Best Practices and Strategy Guide


Digital Signs are displayed on television screens all over campus to announce upcoming events or campus news.



  • Create graphics, and videos in a size that matches, or exceeds, the resolution of the device(s) that will be used to display it. Lower resolution content will appear highly pixelated and distorted.
  • Design in common aspect ratios like 4:3, 16:9, or 2:1 as this will allow content to be easily re-purposed for other projects.
  • Recommend content size is 16:9 with a pixel size of 3840 wide x 2160 high @ 140 dpi for horizontal screens, and 9:16 with a pixel size of 2160 wide x 3840 high @ 140 dpi for  vertical/portrait screens. Only use the RGB color space.
  • Leave space (typically 15-20px) around the outer edges of the design to prevent content (i.e. titles, text, contact information, and other important information) from getting cut off/hidden by display bezels. Background images/colors can, and should, go border to border.


Text and legibility

  • Stay away from scripts or fancy fonts; select sans-serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Lucida Sans, Futura, Helvetica, Verdana) which are easier to read instead.
  • Keep text size as large as possible, especially for key information.
    • Remember that people may be six or more feet way from the sign when viewing. Try previewing your design by standing six fee away from your monitor. Is the text easily readable at that distance.
    • Headline text should be about 40 point or above (depends on the font).
    • Body text should be about 30 point or above (depends on the font).
  • Use high-contrast colors (e.g. black and white).
  • Keep message clear and concise. Utilize the 3x5 rule which simply states content should contain three lines with five words, or five lines with three words (i.e. keep text to about 10-15 words).
  • Try to read it OUT LOUD. If you can't read it in 10 seconds, it's too much text.
  • Try re-writing the message until it's as concise as possible.


Ensure the background is not distracting

  • Choose solid colors for the background when possible.
  • If using a photo, fade the photo or put a block of solid color behind the text.
  • Ensure high contrast between the background and text colors (try changing the document to grayscale to test the contrast).
  • Visuals should always add to the message, never detracting through complicated, unrelated images.
  • If there is too much text, or not enough contrast, people will have a hard time reading and the message will get lost.


Content Tips

  • The time, date, and location of an event should be apparent on the slide.
    • Dates need to include day of the week and be typed like this: Tuesday, June 9.
    • Times should be typed like this: 12:00 p.m.
  • Make the most important information the biggest.
  • Use the fewest words possible to describe your event. Time, date, location and catchy headline are typically enough.
  • Promote one event at a time. When advertising multiple events (Speaker Series for example), use individuals slides for each event rather than one slide to promote many.
  • Limit the number of slides/content and display duration to facilitate your audience's ability to seen the entire message.
  • Make sure the text and images are large enough to be viewed from a distance.
  • Use QR codes to direct visitors to more information.
  • Create slides focused on a specific topic, use playlists to display multiple slides in sequence.
  • Keep in mind that some people might be colorblind, do not rely on color as a requirement for understanding the message.


Viewing Patterns

Digital signs typically fall into discrete viewing patterns: Point of Transit, or Point of Wait. Knowing which viewing pattern is most applicable to a display, and designing content to complement it, can greatly improve the efficacy of the message.

Point of Transit

Signs located in high-traffic areas where people are moving from point A to point B, are likely to be seen at a glance. People in this scenario are usually walking between destination and their interaction with the display will be short.

In this situation short, concise, messages shown in rotation are most well received. Content type best suited for this scenario is:

  • Announcements
  • Daily reminders

When designing messages for these type of locations keep it short (5 words or less) and make it big. Designs should feature large fonts, with simple backgrounds to facilitate message reception.

Point of Wait

Signs located in lobbies, elevators, service desks, and any waiting place, are likely to experience longer viewing times allowing for longer messages and heavier content. Content type best suited for this scenario is:

  • Informative content such as directories, donor walls, calendars, and news
  • Engaging content (trivia, video, spotlight stories, etc.) that may help decrease perceived wait times



Consider the content being displayed. When people see the same content repeatedly, they have a tendency to ignore it. Keep people engaged and interested by changing content regularly. Some simple ways to keep content fresh are:

  • Use timed content. For each slideshow set Show on players afterUnapprove on, and Auto delete on values as appropriate for the content.
    • Setting Show on players after values allows content to be pre-staged and automatically be displayed on the playlist once the appropriate date/time has arrived.
    • Setting slideshows to unapprove and/or auto delete is an easy way to keep digital signs current. For example, there may be a slideshow created to promote an on-campus event for a specific date and time. By setting an unapproved on date for the slideshow the playlist will stop display the content after the event is over.
  • Update pictures and other visual content frequently, even if the text remains the same.
  • Mix up the order in which the content is displayed.


Need additional help or have issues

For support, requests may be submitted anytime using the appropriate Digital Signage form. Requests generate a Ticket which will be worked in order received and urgency by IT Employees with the knowledge and permissions to assist with the request.

For immediate assistance please review the Contact Us page for the appropriate support group.

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Article ID: 1276
Fri 8/26/22 6:29 PM
Fri 5/12/23 7:43 AM