Content standards

The following standards provide a standard for design, layout, typography and image principles as well as instructions for respecting UVic’s visual identity*. These standards will help you to create effective messaging within the digital signage medium.

1. Design principles

Design principles

The design of digital signage slides should be clean, simple, attractive, appropriate and brief.

As a rule, the viewer should be able to comprehend single-image slides within five seconds and a series of image slides or an image-with-words slide within 8-10 seconds.

Key principles to keep in mind are brevity of your content, thoughtful design placement, and a clear call to action. You don't just want your audience to look at your content, you want them to follow up on your messaging.

Keep it simple

Reducing unnecessary text, image and design clutter in your slides will result in a message that is understandable to a passerby.

Some of the best-communicated messages are simple and to the point. Remember that digital slides are not posters. Viewers will only have a few seconds to view your message, so the information should be brief.

As a best practic, try to adhere to the 30-words or less when developing your slide content.

Too much clutter:

toomuchclutter

Appropriately reduced information:

reduced clutter

2. Content formats

Content formats

Static content

All slide content must be created to the dimensions of 1920x1080 pixels, have a resolution of 150ppi (pixels per square inch) and be provided as JPEG files.

Programs for creating static content:

  • Windows PowerPoint
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign

Motion content

Movies must be at least 720p (1280×720 pixels) at 30 frames per second.

Accepted formats:

  • Windows Media Video 9 .wmv
  • MPEG-1 .mpg
  • MPEG-2 .mpg

3. Layout principles

Layout principles

Safe areas

The design elements on a slide must remain within certain “safe zones” to be viewable on screen.

There are two types of safe zones that apply to digital signage: title safe and action safe.

safe areas

Title safe area

The title safe area is a rectangular area that buffers content from the four edges so that text or graphics are visible on the display without distortion. Text content should only be placed in this section.

Title safe area = 128 by 72 pixels from the edge (i.e., don’t put any text content within 128px from the left/right or 72px from the top).

Action safe area

The action safe area extends outside the title safe area.

On most displays content can be seen in the action safe area but it’s not recommended to place vital information within the action safe area. Images and motion graphics can bleed off into this area, however.

Action safe area = 64px by 36px from the edge (i.e., absolutely no text content should be 64px from the left/right or 36px from the top, but some non-essential graphical elements can bleed within this zone).

Communication hierarchy

In your message, include a headline, body copy and call to action.

Communication Heirarchy

Example of communication hierarchy:

Example of communications heirarchy in coop poster

4. Typography

Typography

Keeping the copy concise

Limit the number of words used for copy on each slide.

Too much text:

example of poster with too much text

Recommended type sizes

Headlines: 40 points

Body copy: 24 points

URL/call to action: 28 points

example of recommended font sizes

Recommended word count

Headlines: maximum 18-20 characters

Body copy/call to action: maximum 30 words

example of digital screen with recommended word count

Typefaces – Myriad Pro and Arial

Myriad Pro: Myriad Pro is the institutional typeface of the UVic brand. We encourage content creators to use Myriad Pro for all brand applications including digital signage.

Because Myriad Pro is a licensed typeface, departments must purchase the font. We recommend purchasing Font Folio Education Essentials, which comes with Myriad Pro. Get it on the Adobe website at an educational discount.

myriad pro suite

Arial: Arial is the required alternative typeface to Myriad Pro. It's a standard font on all PC and Mac platforms. It offers a clear, readable typeface for on-screen displays and comes in a variety of weights.

arial suite

5. Images

Images

For images that will exist only in a digital medium (digital signage, websites, television, etc.), it’s best to think only in terms of pixel dimensions. The optimal resolution for digital mediums is 72 dpi (72 pixels per inch).

Pixel size: about 400-600 pixels wide for a large image

Resolution: 72dpi

Appropriate file size: 200kb

Tip: If you’re building digital content in PowerPoint and you're not sure how to check pixel size or resolution of an image, note that PowerPoint integrates photos at their maximum size. As a general rule, don't stretch or increase the size of a photo once it'as been moved into PowerPoint. Any additional manipulation will result in a pixelated, distorted image.

6. Permissions

Permissions

All images representing UVic students, staff or faculty must use those actual students or employees. Stock photos are not permitted. Any individuals identifiable in an image must have signed a photo release form. for a form.

It is the responsibility of content managers to ensure that all images, video or content used in digital signage do not violate copyright or other restrictions.

7. Respecting UVic's brand guidelines

Respecting UVic’s brand elements

We have generated templates for digital signage to assist content creators with adapting to the UVic brand and style.

If you're not using a template, please refer to the UVic brand guidelines for instructions on logo placement, treatment and colour palette options.

8. UVic style guide

UVic Style Guide

Please ensure that copy written for digital signage follows the UVic Style Guide.

*Resources

The above standards were written and piloted by the University of British Columbia and tailored to the UVic brand and communications standards. They are based on industry research and what has been proven to work for the UBC university campus environment. You can read all about their project, successes and recommendations on the UBC Digital Signage website.