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In Praise of Designers

Jun 13, 2011 3:28 PM, By Vern Freedlander, Vice President, Production, X2O Media

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We could have a long discussion about what kind of content makes for the most effective digital signage. In truth, the right content solution will depend on many factors that are related to communications objectives, target audience, and the venue itself. However, there is one factor that trumps all of these considerations: design quality.

Today’s audiences are more sophisticated than ever when it comes to the look and feel of content on their screens, and the proliferation of HDTV and sophisticated online graphics has significantly raised the bar for digital signage. Viewers know instantly what looks professional and what doesn’t, and if they feel the digital signage presentation is below par, that negative first impression will stick and taint anything appearing on the network, including advertising.

For network operators and integrators, the only solution to achieving a look and feel that is consistently presented professionally is to work with a skilled designer or have access to materials crafted by a strong design team. A DIY approach to screen layout and content creation simply won’t cut it. While we live in an age where design tools are available to everyone, that doesn’t make everyone a designer. Passing along general tips such as what specific fonts or color combinations to use does not turn an amateur into a professional, seasoned designer who understands the digital signage medium and can expertly create an attention-grabbing look.

Audiences have come to expect a broadcast-style graphic presentation with digital signage, and you need a real designer on your team who can at the very least come close to that standard. This may sound expensive, but through templates and other creative workflows, it is possible to achieve and maintain a high level of design quality at a reasonable price.

Vern Freedlander is vice president of production services for Montréal-based X2O Media, a full-service provider of technology, network management and content services for professional digital signage applications. With more than 20 years of broadcast television experience as a producer, director, and executive, Freedlander oversees all of X2O Media’s content initiatives. He can be reached at

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