February Tech Tip
Graphic Design for LED Content
One of the common challenges faced by LED end users is generating suitable content for LED screens. The following are key considerations that must be addressed in designing correct, impactful and powerful content.
Screen resolution and aspect ratio (the ratio of width to height)
LED screens are not mass manufactured as an integrated, consumer grade device the same as LCD screens, which are all 1920×1080 resolution (a 16:9 aspect ratio). Each project can have different pitch, height, width and resolutions. This is important to note, as content must be made for the screen to avoid stretching/warping. It’s also important to note, that to achieve a 1920×1080 resolution on a P10 LED screen, the screen would need to be 19.2 metres wide and 10.8 metres high. This would be huge, but generally outdoor screens are in the way of 200-400pixels wide by high. Content should be designed that caters to the resolution for the screen playing it, keeping in mind that a highly detailed photo with details may not be effective and is usually unnecessary. Large logos, colour and captivating text is the key to powerful and identifiable content.
The use of white in content
The use of white colours is important in design of suitable content for LED screens. White backgrounds tend to be the ‘go to’ as it is the trend with LCD screens. For LED, white backgrounds are a big no – white required the diode to activate all three colours per pixel (red, green and blue), which shortens lifespan, increases heat production and power consumption. Of course, white content is not a problem as part of an image, but fixed as a background for prolonged periods it not only damages hardware, but deters audiences from viewing the screen especially at night, where it can be very overpowering.
Using colours to communication visual messages is One World LED’s cornerstone – all of our hardware is designed to display full colour, we do not supply any single/multi colour hardware. Colours close to the 3 colours within the pixel (red, green and blue) are most accurately and efficiently produced; but contrasting colours are easiest to distinguish between. A neon green next to a yellow for example, is highly ineffective. What can look fine on an LCD, does not necessarily perform well on an LED screen when sunlight is added to the mix.
Creating the content
With the above in mind, whoever is designing the content should consider what software they’re going to use to create it. Powerpoint and Paint are very accessible and familiar, but aren’t really up to the standard if users wish to utilize the capabilities of their brand new LED screen.
Adobe Illustrator (paid) is an industry level vector graphic production software package. Used by graphic designers to service multiple industries, this software has many resources, support and training videos available. This software is generally speaking, the choice for industry level graphic production
Adobe Photoshop (paid) is another highly accessible industry level graphic modification software suite. The software is better for editing, rather than producing graphics – but proficient users find the software flexible enough to serve the purpose of producing digital graphics.
Inkscape (free) is an open source vector graphics package. It is staggeringly powerful, and is the best free alternative to Adobe Illustrator for pro and semi-pro illustrators, graphic designers and web designers.
GIMP (free) is an open source graphic manipulation program, largely regarded as the ‘free Photoshop’. Many online resources are available.
Canva (free) is a web-based content creation platform. Very easy to use and highly accessible, users can choose from a large online database of backgrounds, font types and colours to produce their desired content. It’s easy to set the resolution, drag and drop then export the image for use.
Please visit One World’s Contents Primer for further information.