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The Future of Posters is Digital

Julia RichardsDecember 2020
The Future of Posters is Digital

There are few phrases which define themselves and yet can still create so much confusion.

One such phrase is “Digital Poster”.

Why do people get confused when they hear about this? We look at digital posters all the time — at bus stops, on large-scale TV screens, inside retail stores, outside malls, and so on.

Digital Posters are exactly what they sound like. They’re posters. And they’re digital!

What the word doesn’t say, however, is that they’re also awesome.

 

How does a digital poster work?

Digital posters can be static, or they can utilise motion graphics.

They can also get really fancy: There is such a thing as an interactive digital poster equipped with a touch-screen.

Check out this video of an interactive digital poster at an airport.

digital poster

(And, for the record, we love Michael Kors.)

In order to create an interactive digital poster, you do need to invest in the right kind of screen as well as the right software to display your poster. We’ll talk about this in a second.

The unbelievably high-tech digital poster in the screenshot below, from THINK! Road Safety utilises something more than just a touchscreen and digital display. It also has a special compartment in order for users to interact fully with the device. Such advertising is priceless.

Well, okay, it’s not priceless; it’s no-doubt very pricey.

digital poster

But we show you the above examples for you to get an idea of how much potential digital posters have. They are limited only by someone’s imagination.

And, as a bonus, think of all those saved trees!

Didn’t we say that digital posters are awesome?

Like any other poster, a digital poster for a business must be targeted to a specific audience. You wouldn’t put a digital poster advertising Coca-Cola at a weight-loss gathering, eh?

To get ready to start displaying your own digital posters, you’re going to need a few things.

Digital poster screen

This can be a simple TV or computer monitor, or a screen dedicated specifically to digital posters.

Really, if you’re going to do digital posters properly (which we’re sure you are), then you should invest in one of the many digital poster display screens available out there today.

An entire industry has grown up around this subject.

Teksmart is one company that specialises in digital poster displays. (Oh, and we’re not getting paid to tell you about Teksmart, by the way.)

Digital poster screen

The above screenshot shows one of their displays, specifically designed for displaying indoor digital posters.

Generally speaking, indoor displays tend to be smaller than outdoor ones as they are often used to convey further information about a product. They also don’t need to be as robust as outdoor displays.

Teksmart

Teksmart also offers a number of outdoor displays, as shown in the image above. The signs are robust and weather-proofed, allowing posters to be displayed in any weather.

If you run a business where your sign will need to be outside in inclement weather, these devices might be a good choice for your digital poster needs.

Screenly.io, which provides digital poster display software, recommends the NEC P-series and NEC V-series of displays for commercial-grade displays that need to be used outside, or that need to be on reliably, 24 hours a day.

NEC P and V Series

The NEC P and V Series offer a plethora of features for truly sophisticated display signage. One cool feature is its real-time clock. This allows digital signage software to change the poster being shown at specific times of the day.

A lot goes into choosing the right screen for your digital poster. Weather is just one consideration.

Some screens come with software for digital signage built right into them. Others require that you purchase additional software.

Sometimes, additional software is required anyway.

A wide choice exists. And the device you will display the poster on will likely carry the heftiest price tag in your overall digital poster investment.

So study all the options available, not the least of which is the quality of the screen itself, and how good your digital poster looks on it.

A simple online search will find you a number of items in addition to the ones above for you to look into.

Example of Outdoor Digital Poster

Example of Outdoor Digital Poster

 

Digital poster software

Digital poster software is software specific to displaying digital poster content on a screen. It takes care of such things as transitions, brightness, display length for each poster, scheduling, and a number of other key things.

This “digital media software” can run directly inside the digital poster display that you’ve purchased, in which case all you would need to do is load the posters into the display via a USB stick or an SD card or some other method.

Or the software can run independently, connected to the device wirelessly or via a cable.

Another choice is a cloud option which integrates both of the above.

Besides, it’s the 21st century. Everything runs on the cloud.

Everything runs on the cloud

Screenly.io sells a device that you must connect to your screens in order to transfer media to them and to control them remotely using Screenly’s online platform. Using this solution allows you to control innumerable signs around the globe, provided they are all connected to your Screenly account.

This is a great solution if you run a central office that wants to push out nationwide promotional content on a schedule without the hassle of exchanging fifty-gazillion (yes, that’s an actual number) emails and WhatsApp messages to coordinate the timing of those digital posters.

Man, some people are so 20th century, y’know?

Another interesting offering in the signage software arena is QuickESign.

QuickESign

QuickESign works with Roku devices to offer an easy way to push content to outdoor signs and then manage them using an online dashboard.

You can use QuickESign if your TV has Roku integrated into it, or with your Amazon FireStick, or directly via Roku devices.

Like everything else in this arena, a simple search will give you a myriad of choices to select from.

 

A professional digital poster design

You don’t want to skimp on this.

One of the key benefits of digital posters is that they grab attention. Slight design-flaws in small-scale designs are bad enough, but in a large-scale digital poster, they can be catastrophic.

Pick out a few quid from your pocket and send that money over to the best of the best pros (that’s us, of course) for an expertly designed digital poster.

Digital Poster Design Landing Page

 

Benefits of digital posters

Well, the environment, duh! Think of all those poor trees they had to cut down to make your poster!

