Back to blog

13 Tips for Designing the Perfect Digital Sign Board [+Templates]

When it comes to digital signage, design matters. To engage with your audience you must create captivating signage that draws them in. 

Luckily, it’s not as difficult as you might think. There are tons of digital signage templates available on sites like Canva. And with digital signage software like Junno, it’s easy to launch your digital signs.

Whether you are starting from scratch or from a template, understanding what makes a good design is important for creating digital signage content that engages your audience.

In this guide, we provide 13 tips for designing captivating design boards and present some digital signage templates that follow them.

13 tips for designing digital signage boards

Follow these tips to help you create an effective digital sign.

1. Create goals for your content

Before you select your style or theme, you need to know the intent of the digital signage. Create goals for your content so that you go into the process knowing what you are trying to achieve and who you are trying to impact.

2. Consider the audience you are designing for

Your target audience matters when it comes to design. This could be both demographics and groups. For example, designing a sign to engage baby boomers will most likely be glossed over for someone in their twenties.

Another example is employees versus clients. The digital sign you design to inform employees needs to be distinctly different than what you display for your clients. Do your research to understand your target audience so you can design content that captures their attention.

3. Know the intended dwell time for your digital sign

Dwell time is another major consideration in how and what you display in your digital signage. Dwell time can be broadly classified into three categories: 

  • Short-duration (< 30 seconds) - digital signage used where people are on the move. Such as shop windows or airport terminals.
  • Moderate-duration (30 seconds - 2 minutes) - dwell time associated with people waiting in lines or queues.
  • Long-duration (> 2 minutes) - locations where people will spend a dedicated chunk of time like waiting areas and restaurants.

The longer the anticipated dwell time the more content you will want. This could be the amount of information on a single sign or the number of digital signs in a playlist. The choice will depend on your objectives so make sure you're aware of your dwell time when designing.

4. Monitor file size

Throughout the process of designing your digital signage keep in mind the size of your image files. If the files are too large, then you can run into trouble displaying them through browser-based digital signage if the WiFi is not at peak performance.

In general, file sizes in the 2-3MB range tend to be ideal for digital signage. 

Note that if you find your file sizes becoming excessively large and you are following the other tips in the guide, check for hidden images and unused formatting.

5. Know your display ratio

Unlike a website, a digital sign is not meant to be displayed on a variety of devices. You will be designing your displays for your digital signs and TV screens. So know your display ratio.

If you are using standard digital TV screens, the width-to-height ratio is 16:9 in the landscape orientation and 9:16 for portrait. Luckily, most digital signage content creators and template providers like Canva are fully aware of these ratios. But it is always important to know your ratio to make the best designs.

The image above shows three display screen ratios and highlights the need to know your ratio to get the most out of your designs.

6. Design for HD resolution

High Definition (HD) describes the display resolution of digital images and refers to the clarity of the display. In terms of pixels, the resolution of full HD televisions is 1920x1080 pixels in landscape orientation.

When designing your digital signage displays, make sure you are getting the full display potential of your screens. Do this by ensuring the images and videos you share meet the 1920x1080 HD pixel criteria.

Also, be aware that the higher resolution means larger file sizes.

This image highlights the comparison of resolution size.

7. Select contrasting colors

Selecting contrasting color palettes is a must. Contrasting colors grab people's attention and make your text readable. Whether it's light on dark, dark on light, or one of the endless contrasting color combinations, you want your sign to be read. So, make it as easy as possible for people to read it.

8. Choose simple fonts

Font selection is important for readability. It is often an area that is overthought. We see fancy, embellished fonts and fall in love. Unfortunately, ornate fonts can be impossible to read.

Keep fonts simple and stick to sans-serif typefaces. Here's a list of some popular sans-serif options to consider.

9. Test your text sizing

Remember when designing your digital signage that the person reading your sign is not sitting at the computer. Typically they will be around 10 feet away. Make sure your text size reflects the distance at which your sign will be read.

