10 Necessary Steps for Digital Display Design

10 Necessary Steps for Digital Display Design

You’ve probably seen Digital Displays before. Displays are common at businesses that have physical locations. More local businesses are adding digital display (also known as digital signage) to their stores and offices.

Digital display plays an important part in a variety of aspects of a company. The display can be used to alert customers and visitors to specific services and products. When used in this way a display can create awareness and increase average order value among the clientele.

10 Necessary Steps for Digital Display Design

10 Necessary Steps for Digital Display Design

When used in waiting rooms, a digital display can entertain visitors with educational information combined with real-time updates and even streaming video. When used to entertain, a display can keep a waiting customer happy and satisfied leading to a better working environment.

The limit on the use of digital display is only marked by your own imagination.

As a designer there is an opportunity with digital signage. If you have clients with physical locations you can earn more revenue by offering digital signage as an additional service.

Your clients have probably seen digital signs before, but maybe haven’t considered inquiring about what it costs or what it takes to install the signs. Maybe they don’t even know where to go or whom to ask about the digital display.

Digital display is new to many designers, providing you the opportunity to differentiate from the competition by offering the service.

At this point there are usually a few questions about digital display.

How is digital display design similar to web design?
Very similar. The reason digital display design is an opportunity for web designers is that many of the talents and skills required are the same. You’ll come across as a multi-talented designer to clients while simply building on the knowledge you already possess.

Do I need to learn to install digital display?
Only if you want. There are many companies to partner with for installation. Your clients may even prefer to install the devices on their own. It is also common for the company that sells the monitor to offer installation services and many times it’s a free service to your client.

How do I approach clients about digital display services?
One good tip for selling digital display: do research on the competitors of your clients. Find the ones that have digital display in their stores or offices. Nothing makes a business owner or manager more intrigued than information about the competition.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of digital display and why it’s important to your clients with physical locations let’s go into more detail about the necessary steps for digital display design.

1. The Background Surrounds the Monitor

There is more to think about with digital display. The color strategy is similar to designing a website, but there is a larger background to consider. The monitor will have a background, which could be any color. You want to make sure the design on the screen stands out from the background surrounding the monitor. Use a color scheme that fits the brand as you would with a web design, but make sure you use colors either bold enough to stand out against neutral backgrounds or neutral enough for bold background surroundings.

In this example the blue display stands out against the orange and brown background.

The Background Surrounds the Monitor
Source: St. Vincent’s by MD Designs at Rise Display

2. Photography Adds Personality

Photography has taken on more of a roll in web design. Websites are using actual photographs of the people, places, and products of the client. Photography is also important in digital display design. Consider the mindset of people as they’re walking through a store or sitting in a waiting room. These folks are not staring at a computer screen. They have many options for their attention. Items like photographs can capture attention and direct it toward the digital display.

Give your designs personality with photography. Use photos the business already has on hand. If you’re working with a doctor’s office use photographs of the doctor and the nurses. If you’re working with a coffee shop use photographs of the baristas.

Photography Adds Personality
Source: Orlando Regional Hospital at Rise Display

3. Video Adds Interest

Even more than photographs, video can really add interest to a digital display. Video is becoming more important in web design. Even as mobile design takes over, video remains popular among web users. People enjoy watching video and this rule remains in place for digital display. If people have time as they do in waiting areas it makes sense to include a video on the screen as a way to entertain and educate them while they wait. It eases their time and gives them something to do.

4. Moving Applications Capture Attention

Video is one moving application, but there are more options. You can use scrolling widgets and plug-ins to make the design more interesting to viewers. Remember, the goal of digital display is to capture the attention of someone as they wait or browse at a physical location. There are distractions. Use moving applications to capture someone’s eyes as they move through the store or office.

5. A Display Can Utilize Web Connections

If you’re wondering where you can get applications then let me explain the next necessary step. Digital display can connect to the Web. Display utilizes regular connections like Wi-Fi or direct connection. This allows you to use plug-ins to applications like news feeds, RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, and any other feed you think will add interest to your design.

