How to Create Digital Signage in Photoshop
Digital Signage is taking the business world by storm, revolutionizing the way that companies market their brands and products and communicate with their employees and improving the way that people interact with physical stores.
There are so many benefits that come with integrating a digital signage system into your store, but the prospect may seem daunting. While many digital signage solutions provide templates, you may decide that you want to create your own digital signage without the templates.
One of the best tools available for creating digital signage is Adobe Photoshop. While beginning designers may want to start with a design platform like Canva, which makes the design process extremely easy, others will find that they want all of the added functionality that comes with making digital signage content on Adobe Photoshop.
However, it is generally recommended that you already be familiar with Photoshop before you decide to use it as your design software of choice. One reason for this is that it is quite a complex program. The other is that a subscription to photoshop costs money, while other design tools like Canva are completely free unless you want to upgrade to Canva Pro.
In this article, we will cover all of the steps to take to create digital signage in the design powerhouse that is Adobe Photoshop.
Steps Before Photoshop
1. Do Your Research
If this is your first time making a design for digital signage, it is important to do your research first and not to immediately jump into any unfamiliar waters.
You should know who your target audience is, what message you want to convey, and what makes digital signage the best medium for conveying this message. Doing your research first will enable you to know what exactly you are doing and why you are making digital signages in the first place.
2. Create A Realistic Outline and Brainstorm Ideas
Create an outline that will allow you to determine the kind of content that should be included in your digital signage. While at it, brainstorm possible ideas on what your digital signage will contain. This gives you a bird’s eye view into its overall scope, particularly the end result of the material.
3. Sketch Out Your Brainstormed Ideas
Although this is the challenging part, you can also consider this the most fun part since this is where you are going to materialize the potential ideas that you have brainstormed. This is also the step where you can even come up with more alternative designs aside from the brainstormed ideas you have initially thought of.
4. Consider Your Target Audience
Hopefully, by this point, you have determined who your target audience is. Next, you need to view your design through the lens of your target audience.
If you were in the shoes of your target audience, will you approve of your own design? It is best to keep a viewing distance when creating your digital signage. To do so, determine where your target audience will be standing when viewing your digital signage. Along with that, you also need to determine how they are going to interact with the message you are trying to convey.
5. Get Feedback from Other People
No matter how much you think your design is already good, it is encouraged that you present it to other people and gain valuable feedback from them. Their feedback will enable you to further explore the ideas you have initially presented. This is also one way for you to place yourself in other people’s shoes. Do not take their feedback personally and see this as an objective opinion.
Creating Digital Signage in Photoshop
1. Open a new project in Photoshop
The first step is opening the project in photoshop. This is quite easy. Once you get to the photoshop home screen, you will be presented with the option to create a new project. Once you do that, photoshop will take you to the workspace for your new project.
2. Determine Width and Height
This is one of the most important steps when it comes to creating digital signage in Photoshop. The width and height of your image need to correspond to that required by the digital screen you plan to display the image on.
The standard TV width/height is 1920/1080. If you are planning on displaying the design on a different type of screen, then you will have to adjust the width and height accordingly.
The reason that this step is so important is that a mistake at this early stage could result in a lot of wasted time. You don’t want to put in all your time to design the perfect content only to find that you made it the wrong size.
3. Choose Your Background
Some people might have an image in mind that they want for a background for the digital design they are creating. For example, if you are running a beachside tiki bar, you might want to use a picture of the ocean as your background photo. To do this, you would simply need to grab the photo file from wherever it is stored on your computer and drop it in the photoshop workspace.
Alternatively, you might just want a color as your background. This is also quite simple. Look at the photoshop toolbar and click the Fill/Adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and select Solid Color. Pick a color from the Color Picker that appears. You can move the round selector to adjust the color, and then click OK. Tip: Drag the vertical slider on the rainbow-colored bar to view a different color range.
4. Pick Your Picture
For some, simply choosing a background and adding some text will be all that they want for a simple design. However, you might want to have a picture in the foreground. Returning to the tiki bar example, you could drag an image of two cups full of pina colada over the image of the ocean.
