Content for LED screens: things to remember

From enormous digital canvases to exquisite ribbons; from good old-fashioned rectangles to the most unusual forms, it is the content that breaths life into LED systems. Being as diverse as one’s imagination the content is an endless topic to discuss.

While the only limit here is one’s creativity, there are basic concepts that can guide you through the process. First and foremost these relate to the specific nature of digital messaging, e.g. what you are going to communicate, where and to whom.

  • Application. Knowing a specific use to which displays are put could suggest a lot of would-be content. For example, Out-of-Home digital signage applications would benefit from social feeds and live data to prevent public from getting accustomed to the messages displayed. The content for large LED surfaces in sports arenas relies on live camera inputs and branded graphics to enhance fans’ experience. Generative art is a popular trend in VJing widely used at concerts and music events. In other words, make your messages relevant to certain application field.
  • Venue. The display’s location cannot but affect the content to be shown. In the case of LED screens located in busy passageways the piece of content should be short enough to deliver its message within 10-15 seconds, e.g. the time needed to pass it by. With a screen located in a lobby or a concourse – any places where people are expected to wait – you can run longer messages without being bound to a limited time-frame.  
  • Objective. Figure out the objective of every piece of content you are going to run. Does it aim to inform, educate, entertain, promote a brand or help in a way-finding? For example, the content designed to present top-tier displays at a tradeshow would leverage the advantages of the NPP technology while accentuating the superior specifications of a screen. The content of commercials should deliver information in short portions and provide clear and catchy ‘call to action’, etc.
  • Audience. The content should target the certain group of people that you appeal to. Define your audience’s needs and preferences to make the media tailored to it.

Having done with the first part consider ins and outs of LED displays technology as a special communicative medium. After all every LED installation is unique, but most share common attributes.

Font size and viewing distance Viewing distance. The elements of content should be large enough to be clearly visible from the furthest extremities of your catchment area. As most messages depend on text to clearly communicate the content, it is crucial to size fonts correctly according to the size and pitch of the screen. For quick readability use thick and bold fonts (i.e. Arial Black, Cooper Black, Franklin Gothic, Futura, Helvetica, Tahoma, and Verdana) and avoid fancy and thin. (i.e. Courier, Times New Roman, etc.)

Resolution. Defines the clarity of text messages and images displayed. Being high it makes objects appear more distinct and smaller so more of them will fit onto the screen. Alternatively, at a low resolution fewer objects are displayed. However, they look larger. Large NPP displays typically have higher resolution than PC monitors that can be increased even further due to a modular system of assembling. However, outdoor LED displays designed for viewing from a distance don’t need that many pixels and have a lot less space to work with.

Illumination and color rendition. As long as diodes produce their light, LED displays have higher brightness, deeper color intensity, and sharper contrast than LCD. It makes the colors appear more saturated and allows for the true reproduction of dark tones, such as black and gray. However, the display’s color rendition and illumination uniformity depends on the quality and type of LEDs used. That is why displaying pure colors on low-cost LED screens might be a challenge unlike the products from top-tier brands that use first-class selected diodes.

Viewing angle. The maximum angle at which a display can be viewed with acceptable visual performance and beyond which the colors appear distorted. The viewing angle depends both on the specifications of LED panels deployed and on the display’s physical shape.

Pixel map. Is required with creative LED installations to make the graphics follow the curves of the screens.

With so many things to take into account creating content for LED screens could be a troublesome matter. However, as the basic principles of design still hold true in the digital signage era most of web designers won’t have a hard time with LED displays content. Nevertheless, the investment in a professional content service is always worthwhile. After all, it is your designer who plays a key role in content creation.

Tags: Digital Signage