Digital Signage Content - A Best Practice Guide

Digital Signage Best Practices: An Ultimate Guide Part 1

Businesses and organisations can use digital signage in all kinds of powerful ways, from getting attention from passersby to creating more engaging in-venue experiences. 

Of course, to make digital signage truly work for your business, you need to know a few digital signage best practices. 

So in this three part guide, we’ll cover the 3 most important facets of digital signage for businesses: design, scheduling, and intelligent content. Let’s do it!

1) Design

The first stage of any digital signage deployment is thinking about the design of your content. More than almost any other medium, digital signage can’t do its job unless you’ve thought about each facet of design, from backgrounds to font to colour scheme. 

Beyond that, you should adhere to a few fundamentals of design to ensure that you’re making your digital signage as effective as possible!

Prioritisation and Preference

Look at your messaging and consider a hierarchy that highlights your messages in order of importance. This will help you decide which message receives more overall display time and gets a more prominent location on screen. 

Place content that has the greatest value to your audience in the middle of the screen, and make it the biggest and boldest that you can. 

Prioritisation is especially important when it comes to cost and use of resources – you may only have a limited amount of time or budget, so focus on the messaging that matters first!

Layout and Composition

These are the most important rules for your content layout:

  • Like a picture, the digital screen should lead the eye to the area you want your audience to look at. 
  • If you have too much visual noise going on in different areas, your audience will struggle to focus on the most important element of the content. 
  • Start with the important message/imagery first, and then allow your audience to navigate around to other details in order of importance.

The Grid

Divide your template/screen into nine segments and use the linear divisions to place the

most important content around. This is a great way of ensuring your content can breathe and

not fight for space.

Boundaries and Borders

Use the borders as a frame and frame only. Keep imagery away from the edges, as the trick is to lead the eye into the centre of the screen. 

With pictures, try and point them facing into the screen rather than away. This will also help lead the eye to the centre.


Avoid cluttering your screen with too much content, as this will make it very difficult for your audience to process the information. Depending on your screen size and viewing distance, here is a general rule of thumb for text size:

  • Headline - Font size of 40pt
  • Supporting text - No less than 24pt
  • Call to action - Font size 32pt
  • Imagery - Space your planned text with imagery and use the hierarchy to establish the layout.


Believe it or not, the text you choose can make or break your digital display. It mostly comes down to two factors: the number of words and the font(s).

Number of Words

Ensure that there are no more than 30 to 40 words per screen at any one time. Too many words will cause the viewer to become bored, unless the information is contained within a table like a timetable or tariff card.

Choice of Font

Avoid light, seriffed, and italicised letters – go for a non serif font instead. This makes it easier to read, particularly at a distance. Arial and Verdana are good examples of fonts that can broadcast your message with clarity.

Best Size for Distance Viewing

Here is a quick guide to font size in relation to viewing distance (i.e the distance the viewer is from the screen).

  • At 1.8m (6 feet), use 30 pt.
  • At 3m (10 feet), use 48 pt.
  • At 4m (16 feet), use 72 pt.


Of course, the above guide is just that: a guide!


Remember that screen size will have a big impact on the amount of content you show and the font size as well as making it pleasing to the eye.


Too many fonts within one message will distract the viewer and make it difficult and undesirable to read. Keep the number of fonts used to two maximum.


Touch screen content should be made accessible for people of all heights, with special consideration given to wheelchair users ensuring everyone can reach the interactive touch icons.


Most of us are used to reading the western alphabet from left to right. For the best layout, text should be arranged from the left to make it easier to process. 

Of course, this does have its aesthetic limitations when we want to highlight a specific product or service and decide to centre the text.

Centring text can work extremely well but should be limited to short line lengths and a minimum line count as to not bore the audience with too much information. Keep it short and to the point.


There are certain criteria or standards when it comes to the correct type of artwork used in digital signage. Here are the basics:

Image resolution

Resolution refers to the amount of detail an image can hold and is expressed in DPI (dots per inch). Images should be no smaller than 72 dpi.

Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio refers to a screen’s length and width. The two common aspect ratios are landscape (16:9) and portrait (9:16).

A screen specified as an HD or 4K display may share the same physical dimension, taken 

from the bottom left to top right corner (i.e. 32”, 43”, 50”, etc.). However, the amount of detail each screen can display is very different, depending on the resolution.

A standard high definition (HD) display in landscape with a 16:9 ratio will have a resolution

of 1920 x 1080 pixels. A 4K or ultra high definition (UHD) display with the same physical dimensions will be 3840 x 2160 pixels.

What all this means is that you must size your images and videos to the correct screen size and pixel count per screen. Your pictures and videos should be of the highest possible

quality to give them the best professional look. Ideally, you should try and get a professional photographer or designer to create custom images and videos for your display 

If the budget is tight, you can turn to one of the many online stock image libraries out there, such as Depositphotos, or for free images, check out sites like Pexels and Unsplash.

For more support and expert advice on how to engage your target audience with digital displays, get in touch with us at James Hogg Display and speak to one of our team!

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