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Style Guide for Graphical Content

Last updated on September 26, 2016

One of the most important elements of any Concerto display is the use of eye-catching, vivid images. Graphics can take the form of event flyers, original artistic creations, or visual announcements. But if you are submitting content that is graphical in nature, you'll want to pay careful attention to the size, colors, fonts, and composition of your content.

Most graphical content on the Concerto screen will appear in one or more designated "graphics" blocks on the screen. These blocks at St Andrew's are generally in a 3:2 aspect ratio (3" wide and 2" tall, or some multiple of that ratio). That means that the recommended size for most graphical content should preserve these relative dimensions. We recommend you stick to keeping your graphical slides at a maximum of 1200 pixels by 800 pixels. If you don't stick to a 3:2 aspect ratio, Concerto displays will take the larger dimension and shrink the entire image to fit in each graphics block. For this reason, you should avoid creating content that is really narrow or really tall. If you create content with a higher resolution, it will still display correctly, but it will unnecessarily slow down the loading of the display. Similarly try to keep the size of any files below about 100kb. This is especially true of digital photographs. Please don't attempt to load an uneditted photo of several Mb in size. It will take for ever!

Concerto supports JPEG, PNG, and GIF images, as well as PDF documents. Creating content can be done using many different programs: Microsoft Powerpoint, Paint Shop Pro, Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop and others.

If using Powerpoint, you should set Design->Page Setup->Slides sized for... "35mm slides" (which will give the correct 3 x 2 aspect ratio). We recommend, however, that for most purposes it is best to make use of the St Andrew's powerpoint template, and then save the result as a JPEG. Use "Save as" and then choose "Save as Type: JPEG". If the powerpoint file contains more than one slide you will be offered the option to save just the current slide or all of them. It is as well to also save the original.pptx file so you will have it should you need to edit the slide later.

You can download the template from here. (You may need to right click and choose "save link as" in firefox)

St Andrew's Graphics Templat.

St Andrew's graphics template.

It is important to keep these guidelines in mind, because moderators are more likely to deny your content submissions if your content does not adhere to them!

How Much Text is Too Much Text?

The average amount of time for which a single graphic is up on a Concerto display is 8 seconds. In studying the effectiveness of different visual compositions over a period of time, we found this to be the ideal duration for each piece of content in order to maintain a balance between the amount of content a person will see as they pass by a display and the amount of time given to each individual message. This means that you're going to have to design your content in order to send your message completely within a few short seconds.

Avoid lengthy blocks of text at all costs. Try to emphasize the most important information on every slide. For instance, if you're advertising an event, people should be able to clearly distinguish the name, date, time, and location for the event. While you are free to add in other information and imagery to promote this event, no other text on the flyer should be emphasized over those basic details.

A Special Note About A4 Content

As stated above, it is strongly recommended that you stick to a 3:2 aspect ratio for all the graphical content you send to Concerto. However, unlike other digital signage systems, Concerto can accept any aspect ratio of content. That means that a page you make as a PDF or Word document for printing on portrait A4 can still look fine on a Concerto display - it is just shrunken to fit into the 3:2 aspect ratio box for graphics, leaving extra margins to the left and right of the page. If you submit content in this aspect ratio, it's even more important for you to use text sparingly. Cut out as much unneeded text as you can, and attempt to crop the flyer from its standard A4 size ratio. The more you crop the height down, the better it will fill out the graphics space on Concerto displays when it is displayed. If possible, use landscape.

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