The Importance of Well-Designed Content Layouts
What to avoid when creating, designing and branding content layouts
Digital content has become an integral part of communication in the workplace. This content can be viewed in many forms from digital signage, social media, collaboration platforms, and more. Given that digital signage can now tie in with collaboration platforms, be seen in multiple mediums, and is customizable to associate and client messaging, what that content looks like is important. Using templates, custom content and avoiding some of the following pitfalls will help signage look professional, readable and interesting.
Content with Text
Content with too much text means readers won’t be able to digest the entire piece of content in time before another slide is shown. Viewers don’t want to try to read content with too much text in the allotted time. A few sentences at most will be finished by the viewer in the allotted time. Keep in mind signage content slides show for about 8-12 seconds on average. Additionally, short attention spans mean the focused reading time is even shorter. Also, remember that white space can be your friend. By allowing for enough white space and space in the margins, the reader can properly take in and finish reading or viewing the information.
- Add line breaks in text to prevent text walls
- Keep the messaging minimal
- Allow for white space
- Utilize calls-to-action as a short and efficient way to get the viewers’ attention
Over or Undersized Content
When content is sized incorrectly, white space and readability become difficult. If there is too much white space, the screen will look empty and unfinished. If content doesn’t fit correctly, it might end up looking small and unreadable. When it comes to content, there’s a fine line between too much and too little. Too little will make the screen look incomplete, and too much will get cut off or compromise margins and white space.
- Strike the right balance between white space and content size
A lack of contrast between text and background will make content difficult to read. A logo or text shouldn’t be placed over a busy photographic background.
- Don’t layer objects and content all on top of one another
Additionally, no visual hierarchy will lose the reader. If the text is all one size, font or boldness, there’s no indication of what’s most important. Contrast is necessary between headers, titles and other parts of the design. This way, content is easy to digest by importance.
- Format headers or more important text with a larger text size, distinct accent colors or text treatment
- Use smaller text or an italic for a subhead
- Style body copy with the least significance
Having layouts and content properly branded to organization standards builds trust and reinforces brand and message. For example, NYU messaging needs to have their signature purple, Stanley Black and Decker must include black and yellow. Consistent branding is important. Content that uses different fonts, colors, images or styles that depart from the general brand seems untrustworthy or is not recognizable as belonging to the organization, confusing viewers, and potentially losing their interest.
- Keep colors and font brand consistent
Poorly Designed Messaging
Just as poorly designed content is difficult to read and digest in the short amount of time that a single slide is available, poorly designed messaging can also impact how content is received. Poorly designed or branded slides can look amateurish or untrustworthy. A slide that looks like it was created with minimal effort will receive minimal views.
- When in doubt, keep it looking clean, and remember less is more.
Create and optimize layouts and templates for signage so content will always be branded and work exactly right for displays, kiosks, collaboration platforms and wherever content is being viewed. Create templates that guarantee content is the right size and resolution, and with a max text guide (i.e., don’t use more text than what is currently on this template), your content will look its best. Build templates so that content creators with no design experience simply enter text, an image (if required) and the content will look designer-made, every time.
Content for any form of digital signage is important. Whether you are targeting associates or clients, making sure your work doesn’t fall prey to these common mistakes will help increase brand credibility and leave a positive impression.