Tips For Creating Digital Menus

When it comes to creating digital menus, it’s pretty easy to get it wrong. So here are 8 tips on creating digital menus that look great and are easy to read! You can also find a video that we made if you would rather watch and listen than read.

#1 Background should be a light color

I know it’s really tempting to use a dark background with light text. Multiple studies have been done, and the verdict is in: It’s easier to read dark text on a light background. Dark text on a light background causes less eye strain and is easier to read.

Don’t use black either, use #444444 or #212121 instead. They aren’t quite black but can be easier on the eyes to read than straight black. Experiment with these colors to see what is the most readable on your digital menu boards.

#2 Don’t use cursive or script fonts

Decorative fonts are fun for wedding invitations or birthday parties. Unless it’s part of your logo, don’t use these fonts on a digital menu. We are aiming for legibility. It can be off-putting when you can’t read the text on your menu. There are still plenty of great looking fonts to choose from. Google has a massive font library full of free and great looking fonts. If you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription you can use Adobe Typekit fonts for free as well.

#3 Keep your menus uncluttered

It’s tempting to throw a lot of information on your menus, to tell your customers everything and anything they might ever want to know about your menu items. However, this can make it hard to read your menus, and it can make them visually unappealing. Focus on the required information, and allow your customers the opportunity to interact with your wonderful staff should they have any questions.

#4 Use high quality food images

Remember, you’re trying to entice customers to buy your food. Don’t scare them away with poor food images. You won’t regret hiring a pro to do this for you. It’s entirely possible to do it yourself, but if you don’t have the time or skill to do it right, just hire someone.

#5 Avoid thin fonts

Remember, we are going for legibility. Thin fonts can often be hard to read, especially from far away. Test out your fonts to make sure they are legible from the correct distance.

#6 Get some ideas!

Don’t be afraid to borrow ideas from menus you like. Maybe they have a great layout, or great photos. Snap a picture and either recreate it with your own twist, or ask your designer to design something similar. You obviously don’t want to copy someone else outright, but it’s always great to borrow ideas.

#7 Test it on your screens!

You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t even test their menus before they deploy them. There’s no better way to find out if it works than actually putting it up and seeing how it looks. Test, test, and test again. Ask employees and customers their thoughts.

#8 Hire some help

Look I get it. You’re trying to save some money, and it seems like something you can tackle. Why waste your time designing a menu when you can be doing better things? Don’t be afraid to hire a professional to get it just right. Once they’ve designed it, they will often show you how to edit it in the future.

If you hire us to create your menus, we will add your menu to our digital menu editor, and you will be able to update your pricing on your digital menu boards in less than 2 minutes. No uploading required.

If you have questions about digital menu boards, or menu creation drop us a line via sales@frontpointds.com

I hope this post helped you in your journey of creating great looking digital menu boards. If you ever need anything regarding digital signage let us know!

How Many Ads Do We See Per Day?

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I know it may seem odd for the owner of a digital signage company to decry advertising, but I genuinely dislike ads. We actually have a ‘Responsible Digital Signage’ pledge that we live by.

The purpose of this article is to discuss advertising, how it impacts our daily lives, and some of my personal opinions. This is by no means a comprehensive in-depth study.

Bear with me through a little backstory.

We are a young company that is working on growing our client base. Our service is not something that a business typically purchases immediately once they discover us. We have to be in front of the right person, at the right time, when they need us. We started the same way a lot of businesses do, tapping into our networks and telling anyone with an ear about what we are doing. We had some success, but nowhere near our goals. Cue the age old question : ‘How do we get more clients?’ — Our ‘marketing’ budget is basically non-existent, as we are 100% bootstrapped. So here comes the moral dilemma and the impetus for writing this article. I dislike ads, most people ignore ads, yet I somehow have to let prospective customers know that we exist and that we want to work with them. I decided to do a little thinking and introspection on my relationship with ads.

I was curious how many ads I was exposed to daily, and whether I paid any attention to them. I decided that I would track all the advertisements that I saw over the course of a full day. I kept notes in my phone and notebook occasionally with a timestamp.

Some things to note:

  • I typically work from my home office unless I am needed, therefore I don’t commute, limiting my exposure to outdoor advertising.

  • We have a cable subscription but the box is unplugged as my 10-month old daughter likes to play with the remote. I don’t typically see TV commercials.

  • I run my own Plex server. I purchase DVDs and box sets from eBay or second hand stores for my personal library. I don’t have Netflix, Hulu or other entertainment subscriptions. So I don’t see the ads that sometimes preface movies or television from streaming services.