But there are other benefits, too.

 

Digital posters are easy to update

Digital posters are easy to change if you have a digital poster displaying on multiple screens across the country and then discover — uh-oh! — that there was a typo in it (it happens). In that case, all you would need to do is send over the new design and, hesto-presto, your updated poster is live.

If you’re displaying digital posters in your local branch on, say, TV screens on the wall, then changing the poster is as easy as pie, especially if you’re using the right digital poster management software.

digital poster management software

 

They’re cost-effective

Not only would you save if a change to the poster is needed, but you also save on printing costs. (And think of all those saved trees and forests and happy squirrels!)

They’re also “time-effective”. (Is that even a word? Now it is.)

Imagine the hassle of needing to rush over to the printers to get a new poster printed up because you just had another price change.

Remember the days of having to print posters?

Remember the days of having to print posters

Goodness, by the time those tree-killing posters arrived, your prices might’ve changed again.

Save trees. And save time. Get a digital poster. (Hey, that could be our slogan.)

 

Rotating messages

But, goodness me, why stop there? If these digital posters are so easy to modify (which they are, in case you didn’t get that), then why only change them if there’s a typo or — heavens forbid — some politically incorrect message on there!

You could generate multiple versions of the digital poster and show those different versions throughout the day. This prevents your poster from becoming “stale”.

If the digital poster is being displayed at a bus stop, someone who catches the bus every day might “stop seeing” the poster altogether because their mind grows so accustomed to it.

Even only slight changes to a digital poster can grab someone’s attention. Such changes can include:

  • Changing the model but keeping the pose similar
  • Changing the pose of the model
  • Slight colour variations

The trick is to keep the overall look constant so that the viewer associates that look with your brand. You don’t want to create a completely different message for each rotating poster.

 

Digital posters are more easily seen.

Digital posters have the benefit of being backlit by a screen. That means they’re more likely to be seen.

If the poster uses motion graphics, then that’s more likely to catch attention as well.

Oh, and we forgot to mention the coolest bananas of them all: Remember all that funky-dunky stuff in Minority Report where ads were tailored to the people walking past them?

Well, duh, that tech is, like, right here already.

newspaper

Although this feature has more to do with the software management and screen that is being used to display the poster, it is nonetheless cool-beans to know about.

 

Digital posters can be interactive.

Hello, touchscreens!

 

Where to use digital posters

Like, everywhere.

No, seriously, everywhere!

Fine, fine, you probably wouldn’t go stick up a digital poster on that dingy wall behind the train station where every new EDM artist, underground club and extreme-left-or-right political organisation has put tree-killing posters.

But…

Below is a screenshot from a promotional video for AERO LED Digital Poster Displays, demonstrating anywhere and everywhere this company wants you to put their display!

promotional video for AERO LED Digital Poster Displays

Different locations have different purposes. The key is to have the screens in place, and then to determine the type of poster or message to put on those screens.

Much of this is up to your creativity and marketing skills. It is also up to how much you want to spend on displays, keeping in mind that outdoor displays are more expensive.

Examples of the different types of displays

Examples of the different types of displays

But here are some tips:

Outdoor screens should grab attention and get people to come inside your store. The posters on these screens should be large and bright, and likely utilise tremendous amounts of motion graphics.

In-store advertising using digital posters should probably be less noticeable and more informative.

Inside your store, you want people to be touching your products, looking at them, and then perhaps glancing up at a screen to get some more information about them.

To this end, in-store digital display posters should be more muted, contain more text for information, and perhaps even utilise interactive features for people to learn more about a product.

Of course, if you have a product you want to attract people’s attention to, then place a large digital poster next to that product to bring them to that part of the store.

 

Where else are digital display posters displayed?

You’ve probably walked past that digital poster in the tube a thousand times and never realised it was a digital poster until now, right?

Ka-tching! We’re all about public service here.

And, yes, that ginormous massive screen you’ve seen at events was probably also a digital poster.

Displaying posters in such high-traffic locations requires entering into a contract with whoever owns those screens and that display space. But displaying them inside your retail store requires no such contract (unless you have elves who help you out at night — but that’s between you and the elves to sort out).

 

Are digital posters more effective than traditionally printed posters?

Say whaaaaaat!?

Like, are you really asking that question? What about all those trees!

traditional poster

Digital posters are far better than traditional posters.

Oh, okay, you really want to know. Well, fear not, we’ll tell you:

Yes, and yes again. Comparing digital signage to physical posters is like comparing Sir Jack Hobbs to, well, Homer Simpson.

(And, for those of you too young to get that cultural reference, go ahead and read this article about England’s greatest cricketers.)

The power of digital signage has been written about here and here and here and here and…

We could go on.

 

The most important thing to remember.

The absolute-most-important thing to know here is that the digital poster design must be of the highest possible quality.

Using Google Slides just isn’t going to cut it. Sorry, you Google Slides experts.

Sure, some of the display devices we spoke about can get expensive, but you can always start out with an old computer screen and computer. If the digital poster has been designed well, it will still look good.

But if the design is bad, no fancy screen or software will make it look better. In fact, the fancier the screen, the worse a bad design will look.

 

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Julia Richards

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