For a reading distance of 10 feet, the minimum recommended text size is 82pt. If you know the target viewing distance then you can determine the minimum text size. Keep in mind that color choices and font types can change these values so be sure to test it out.

10. Apply image overlays

Image overlays are a simple and effective method of directing the viewer's attention and infusing your brand identity. In general, it is a good idea to apply transparent overlays over background images. However, there are several overlay methods to consider when designing your digital signage.

11. Use widgets and integrations

Static text and images are a good start to your digital signage boards. But to really make your boards stand out and engaging you will want to add widgets and integrations. 

Widgets like weather and news can provide useful information to your viewers. Integrations like Instagram, Facebook, and X (Twitter) can integrate your company’s freshest content into your signage.

12. Plan your content layout

With your objectives in place and tools in hand, it is time to consider the layout of your content. A good layout will balance the composition of the design and direct the attention of the viewer. While there is no single solution some layout methodologies to consider are:

  • Rule of thirds - for this classic composition you divide your layout into thirds vertically and horizontally. You then place the primary elements of your design at the intersections.
  • Follow natural eye movement patterns - there are two common patterns our eyes naturally follow when presented with a fresh page. A “Z pattern” when there is a low level of text, and an “F pattern” when there is a lot of text.
  • Maintain an edge buffer - crowding edges run the risk of content clipping when it is projected on the screen. Make sure you keep a buffer around the edge of the digital sign.
  • Use the 3x5 text rule - this advertising guideline will help you decide the amount of text to include. Either three lines of text with a maximum of five words in each line, or the reverse.
  • Content hierarchy is key - not all the information you present will have the same importance. Consider the hierarchy of your content in its placement within the design.

In this example from Canva several of the layout criteria are observed. First, the text follows the “F pattern” with content hierarchy. The company name and 30% off hamburger image being the first two items to catch your attention. Next are the three menu categories directing you to the column of interest. The rule of thirds is also observed as well as an edge buffer.

13. Rely on design templates

With resources like Canva available, there are tens of thousands of templates for just about everything. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Starting with a template will save you tons of time.

When selecting a template, keep in mind the design tips we discussed. Also, search for one that is as close to your brand as possible. This will minimize your workload while ensuring your signage is engaging and easy to read. 

5 digital signage design templates

Juuno integrates with Canva. Allowing the creation of captivating digital signage for all types of content in a matter of minutes.

Here are a few examples to get the creative juice flowing.

1. Digital signage announcements template

In this easy-to-read job vacancy template, we see a clear example of simple contrasting text with a large font size focused on the key information. The hierarchy of information is clearly identified by text size and placement. The simple speech box overlay emphasizes the communication nature of the sign and will draw in the intended audience to read more.

2. Digital signage real estate listing

This simple real estate listing template utilizes the Z pattern of natural eye motion. The transparent image overlays in the adjacent corners further enhance the Z pattern. The company website and new listing clearly stand out without taking away from the focal point that is the house.

3. Digital signage menu template

The above menu template has a unique play on design while being compelling to the eyes. The title and images pull the eye into the Z pattern even though the menu is text-heavy. This really directs the audience to the key items displayed in the images. And with the simple contrasting text of the menu items the sign is easy to read.

4. Digital signage gym class template

Promoting new classes at a gym is a great use of digital signage. This gym class template uses hierarchy and image overlays to carry you through the sign. The large title text is easy to read, and the contrasting colors of the CTA bring the sign together. Also note that the focal point of the bodybuilder and the title text fall within the rule of thirds placement.

5. Digital signage promotion template

This promotion template is elegantly simple. It uses the 3x5 text rule as the CTA and branding with the three overlapped images. This digital sign would be a great promotional piece at grocery stores. This style would also be a great choice for health spas and clinics that wanted to highlight specials or add-ons to enhance the spa experience.

Now that you're ready to design, don’t forget to choose the right content manager for displaying your designs. And if you're new to the game, here's a breakdown of what you’ll need to get your digital signage up and running.

Start displaying your digital signage in a matter of minutes with Juuno.

Back to blog