I will admit that I somewhat limited my exposure to ads. I didn’t feel like having to log ads as I was using my phone or computer. I found myself avoiding Instagram, Facebook, and any other site that I know to be full of ads. It would be safe to probably tack on another 30% at the end of the day to account for my behavior change.

I’ll try not to retell my entire day, but I will add context where appropriate.

I woke up at 9 AM with my daughter, and headed into the kitchen to make coffee and start her breakfast. Already, I am hit with advertising. On the kitchen table is the pizza box from last night, advertising the latest Spider-Man movie. Also the regular Papa Johns box (from the cheese sticks!) has plenty of call to actions. Download our App! Go to our site!

I paid for this ad.

I paid for this ad.


I added 2 ticks to my notebook. When I approached the fridge, I noticed that my wife uses magnets from local businesses to hold up various out of date paperwork items. I added 7 ticks. I haven’t even had coffee yet and already I have seen 9 ads. To be fair, the fridge magnets were willingly placed there but advertising nonetheless. As I gazed out the kitchen window I can see my neighbors trailer with the logo of the trailer company clearly visible. Does that count as advertising? I look around the kitchen and realize that logos are everywhere, I decide it’s best not to count them as advertising. The baking soda in the pantry does catch my eye, ‘VALUE SIZE!’ it yells at me. This causes me to pause and realize that the majority of products around the house have some sort of advertising, aside from the logo. Funny enough, they are intended to sway your purchasing decision in the store — it adds little value once in your home. I decide not to call these ads, otherwise my ad count would be little more than an inventory of various products around my house.

It becomes pretty clear to me over the course of the day that ads are literally everywhere. They are inescapable. They are inevitable.

My daughter is eating away, and I whip out my phone to check Facebook. I’m not an avid Facebook user, I just use it to make sure I don’t miss any huge life events of close friends and family. Almost immediately, I am greeted with an ad. After a quick scroll I add 3 ticks to my notebook.

A box with knives I guess. Thanks Facebook.

A box with knives I guess. Thanks Facebook.


The baby and I head into the living room to do our usual routine of taking all of her toys out of the box and aimlessly throwing them around the room. I typically pull a few podcasts up on YouTube while we play, mostly for background noise. 1 podcast, 4 ads. YouTube pre-roll, and 3 in podcast ads. Another podcast, 5 ads.

Around this time my wife wakes up, and I am able to start catching up on news, emails, and anything else noteworthy.

I pull up YouTube on my phone to go through the comments on my channel, 2 ads on the home screen. I head over to The Verge, another ad. And another one. And another one. Any YouTube video I watch is guaranteed to have at least 1 ad if not more. Not that this is unexpected, I’m just noticing it now.

I decide to take out the trash, and as I do a plumbing truck drives by — with a big fat ad on the side. I notice my neighbors car still has the license plate frame from the dealer. Add 2 ticks to my notebook.

After showering and getting dressed I am able to sit down at my computer and tackle my daily tasks. I usually pull up Digg, I admit it’s guilty pleasure of mine. There are ads in front of every video, and multiple ads on the homepage. I easily add 15 ads over the course of 5 minutes. I do my usual tasks, taking note of any advertisements. There are quite a few.

It becomes pretty clear to me over the course of the day that ads are literally everywhere. They are inescapable. They are inevitable.

After my day of counting ads, I was exposed to 136 ads.

I clicked on 0.

I was interested in 0.

Again, I admit that I slightly altered my behavior to specifically avoid ads. I also didn’t leave the house. I didn’t watch TV, or more than 2 YouTube videos. If I had counted advertising on products in my home, I would guess the number would be far higher. If I was bored or aimlessly pointing and clicking around the web, I could have easily inflated that number to 1000 in 30 minutes or so. Some days, when I am procrastinating or going down a rabbit hole, I can easily see myself being exposed to thousands of ads. I found this other article that poses the same question. From their research the average person could see more than 5,000 ads per day. This would vary wildly on your lifestyle, location, and any number of other factors. Hilariously, the website is called stopad.io and at the bottom of the article is a ‘chum-box’.

The dreaded chumbox.

The dreaded chumbox.

At first glance it would seem appalling that we are exposed to so many advertisements. I realize that I have been using computers for the last 22 years of my life. I remember the early days of internet advertising, when blinking banners were the norm. This has caused me, and everyone else to be increasingly desensitized to advertising. We are able to focus on the important things, and ignore the chaff. There is actually a term for this called ‘Banner Blindness’. In our daily lives we are exposed to a lot of stimuli, and our brains simply can’t process every single thing all the time. We focus on the important things that we can act on, or might upset our survival. Unfortunately, for advertisers this means that their big budgets and crafty ads mostly go to waste. They are ignored like the hum of the office air conditioner.

