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Digital signage content design isn't always black and white
2014-11-05 17:17
 

Few people choose to watch a black and white movie if there is a color alternative, just as no one gets excited about plain, black on white text. The same rule applies to digital signage content. Color is key to audience attraction. In fact, it's one of the main factors that connect viewers to a message.

Did you know that almost 85 percent of consumers said color was the primary reason that they purchase a particular product? Or that 93 percent of consumers look at the products overall visual appearance when they're buying? Color improves comprehension, learning and readability. And it gets better, color increases brand recognition by 80 percent. Branding connoisseur, William Arruda, wrote in a Forbes article: "Color is powerful because it exudes brand attributes and makes you memorable. Are you using color appropriately to stand out?"

But before you get a little too color-friendly with your slides, consider your design aesthetics. Certain messages call for certain hues, while others should be based on your brand's criteria. Let's discuss a few color theories to consider when choosing which part of the rainbow is appropriate for your digital signage content.

Color strikes our emotional chords

This probably isn't the first place you've heard this: color plays a huge part on our psychological state.  If you do a little digging, you'll find that brand colors of everything in branding are strategically chosen, down to the color of the tables inside your favorite fast food chain.

Colors hit close to the heart.  Whether we're aware of it or not, they remind us of our first emotional experiences. Some, like neon yellow, attract attention. Others, like beige, blend in with the environment and stay neutral. Different colors mean different things in each culture, so for the sake of this blog, we'll focus on western culture. 

Your brand's colors are very important and should be used in messages that promote your organization. Other messages, however, may need a few extra details. For example, a warm pink background, or a fresh green font can add a subtle depth to your design. Just remember, neutral colors should dominate while brighter/darker colors should be used more sparingly.

Harmonize color palettes

Think of how an interior designer would decorate a living room: The wall color might be neutral and light, the couch might be a vibrant color, and the carpet might have a pattern. Hardly ever are the all three from the same category.

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This rule applies to your digital signage content, too. Pick a color for the background, then a contrasting color for the font so that it is readable from a distance. The third color, or picture should complement the first two colors. To avoid clashing, choose colors that stem from the same palette:

  • Pure Colors: Full fleshed colors that are vibrant, cheerful, and energetic.
  • Tinted Colors: Colors mixed with white for a lighter tone.
  • Shades of Colors: Colors mixed with black for a mysterious or dark effect.

Pure colors are often used in fast food menus and cartoons, while tints are used in heavenly paintings or bridal bouquets. A digital signage campaign in a spa might strictly use tints for all messages, while a K-12 deployment might use a lot of pure colors. If your message is about a darker topic, like identity theft, you might opt for a palette of shades.

Switch it up 

They say, variety is the spice of life, this too applies to digital signage. Staying within the same palette category is fine, but don't use the same colors for all 17 of the slides in your campaign. The same colors time and time again may be perceived as one long, mundane slide to less observant audience members. Jump from a slide with a blue background to a contrasting orange. That'll be sure to catch the eye of any day-dreaming lobby dweller.

So now we've focused on why we need design, what mistakes to avoid, which general practices to follow, and now how to incorporate colors. You're well on your way to being a design guru.

 
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