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Q&A With Our Chief of Graphic Design

Meet Casey, Transmission's Chief of Graphic Design, as he shares insights on digital signage, design principles, and the industry's latest trends.

Meet Casey, our creative visionary and graphic design extraordinaire. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design, Casey's artistic journey began long before he joined the Transmission team. From building his own small businesses to dedicating himself to graphic design full-time in 2014, Casey has spent over a decade honing his craft. His unique blend of creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and a decade's worth of experience make him the driving force behind our captivating visual communication solutions

Q: Can you share some insights into the role of graphic design in creating effective digital signage content?

A: Many concepts, such as composition, colors, and typography, are very applicable to other graphic design fields, such as web and print, that translate into digital signage. Some of the key differences between digital signage and web or print is that digital signage operates in a space where you don’t have a captive audience. So, you must capture their attention with things like movement and flashing lights and get your message across in a swift and efficient way. So

if you can’t read everything within 5 seconds, there’s too much text.

Q: What are the key considerations when designing digital signage content to ensure it captures the audience's attention?

A: The biggest key considerations are movement, brand awareness, and typography. We rule never to have more than 12 words on a screen at a time. We utilize movement to draw attention and then slow down the information so the viewer can interpret the message.

Q: How do you ensure that the visual elements align with a company's brand identity and message when designing digital signage?

A: Whenever we start on a project, we look at everything the company has available to the public already, websites, social media etc. We rely on what the company provides to match their voice and tone as well as referencing their brand kit.

Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when designing content for digital signage displays?

A: The biggest mistake I’ve seen over the years is people treating digital signage like it’s a PowerPoint. Putting a static image up with a paragraph of text. Too long to read and not attention-grabbing. Another digital signage mistake in a workplace is including sound. Most environments have workers that are near the digital sign, and having sound on a loop drives employees crazy, causing them to unplug the sign. Another mistake is length, sometimes too short or too long. Too short if you have a large message or concept you're trying to convey, or too long, you lose their attention spans. In the age of Twitter being limited to a certain number of characters and TikTok being 30 seconds long, it’ crucial to consider your viewer’s attention span to get the point across. If you can’t capture your audience's attention in the first few seconds, you’ve lost them already.

Q: How do you balance aesthetics with readability in digital signage designs, especially considering varying viewing distances?

A: We consider the size of the screen and the location when we’re designing it. We’ve done a lot of testing within our team to understand what fonts will be easy for the audience to understand. We also ensure that text is readable in the background it’s displayed on. Sometimes, we’ll place footage and animation on one side and text on the other side. But the most common that we use is an animated text segment known as lower thirds that comes in with a bar behind the text to ensure the text is readable. The same way that Highway Gothic is on every traffic sign, you must ensure that the typography will be quickly digestible.

Q: Can you discuss the importance of using appropriate colors and typography to enhance the impact of digital signage?

A: During the time I spent studying design I learned a variety of composition rules that are applicable to design. Composition is one of the rules I use most as in a way it is the amount of negative space vs. active space on the screen. One common design composition concept is the rule of thirds which we utilize heavily to make it easier to understand where text should be placed.

Q: How do you approach designing content for different types of digital signage, such as lobby displays, production floors, and break areas?

A: It’s all about who’s viewing the content and their environment. For a lobby scenario, we approach it more from an advertising standpoint. In breakrooms, you’ll have an audience with a deeper understanding of the digital signage that allows you to convey information that you want to get across to your employees. For a production floor, you want less flashiness and movement in the display because you don’t want to pull attention away from the employees' work or create a potential hazard. Oftentimes, production floor signage is displaying metrics and/or numbers.  The key to readability for these signs is format: lines and charts so your eye can follow the numbers.  

Q: What strategies do you recommend for ensuring that digital signage content remains engaging and relevant over time?

A: What’s important to take away is that you will have various scenarios in your facility. Some information is always relevant, like wearing your safety glasses and you can intertwine that content with content that will only be relevant for a shorter amount of time. The longer a piece of content is going to be relevant, the more energy needs to be put into ensuring it’s effective. Transmission can integrate slides and text widgets so you can have important information up within seconds.

Q: Can you share some examples of successful digital signage campaigns you've worked on and their design principles?

A: For one of our very first clients, we developed a character called the Boxman, and that character would act out through animation all the different safety examples they needed to follow, as well as the Boxman not fowling the safety policies and getting injured. The company used the Boxman for over six years to communicate safety initiatives to their team!

Q: What tools and software do you find most valuable for creating and managing digital signage content?

A: The Adobe Suite is the king for creating content. For managing content, we have an internal platform that we are constantly building on, and revitalizing based on the needs we see in the industry.

Q: How do you approach designing content for emergency notifications or critical information on digital signage displays?

A: For emergencies specifically, the color red is universally known as danger, and the color yellow is universally known as caution. We flash the color red to indicate an emergency. For safety incidents, we’ll flash green over the right way to do something and red over the wrong way to do something. It’s a quick way to grasp attention and communicate understanding. We’ll do an animated video that shows the accident taking place, and the screen flashes red and zooms in to communicate danger effectively.

Q: What trends do you see emerging in digital signage design, and how do you stay up to date with industry developments?

A: The digital signage space is constantly evolving. The majority of trends that I see often follow social media and what’s currently trending there. YouTube advertisements are under the same assumption of grasping your attention quickly, so the companies that are doing YouTube ads right are a good source of information. Travel is also a great way to get inspired and stay up to date with trends. As airports, malls, and casinos all have digital signage now, I gain a lot of inspiration from traveling and seeing what other people are doing and how effective it may or may not be.

Q: Can you provide some advice for organizations looking to enhance their digital signage design strategy?

A: The best advice I can give is to have a dedicated team for it. In order to maintain consistent and effective digital signage, it’s a full-time job. Once a member of management sees a possible initiative, then you need someone to build scripts and decide what the sign will display, and then you need someone to create and carry that through effectively.  

Q: Could you share some best practices for ensuring accessibility and inclusivity in digital signage content?

A: Colorblindness is something we do take into consideration considerably. There are lots of great resources out there, like Adobe Coolers, that will show you the different types of color blindness and stigmatism. The program will show you what someone with a disability would see so you can ensure that there aren’t colors in your design that will blend together and make the text unreadable.

Q: Do you have any final tips or insights to offer to businesses looking to create compelling and impactful digital signage?

A: Unless you’re willing to hire an entire team of people devoted to managing the digital signage, outsource.

Transmission revolutionizes the world of digital signage by providing a comprehensive, fully managed solution tailored to your needs. We handle everything for you, from creating custom content that resonates with your audience to seamlessly integrating with your preferred data sources. You won't have to lift a finger or worry about the complexities of setting things up; our dedicated team ensures a smooth onboarding process and provides ongoing customer service and IT support. All aspects of the digital signage process are taken care of, ensuring that your messaging is always on point and delivered without a hitch.

When it comes to the technical setup, while you'll supply your own TV, we provide you with Transmission's state-of-the-art media player, boasting a lifetime warranty to ensure uninterrupted service. This commitment to quality hardware, coupled with our promise of no hidden costs, gives you peace of mind that your investment is secure and protected. With Transmission, your digital signage experience is streamlined, efficient, and entirely transparent, allowing you to focus on what you do best while we manage the visuals.

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