Audio Visual Design Guidelines

Content Creation Guidelines

155 views November 22, 2018 November 19, 2019 aetm 0


Organisational AV departments are often responsible for the systems that support digital signage endpoints throughout their campuses. As a general rule, ICT/AV departments should not be responsible for content creation, as this is best left to dedicated marketing and communications teams. The following section provides some assistance to marketing and communications teams to assist with the development of local branding and marketing materials as they relate to a specific digital signage screen install.


Content Automation

At times, content is required to be created for repeatable, scalable systems, such as timetabling display or meeting room management. In these cases, it is recommended to ensure that a simple template can be created in conjunction with marketing and communications, and that content is updated automatically, with no further intervention required by users or internal ICT/AV staff. Where feasible, it is generally best practice to automate content by using live data feeds, provided the source feeds are from reliable sources (e.g. timetabling data) or feeds that are already reviewed and vetted by marketing and communications (e.g. organisation twitter feed or approved news outlet).


Content Managers

Below is a list of roles and organisation partners that may be responsible for the creation of digital signage content and templates:

  • In-house marketing and communications staff
  • organisational branding staff
  • content creation agency
  • digital signage technology partner


Content Style and Consistency

Common methods for ensuring digital signage content is consistent, on-brand, and legible:

  • produce a set of templates for content managers to use when creating new content
  • produce a style guide document detailing the correct use of logos, fonts, colours, and layouts for new digital signage content
  • engage the services of a content creation agency


Content Types

Common content types for digital signage:

  • static slides with text and images
  • high resolution video
  • animations
  • passive/interactive websites (HTML5)
  • live feeds (IPTV, webcasts)
  • data feeds (events, menu items)
  • external data sources (weather, traffic, news, twitter, stock tickers)
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • advertisements


File Sizes and Formats

Best practice guidelines for managing digital signage assets:

  • Ensure all picture files are the same format (JPEG, PNG, TIF, et al)
  • Ensure all video files are the same format (MP4, AVI, et al)
  • Ensure digital signage assets are named in a consistent manner
  • Ensure pictures and videos are compressed appropriately to reduce network traffic and file storage requirements


Types of Content Interactivity

Common ways that digital signage can interact with audiences:

  • Touch screen
  • Touchless gesture-based or voice control
  • Mobile device interaction (eg QR-code, mobile app)
  • Content playback triggered by scheduled event
  • Content playback triggered by age/gender/level of attentiveness (biometrics)


Content Design Best Practice

Best practice guidelines for content design:

  • Fonts and readability:
    • Select from sans serif fonts
    • Minimum text height is determined by the maximum viewing distance calculated as follows:
      • Given V is the maximum viewing distance in millimetres (mm)
      • Given T is the minimum text height in millimetres (mm)
      • T = V / 500
      • Example: At a viewing distance of 8m (8,000mm), all text should be at least 16mm high in order to be legible. See “physical image height to vertical pixels scaling factor” below for further explanation and a table to assist with this.
  • Concise text and messages:
    • If the audience is in transit, text should convey a message in as few words as possible:
      • 3 lines of text with 5 words per line
      • 5 lines of text with 3 words per line
    • If the audience is waiting (lobby, waiting room) text may be up to 1 paragraph
  • Design for accessibility, using organisational and/or national standards
  • Be mindful of colours and contrast that may make the content difficult to distinguish
  • Avoid rapid strobe effects that may harm people who are prone to seizures
  • If applicable, communications and marketing managers must peer review content to ensure branding and messages are approved
  • If the content will be reused as a template, consider adding notes or comments that may help others to modify the content for new messages and playlists
  • If the content contains 3D scenes rendered in real-time, specialist media player hardware may be required
  • If the content contains audio, speakers may be required near to the digital signage endpoint, however if the playback of the content is nearby the regular working area of people, it is important to consider that repeating audio will become annoying, and a request or direct intervention to mute the audio will be very likely.
  • Content protected by copyright and digital rights:
    • ensure the content may be used for digital signage purposes
    • digital signage may be categorised as public broadcasting as it relates to copyright law
    • digital signage presentation may also be considered a modification of the original artwork
    • ensure any credits, or royalties are distributed to the relevant parties (if applicable)


Table – Physical Image Height to Vertical Pixels Scaling Factor

The below table is a reference lookup for the scaling factor of number of vertical pixels across the physical display viewable image height. It may be used to estimate the text image height for digital signage content. By knowing the estimated text height, and the estimated maximum viewing distance, the content creator can ensure readability of the content.


  • A 55-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080 (1080p) and is installed in portrait orientation;
  • The viewable image is 1250mm high;
  • The scaling factor is 0.7 (1250mm / 1920 pixels);
  • If the maximum viewing distance is 8m, text should be at least 16mm high to be legible
  • 8,000mm / 500 = 16mm
  • 16mm / 0.7 = 23 pixels
  • Content text should be at least 23 pixels high


720p Landscape 1080p Landscape 720p Portrait 1080p Portrait
720 vertical pixels 1080 vertical pixels 1280 vertical pixels 1920 vertical pixels
Image height (mm) Vertical pixels scaling factor Vertical pixels scaling factor Vertical pixels scaling factor Vertical pixels scaling factor
H 250mm 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.1
H 500mm 0.7 0.5 0.4 0.3
H 750mm 1.0 0.7 0.6 0.4
H 1000mm 1.4 0.9 0.8 0.5
H 1250mm 1.7 1.2 1.0 0.7
H 1500mm 2.1 1.4 1.2 0.8
H 1750mm 2.4 1.6 1.4 0.9
H 2000mm 2.8 1.9 1.6 1.0
H 2250mm 3.1 2.1 1.8 1.2
H 2500mm 3.5 2.3 2.0 1.3
H 2750mm 3.8 2.5 2.1 1.4
H 3000mm 4.2 2.8 2.3 1.6
H 3250mm 4.5 3.0 2.5 1.7
H 3500mm 4.9 3.2 2.7 1.8
H 3750mm 5.2 3.5 2.9 2.0
H 4000mm 5.6 3.7 3.1 2.1
H 4250mm 5.9 3.9 3.3 2.2
H 4500mm 6.3 4.2 3.5 2.3
H 4750mm 6.6 4.4 3.7 2.5
H 5000mm 6.9 4.6 3.9 2.6
H 5250mm 7.3 4.9 4.1 2.7
H 5500mm 7.6 5.1 4.3 2.9
H 5750mm 8.0 5.3 4.5 3.0
H 6000mm 8.3 5.6 4.7 3.1


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