Five common digital signage design mistakes and how to avoid them

Imaginative, impactful design is vital in delivering content on large format digital signage. Cramming too much information on to a screen; using difficult to read fonts; or harming legibility with poor colour selection are all common mistakes that can have a negative impact on audience engagement.

Here’s five design do’s and don’ts for generating maximum impact with your digital signage content.


Contrast between colour choices elevates digital content

Do – be careful with contrast
The higher contrast ratios available on large format digital signage means extra care must be taken with colour choices. Complimentary colours that work in harmony to provide clear legibility are best. Use darker text on white or lighter coloured backgrounds to keep visibility and legibility high. Try and avoid using colour combinations that ‘fizz’ and make reading difficult, such as yellow and reds in combination, and greens and yellow.

Complimentary and harmonious colours can boost design impact

Complimentary and harmonious colours can boost design impact

Don’t – underestimate colour theory
Colour science is a hugely important area of the design process to master. Particular colours and hues elicit certain audience reactions – there’s a reason why fast food restaurants use a heavy dose of red in branding and marketing: it generates a sense of hurry and hunger. Conversely, green is a more relaxing and ‘friendly’ colour because it’s easier for the eye to process. Yellow is optimistic and vibrant, while orange is a more attention-grabbing colour, and can be used effectively for calls-to-action. Check out this fantastic resource at colormatters.com for a more in-depth guide to colour combinations and colour theory.

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Serif and sans serif fonts convey different meanings and have varying levels of readability
Serif and sans serif fonts convey different meanings and have varying levels of readability

Do – pick fonts for readability
Font selection is just as important as colour. Not only does it make a huge impact on legibility, it also affects and defines brand perception. Sans-serif fonts tend to have more impact and deliver greater readability on digital displays. Yet serif fonts do have their advantages, too: they often deliver a traditional and more ‘classy’ feel to your digital signage content. Luxury goods brands tend to use serif fonts, while sporting goods use punchier, trendier, sans-serif fonts, for example.

Clear contrast, space and easily legible text make for greater impact

Clear contrast, space and easily legible text make for greater impact

Don’t – cram too much information in
Placing too much information on the screen at once drastically minimises impact. Spread messaging over a number of slides, using transitions, animations and bold calls to action. Our copywriting guide goes in to more detail on this subject, and includes several techniques for ‘carrying’ viewer attention through transitions.


The golden ratio is a tool for designing impactful content on screens

The golden ratio is an age-old method for creating eye-catching designs

Do – think about layout
Divide the screen into thirds, and reserve a centralised ’hero’ space for your main call-to-action or image. This should be roughly twice the size of the remaining two sections. Adding in secondary and tertiary information – such as live data feeds, or widgets – can detract from the impact your main message makes if its too central or large. Using classical design techniques such as the ‘golden ratio’ can help move a viewers eye around a screen, focusing the information hierarchy and delivering structure to the information. Our guide to laying out digital signage content for maximum impact goes in to further detail on layout techniques and tips.

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