds of fonts and different fonts are suitable in different contexts. It is recommended that you use as few font types in your presentation as possible. If possible, use fonts which show up clearly on screen. Cursive fonts and fonts with serifs (small lines or heels that are attached to the end of a letter, and create a visual line underneath a sentence) are often not at all clear on screen. Grotesque fonts, i.e. sans serif fonts which are completely straight, are the better choice for a screen presentation. Helvetica, Arial and Verdana are all examples of grotesque fonts.

Which colours to use can also be an important choice. Colours in the same tone may be perceived as harmony. Contrasting colours or complementary colours may create excitement. It can also be important to follow your company’s corporate colours to clarify the message and the sender.

Simplicity is key when it comes to displaying content. Use fades and movement for texts and images in order to enhance focus still further in your presentation. For example, bring in one text object at a time, or fade a logo in or out to indicate that the time for the message has passed. Don’t use too many different colours, fonts, pictures and messages in the same presentation. Keep it simple and clean and remember – the more the merrier.

A clear sender creates a clear brand

How the brand is presented is strongly associated with viewers’ perception of the company. Think about it, how do you want to be perceived? How should your company, your products and your solutions be exposed? What feeling do you want it to evoke? It is important in all situations to follow your company’s corporate guidelines to tie together all the threads the company has in various media and in various situations. Commercials, brochures and other marketing material that is constantly updated and always looks different will confuse the receiver and the company may be perceived as frivolous. A cluttered presentation with an uncertain message may cause a cluttered and uncertain perception of the brand. After all, it is your brand and your company that will be exposed when creating a digital signage presentation.

Be correct, be constant and be structured – and at last, be your brand.

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