Understanding The Basics Of Digital Design

Rich Archer Digital Designer
February 3, 2018

You’ve got the equipment. You’ve invested in the technology. Your digital signage display is ready to go. So what’s next? Obviously, there’s more to it than simply inputting the desired text and uploading an image or two. You need a bit of theory—a few sound principles to guide you in your design choices. You want your signage to be remembered, and for the right reasons.

So what are your materials, your clay, so to speak, as you craft your display? You’re working with original text, of course, and images. How about newsfeeds, social media posts, and sports scores? The possibilities are endless, but how should you put them all together? That is the question!

Consider for a moment a few basic principles of composition as you create, manage, and update your digital signage displays:

Visual Contrast

Visual contrast is important. Contrast is using color and brightness and other distinguishing elements to make certain aspects of your presentation stand out. You should use contrast to create a visual hierarchy that shows viewers where to focus their attention. Keep it simple and never lose sight of your objective.

White Space

Elements on your screen are like people—they need a little room to breathe, so don’t be afraid of white space. Overcrowding is as uncomfortable on screen as it is in person. Proper use of white space can help focus attention on your message.


Pantone 448 C has recently been named the “world’s ugliest color.” Currently, it’s being used in anti-smoking campaigns, which shows, ugly as it is, that color can have a powerful, motivating influence on all of us. A splash of color adds instant intrigue to your display, likewise energy and excitement. Simply put, bright and vibrant colors are just plain fun to look at. However, as with any design tool, moderation is key. Too many colors can be distracting or even off-putting. In most cases, you’ll want to limit your color palette to a maximum of three colors.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds isn’t actually a rule, but rather a simple, easy-to-follow guideline that can help you create more interesting compositions. See the digital canvas in thirds—horizontally as well as vertically­­, like a tic-tac-toe board. Where the lines intersect are good places to position your most important visual elements.

Understanding these basic principles of composition will enhance your ability to engage and communicate with your target audience. They aren’t hard, and you can begin applying them today.

Okay, so that’s Level 1. What about Level 2, Level 3, and beyond? Omnivex can help you get there.

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