Design Tips for Digital Signage: Using Color
December 19, 2017
Design Tips for Digital Signage: Visual Hierarchy
December 21, 2017

Digital signage in Chicago is deeply effective – when it’s used right. There are a number of simple mistakes businesses make when it comes to image choice, color, and especially font. Let’s look at that last one. You’d think any font in digital signage would work. After all, it’s plastered several yards up on a giant digital sign. Yet that doesn’t always hold true. Keep in mind that you’ll typically see your sign from the parking lot, or very close up. The passersby whose attention you hope to catch will often be glancing at it from a block or more away.

How We Read Fonts

Font in digital signage needs to be legible. Many businesses like to get too fancy. A script or calligraphy font should communicate a certain standard, right? Well, many different things demand our attention in public. Our brains give each of these individual things enough attention to judge whether we should focus on them more. If we glance at a sign and it’s easy to read, we read what it has to say before we’ve even thought about whether we want to. That engages curiosity and encourages us to focus on the sign.

Yet if we glance at a sign and it’s difficult to read, then we’ll do a conscious check as to whether we want to read what the sign has to say. There’s no motivation to do so, especially if the lettering is difficult to discern. Instead of being curious about what the sign is saying, we dismiss it and focus on something else.

These are quick decisions that we make, made in a split second.

Make it Readable

Do not mix fonts. Keep it to one or two for every image you use. If you have five different fonts in an image, our brain won’t consider the switching between them as worth our time.

Keep fonts large and readable. Avoid handwriting style fonts. A serif font like Times New Roman has a lot of detail that helps us read small text in books. Focus on fonts like Arial that have fewer additional strokes. These are easier to read quickly.

Make sure your font stands out in terms of color and contrast. You don’t want it to get lost or for people to strain their eyes trying to see what you’re saying. And don’t write novels. Try to keep everything you have to say to a line, and don’t go above 15 words.

Rules are made to be broken, but only for a specific reason and only after you’ve mastered the rules themselves. Get good at communicating with clear, easily read fonts, and you’ll start being able to tell where you can bend a rule here or there.