When you drag the picture into Photoshop, you will be able to resize it and center it so that the picture fits in the overall image the way that you want it. You resize by using the box that surrounds the picture and dragging it outward to enlarge it and inward to make it smaller.
5. Choose Your Font, Color, and Size
On the left side of the workspace, you will see a number of icons. One of these icons will inevitably be in the shape of a “T.” This is the text edit icon. Once you select this icon, you can draw a text box over your image. Moreover, you will be able to pick the font, the color, and the size of the text.
This part is extremely important. One factor that separates okay designers and great designers is the proper choice of font. The font can say so much about a business or a brand. It can convey elegance, playfulness, seriousness, and much more. Beginning designers will often just choose the first font available, but this is an area that can truly make or break a design.
6. Add Your Brand’s Logo
Ideally, you will have a digital copy of your brand’s logo that you can simply drag from your files onto the image you have been working on. Adding the logo is important since it can help spread brand awareness and brand recognition.
7. Export Your Design
The final step is to export your design. You will want to export your file as a PNG since these types of files work best with digital signage hardware.
To save it as a png, go to File>Export>Export As… In the export dialog box, choose PNG under “format” then click Export All. Photoshop will automatically convert the image to RGB and save it as a PNG without affecting the file on your canvas.
Other Functions in Photoshop
What we have given you is a bare-bones description of what it might look like to design digital signage in photoshop. However, there are many more features you can use to perfect your design. Some of the most popular functions we will enumerate below:
1. Adjust Saturation of Images
The saturation factor of your colors may be adjusted. You can lower the saturation if you think the image is too imposing, or if it is looking a little pale then you can increase the saturation for a fuller look.
2. Adjust Color Levels
There is often a slider function that allows you to play with the brightness and contrast at the same time. You can play with the levels to see if your image looks better. You can make the picture look a lot brighter and fuller than it actually is in a way that you may not be able to achieve (at least not as well) if you were to adjust the brightness and contrast separately.
3. Alter Highlights and Shadows
Most modern photoshop programs allow you to control how bright the highlights and the shadows are. The highlights are the bits where the light hits the objects directly and you may tone them down a little if things look a little too glary. You may also increase the lightness of your shadows so they do not look as looming.
4. Remove Obvious Distortions
There are many programs that allow you to specify a certain area and then bend it so distortions disappear. Failing that you may use the clone function (mentioned in tip number 8 below). The bending and fixing functions are marginally in the intermediate area, but a little bit of practice will help you to nail it.
5. Crop Images
This is very easy with modern Photoshopping programs. You are often given a small frame that you may adjust in order to crop your image. You are then able to click on the crop button and it crops your image for you. If you do not like the look then you can click an undo button and try again.
6. Set the Orientation and Straightness of the Image
You can set it to landscape or portrait, and you may also adjust the angle at which the image is set by spinning it on a central axis. This often leaves white spaces around the edges, so you will need to crop your image once you are done.
7. Cloning Images to Remove Blemishes
The clone tool will take image pixels from a small area near the blemish so that you may paint over it and the blemish disappears. It is easy to become quite proficient at this if you practice a little and keep zooming in and out to see how it looks.
8. Removing Red Eye
This is very simple and many photoshopping programs will do it automatically for you. The only problem is that red eye has no reflections in it, and any reflection is usually completely gone after the red eye function has worked which leaves you with black and vacant eyes. If this happens you may like to try adding a little texture back into the pupil and maybe even try adding a reflection in there.
This should really be done for inspiration as to a few changes you should make to the image. There are rare times when the image will look great after an auto-adjust, but the program usually gets an element or two wrong. If it does look okay then consider changing the image after the auto-adjust has done its thing.
Making the Most Out of Digital Signage
There are so many benefits to digital signage that you certainly do not want to miss out because of the design barrier. Photoshop is just one of many design tools that you can use to create eye-popping images that instantly grab the attention of your intended audience.
However, Photoshop is truly a complex program and requires some training and practice before you can become proficient. Still, some hard work can be well worth it to unleash the power of Photoshop.