October 10, 2018
Digital Signage Tips and Tricks

Digital Design Contrast: Make Your Message Stand Out

How To Use High and Low Contrast on Digital Signage

Our last lesson in the ‘Your Design Matters’ series covered the importance of utilizing composition best practices in your design. This month's lesson will cover how to use contrast to create interesting campaigns, and how to draw attention to certain elements on your slides.

Contrast is defined as "the arrangement of opposing elements in a piece to create visual interest, excitement, and drama." Most people take this to mean alternating light and dark colors, but there are other elements that also bring contrast to a piece. Different textures and arrangements, for instance, can incorporate contrast to your individual slides and channel.

Color Contrast

First, let’s focus on the contrast between colors. Have you ever heard the phrase that something is "in a gray area?" This can be literally taken as something appearing neither light nor dark, therefore undefined and unclear.

Bad and good

Here are two slides with the same content and layout, but with different text colors. In the left example, the text blends in with the photo because it is too thin and too similar to the background color. In the right example, we have corrected this issue by changing the text color to a shade that compliments the photo. We’ve also changed the font weight to be heavier, thus making the words stand out more. By lightening the background color, we have separated the photo from the background, too.

Texture Contrast

In this example, the background texture is causing the issue. Having textures is good; it adds variety, but it needs to be utilized carefully as to not create a disconnection between the content and background. Adding the semi-transparent banner between the background and text lets both elements work together by allowing separation.

Bad and Good

Size Contrast

This is a tricky example. It’s still important to understand that contrast also applies to size and repetition as well. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the first example, it lacks excitement. The photos are all the same size. If several slides like this were to play one after another, nobody would realize the slides were even changing. 

Bad and Good

By alternating the sizes and positions of the photos, we create more options for layouts. When several are played after one another, it creates a noticeable effect. Take a look at the content you're running. If everything looks the same, your content might be lacking some contrast. Try implementing our tips above and watch as your content starts to attract viewers.

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