I spend a good portion of the night trying to reconcile my two sides. On one side is Jeremy the business owner, on the other Jeremy the consumer and father. I have always been OK with the prospect of my service and product displaying advertisements, as they are typically in a place of business. Our screens are usually showing ads for the business that you are standing in. A special, a sale item, or some new promotion. When you walk into a business you are entering private property, and you are actively looking for whatever they are selling (most of the time). I don’t find it difficult to justify showing advertisements to consumers in the place of business that is advertising. Besides that, digital signage has many uses outside of displaying ads. Advertisements are only a small part of what our clients use digital signage for.

I’m still unsure about what to do. I have just about every Seth Godin book (if anyone has a copy of ‘Free Prize Inside!’ in the original cereal box please email me) and I fully agree with most of his sentiments. We strive to provide value to our clients, we strive to be human and respect our clients. We also want to respect all of our prospective clients, and not interrupt their days with ads. For now, I’ll stick with our current strategy of letting prospective clients that we exist and are here to help them should they need it. It may be slow and tedious to hand type cold emails, but at least we are trying to rise above the chaff. If you ever receive a cold email from us, know that we hand selected you as someone we wanted to work with and we opted to hand type an email just for you. If you prefer, we could dump all the money that we are paid from our clients into interrupting your day with advertisements, and treat you like a blip on our Google Analytics. If that’s how you want to be treated, well we probably aren’t for you.

Thanks for reading my ad.

Why it Pays to Have an End-To-End Digital Signage Provider

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If you’re like a lot of companies, you may have recognized the need for digital signage. You task your IT team or marketing team with procuring a solution. They head to Google and do some cursory browsing. They find a few software companies, some hardware, and some cloud platforms. They really can’t decide what to buy because they all scream the same thing ‘Cloud based! Easy to use! Works with any Android/Windows/Chrome/Mac device! App integrations!’ — at that point they’re left with deciding on price or some other irrelevant factor.

Perhaps they decide to homebrew a solution using some left over hardware, or they purchase a software subscription and some new hardware. Depending on your signage needs, you may have 3 or 4 separate companies involved with your digital signage. You hire someone to do the installation, a company to deal with your content, a company to manage the networking, your digital signage platform handles the content delivery/support, the hardware vendor, your own internal teams, or some other combination.

That’s a lot of hands in the proverbial pot.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this approach, it can work great.

However, when an issue arises (with technology, it’s not IF it’s WHEN) you start getting the blame game.

‘Looks like the problem is the content, have your content people resize/transcode/etc.’

…Then your creative team comes back and says:

‘No, it’s the signage software thats the problem.’

…The signage software company says:

‘Looks like a hardware problem…have you tried turning it off and on again?’

…. The hardware folks say:

‘Looks like a network problem, let’s reach out to the IT team…’

Round and round it goes no one fixing the issue. All the while, your digital signage isn’t working, your customers are mad, your business looks inept, and you’re wondering why you shelled out all this money for something that just wastes your employees’ time.

Even if you homebrew a solution, it still takes valuable employee time to setup, maintain and deal with. Some companies even hire an employee just to run their digital signage solution! Which can sound like a cost saving measure, until you factor in the management of that employee, desk space, training, insurance and all the other expenses that go with an employee.

An end-to-end digital signage company solves this problem. We sell the hardware, we perform installations, we write the software, we work with IT teams, we create content/understand content, and we support it all.

What you get is someone who knows your signage in and out.

We don’t have to do all the work for you. You can install yourself, you can buy your own hardware, you can run as autonomously as you’d like; but it sure is nice to know that your digital signage provider CAN do all those things — if you need it.

There are some pitfalls that come with hiring a know-it-all end-to-end signage company.

When that company installs your hardware, runs the signage, and everything in between, you’re locked in. It can be expensive to switch companies or solutions. You had better pick a company that knows what they’re doing, and that you enjoy working with.

It can also be overkill. You’ve got a few non-critical screens in the office, or somewhere non-customer facing. If they aren’t working, no one pays any attention. It’s an afterthought, just something that’s nice to have. Joe the sysadmin deals with them when he has a few spare moments, and he’s OK with it. Great! If that’s working for your company and your needs then don’t worry about it.

There’s many ways to handle digital signage. Ultimately, it’s up to you to find out what works best for your organization and your needs. That being said, if you do need advice or your team is in over their head - call the experts.