Web applications like sports scores are great for digital displays.

A Display can Utilize Web Connections
Source: Sports at Rise Display

6. Remove the Clutter

Clutter is an issue with digital display just as it is for a web page. There is opportunity to include a variety of elements on a display, but you don’t want to take anything away from what is necessary on the page. Don’t go overboard with the elements on any single page or display. Make sure the display accomplishes a goal and remove anything that isn’t essential to making this achievement.

7. Integrate Various Media

Earlier we mentioned that you can use news feeds on your display. It’s possible to bring in a variety of media into your display. You want the display to use real-time assets where it makes sense. You can bring in live video feeds from various web locations. You can use social media. You can use weather applications. Use the media that is already available to make your task easier with the content on the display.

Integrate Various Media
Source: University of Hawaii-Honolulu at Rise Display

8. Determine the Goal of the Display

Just like with a single web page there is always a goal with a digital display. Figure out what each page of a digital display needs to accomplish. A common need for a digital display is to introduce a new product or even a preferred product. Knowing what the goal of the display is makes it so much easier for you when creating the design elements.

9. Type Remains Important

Don’t forget about type. Headlines are important on a digital display. You don’t want to go overboard with text. People aren’t reading monitors like they read books. It’s important to use headlines with effective type so you can grab attention and convey a message quickly and effectively.

Type Remains Important
Source: Esposito at Rise Display

10. Don’t Forget the Call to Action

Once you’ve determined the goal of the display make sure you include a call to action. It could be something like telling the person to ask the receptionist about a product or service. Whatever the goal of the display is make sure you finish the job by asking the person to take action.

QR Codes are great for calling customers to action.

Don't Forget the Call to Action
Source: Buck, BBQ, and Baseball at Rise Display


We live in a digital world. People are interacting with technology more as they go about their daily lives and this includes digital displays in stores, offices, and restaurants.

As the demand for digital display increases it will be important for web designers to capitalize on the opportunity to add revenue to their business. These designs will need to be interesting to people so their attention is captured and then converted with calls to action.

Hopefully the tips above help you to get started in digital display and digital signage design. There is a market out there for this type of design. Your clients might already be interested in putting up digital displays at their location. They might simply not know whom to ask.

Go to them with the offer of digital display design and they’ll be thrilled that they already have someone on their team ready to jump into digital signage.

They’ll be excited to give you more business.

Todd Hemme is a Director at Rise Vision, a free digital signage Web platform. He has been involved in creating digital display strategies since 2004. He enjoys working with the design and development team to continually bring new features and templates to the users.


    • saha,
    • August 6, 2012
    / Reply

    Excellent post on topic of digital display. Design should be interesting and appealing to get the attention of people. Todd you have shared some very important and useful tips for designers. Keep up the good work :)

    • Anil,
    • August 10, 2012
    / Reply

    Simply the best. sample image to support points is remarkable. Thanks and keep on going.

    • spider denson,
    • April 22, 2013
    / Reply

    There are lots of calls to action and they all relate back to the original goal of the display. Consider the goal of the display you’re working on and make sure the viewer can easily understand the next step they should take when they take their eyes off the display.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Iconfinder Coupon Code and Review

Iconfinder offers over 1.5 million beautiful icons for creative professionals to use in websites, apps, and printed publications. Whatever your project, you’re sure to find an icon or icon…

WP Engine Coupon

Considered by many to be the best managed hosting for WordPress out there, WP Engine offers superior technology and customer support in order to keep your WordPress sites secure…

InMotion Hosting Coupon Code

InMotion Hosting has been a top rated CNET hosting company for over 14 years so you know you’ll be getting good service and won’t be risking your hosting company…

SiteGround Coupon: 60% OFF

SiteGround offers a number of hosting solutions and services for including shared hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated servers, reseller hosting, enterprise hosting, and WordPress and Joomla specific hosting.