UNH Digital Signs: 6 Easy Digital Design Tips for Non-Designers

Here are six tips for getting the most out of your digital sign! 

1. Contrast & Legibility

Your message can get lost if the viewer can’t easily separate the elements of your design. Contrast in the primary factor for legibility (especially for color-bind viewers) – poor contrast reduces legibility; good contrast improves it. Always make sure there’s plenty of contrast between your background and foreground colors, especially for text.

2. The 3 x 5 Rule

Words on the screen are there to communicate a clear, concise message. Don’t clutter your designs with too much text. Keep the type size large for readability at a distance, and present only the most important information. Try not to use more than three lines of text of five words each OR five lines of text three words each.

3. Text Styles

Unless you’re duplicating a brand or logotype, keep the font simple and legible. Never use more than two fonts in a single design and use italics sparingly, as they can be hard to read from a distance. Also, large text and bold lettering can help improve readability.

4. Color & Perception

Color creates good contrast, and color choices should pace your foreground elements, like text, perceptually in front of your background design. To improve your designs:

  •       Use contrasting colors – light on dark or dark on light
  •       Understand what your viewer’s eye is drawn to
  •       Control the impact of information

5. Focus Techniques

Use focus techniques to guide the eye to critical information first and create a visual hierarchy in your design. Headlines, graphics, bright colors and high contrast items will pull the eye to them. Size also tells the audience the priority of design elements, as does their arrangement, angles, and open space.

6. Previewing

When previewing your designs, consider where your eye goes first and adjust your designs to ensure that the most important elements take priority. Test readability and visibility on your own monitor before publishing out to digital signs. A good tip is to stand back from your monitor at least five feet because this simulates your audience’s perspective for viewing screens at a distance.


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