Content - Part 1 - What is content and why does it matter for Digital Signage?

Content. The buzzword of the last few years or even centuries. From marketing and design firms to influencers and the aptly named Content Creators, it became something like a first commandment. Even Google & other search engines start to value organic content as one of the most important ranking factors.

But even for websites, social media posts or classic advertising campaigns, good written and visual content is incredibly important.

And its important for your signage concept! With rich content you are able to transform a simple sign into a valuable tool to attract customers and to generate a comfortable environment for users.

But let's start at the beginning:

What is content actually?

Simply put, content describes any form of medium that conveys information.

A distinction is made between the following types of content:

  • Text
  • Image (and therefore also video)
  • Audio

What constitutes good content is extremely dependent on context. The question you have to ask yourself is following:

What do you want to achieve with your content? Do you want to deliver informations to the user? Attract customers? Entertain?

Everythings possible with the right idea and the right content.

But let's take this question a bit further and get a bit more specific:

Why is good content also relevant for digital signage?

The answer to this is quite simple: We are dealing here with a visual representation of information. And there are possibilities to convey this information: Factual and simple, colorful and exciting, strongly oriented towards corporate identity or always dynamic and fitting to the respective occasion?

You have the freedom of choice and thus the agony of choice. But don't worry, I'll leave you a few hints and suggestions to help you:

1. With digital signage, it's important that the content can be digested easily and virtually in passing.

Most customers don't stay in front of the device for minutes, they are constantly moving. That means: Fewer text and more meaningful visualization. You want to direct your customers? Use arrows and/or generally familiar iconography.

2. Pay attention to the format and size of the signage screen.

Since we often deal with variations in display size and form factor in digital signage, content should always be adapted to the display used. The easiest way to do this is to use one of the displays in the near vicinity to test and preview how the result looks like.

Especially if you create the content on a high-resolution screen only to find that the low-resolution signage display poorly outputs your content. Pay attention to the resolution of image content and adjust it to the final resolution.

Or even better: create these contents as close as possible to the final resolution.

I'll link you to a Stackexchange post on "What happens if I put a high resolution image on a low resolution screen?".

In summary, the image gets resampled. And depending on the algorithm, that tends to turn out better or worse.

3. Colors are great, but don't overdo it.

With great power comes great responsibility.

That's true in all walks of life, and it's also true for digital signage.

Just because you can display millions of colors at once, you shouldn't do it. Limit yourself to two or three core colors in the layout.

4. Contrast is your friend.

As simple as it sounds, I hear you. Maybe you want to use your company colors to show your corporate identity in your signage concept.

But then the question arises: What will be the font color? Background color? Color of other elements?

And you should always make sure that the colors have enough contrast to each other. The following image illustrates this quite well.

Contrast helps readability
Contrast helps readability

Small tip: If you absolutely want to use a certain color for the font or something similar, try it with a contrasted drop shadow.

And if you don't know how to do that: just look forward to next week.

5. Font is King.

The right font is the name of the game when it comes to text content.

I'm not talking about picking on Comic Sans - even if it's not the best choice - but about the fact that readability is the most important thing.

For example: Roboto deserves its spot as one of the most popular fonts as its readability is nearly unmatched.

As food for thought you can find the Google Fonts here - sorted by popularity: https://fonts.google.com/?sort=popularity.

Of course, you don't have to use a font that everyone uses, and you don't necessarily have to use one without serifs.

It is also legitimate to use a more playful font. Nevertheless, you should always keep the purpose in mind: Readability.

6 And I could go on and on....

As you can see, this is probably not the hottest info for most users, but it should always be kept in mind.

And there are certainly a few more notes, comments, suggestions, etc. that could be be made.

Closing words

Well, we have already reached the end of the first part of the content series and I hope I was able to help you out a bit and give you some input.

The second part will come as usual on Monday and will teach you how to produce your own content including a few basics in image editing and copywriting.

If you have any questions or suggestions: Don't be shy, write me: fcoenen@netmax.de

Thanks for tuning in!

Until then! Don't be a stranger!

Francesco Coenen

06.04.2021