When choosing typefaces (fonts) for digital signage, keep simplicity and versatility in mind as you proceed. The size of the text is calibrated on a point scale – a normal word document is often written in 10 or 12 point font. Typical typefaces such as Times New Roman that are often used in printed works should be avoided on digital signage as their serifs (you can think of them like a hat) get lost on screens and make them difficult to read. Typefaces with a thin “stroke” should also be avoided as they can get lost on screen.
Below are some questions to ask yourself before choosing typefaces:
1.) Where will my digital signage be displayed? This will impact how large or small the typefaces should be. Type should never be below 12 pt font, and usually for digital signage no less than 18-20 pt font. A good rule of thumb is for every 10 feet of viewing distance, 1 inch should be added to the text size.
2.) What type of backgrounds will be behind the text on my signage? Will the background be a flat color, or will it be image? If an image is behind the text, try to blur it or put a dark or light filter over the image so that there’s contrast between the text and background.
3.) What type of resolution does my display have? This will impact how thin your typefaces should be – try to stay away from typefaces with a thin stroke.
4.) What types of messages are you trying to get across? If you’re displaying emergency text, you should choose a different typeface than if you are advertising for a wedding reception. You can emote feelings through choosing a typeface whether it be bold and loud, or soft and quiet. (see below for example)
Choosing type families to use can be tricky, but will set your signage up for success if you have a plan and stick with it.
Check back next month for more Digital Signage Design tips!