Don’t waste your team’s time (and money) dealing with something they shouldn’t have to.

Life’s too short to have bad signage.

Digital Signage - What It Is and Why You Need It

This article may come off as a sales pitch or a brochure but I feel this information is incredibly valuable to anyone interested in digital signage.

One of the most common misconceptions I hear about digital signage — is that it is just for advertising. It evokes images of Times Square or Las Vegas, bright displays and advertisements begging you to pay attention. While yes, this is digital signage, it is only a small sub-section of the digital signage space. Digital signage has the ability to be so much more than that.

Digital signage is using a digital display (monitor, television, large format LED, billboard, touchscreen tablet) to display content. Content can be any sort of digital media. Video, images, live streams, web pages, any sort of digital media that can be displayed on a screen. What companies like Frontpoint Digital Signage do is provide a platform to assist in delivering that digital content to displays. Frontpoint Digital Signage also has the advantage of installing and designing display systems, which allows us to create unique experiences tailored to businesses needs.

Digital signage can also be as simple as using a USB stick to display images or videos, Airplaying content via an AppleTV or casting via Chromecast. Which is great, apart from the management of these systems. If you only have a single display, this works great. When you start to get into multiple displays it becomes much more cumbersome to update and keep content fresh. You or your employees have to use their valuable time to deal with your digital displays. This results in content that stagnates, or inevitably just turning the display off. It can be rather off-putting to see powered off displays in a business setting. Digital signage systems are usually web based content management systems that allow you to update and change out content from anywhere in the world. When you have multiple displays across multiple locations, this saves time and headaches.

Great, you get why digital signage systems are valuable. Why do I need digital signage in the first place, what are the use cases?

Digital Menus

Ever walk into a restaurant or cafe — only to see masking tape or paper stuck over the price of an item with a new price in permanent marker? Looks super professional doesn’t it? With digital menus the prices can be changed and updated in a few clicks. Want to add an item to the menu? You now need to have your menu reprinted and installed. This could take a few weeks, and be costly. If you have multiple locations, logistics can be a headache. Again, with digital menus it only takes a few clicks. Updating your menus becomes a non-issue.

Digital Directories and Wayfinding

Shopping malls, event centers, multi-tenant buildings, hotels, and amusement parks are all places where your patrons need to get their bearings and figure out where to go. If you add a new tenant you have to reprint and install a new directory. When you have a digital directory, you can update it in a few clicks. Directories are often displaying the same content all day, just a map or list. Why not capitalize on that space and show promotional materials? When you throw a touchscreen in the mix, you can allow that same display to show advertising and promotional materials, until someone touches it. You can also add a layer of interactivity, allowing your customers to explore and find out more information without having to take up additional floor space.

Internal Communications & Office Displays

In your office digital signage can be used to show off your latest to work to visiting clients or prospects. Not to mention, when done properly digital signage installations can look very impressive. You can use digital signage to show call stats, sales numbers, the lunch menu, the latest news, company events and any other information your employees need to know. Even something as simple as showing the Wifi password to your guests. We can even tie digital signage systems with your internal apps to show live feeds and data from your business intelligence systems.

Interactive Kiosks

One of our clients recently asked us to create a kiosk for their recruiting team. A tablet that prospective employees can enter their information into and receive an automated email with more information about the company. Interactive kiosks are a challenge for many reasons. You need to lockdown the browser to only access specific sites, the internet connection may be flaky, and you may have to deal with extreme conditions. These are all par for the course for digital signage. We use the same system to deploy content and interactive applications.

Retail

Dynamic shelf pricing? Weekly promos? Wayfinding in a grocery store? A video wall behind the register that has beautiful videos and images based on the time of day? You guessed it. Digital Signage. If you want to create a unique and helpful experience in your retail locations it can be accomplished via digital signage.

As you can see the sky really is the limit when it comes to digital signage. It’s far more than boring advertising. Which is probably why I am so passionate about it. I love to see our work out in the world. I love to see customers interacting with a kiosk and finding their way through a shopping mall. I love seeing a customer watch the menu items scroll on and off the screen. Digital signage can be so much, and I love working with companies that want to take their digital experiences to the next level. It allows us to innovate and find new solutions. Digital signage doesn’t have to be gaudy or ‘techy’. It can be tasteful, helpful, and frankly; beautiful.

I hope this article has helped you understand what digital signage can do for you and your business. I also hope that you are able to see how digital signage doesn’t have to be boring or ugly.

If you have questions or ideas, reach out to me. I love talking about digital signage — probably to a fault.