Independent Study in Graphic Design

Jo Ninham

Tips for making graphics for television

All of the following are important elements to consider when designing graphics for televison.

  • Use the safe text area. When you design graphics on a computer, much of what you see around the edges will be cut off by the frame around the TV display. Even if the text and other foreground elements fit inside of the safe text area, make sure that they have a little extra room around the edges to breathe.
  • Avoid having boxes or squares near the edge of the screen. Place the edges well within the safe text area or have them run off the edge of the screen. Also, avoid using a frame within a frame.
  • Avoid highly saturated colours. They will bleed and can contain noise.
  • Think in terms of brightness (black and white) when separating foreground and background elements. Don’t rely on colour to differentiate foreground and background elements, use contrast and brightness instead.
  • Use either light letters on a dark background or dark letters on a light background.
  • Avoid thin, 1px horizontal lines and thin or delicate text.
  • Leave text up long enough to read and then a little more, usually 1/5 times the time it take to actually read it is a good rule.
  • Layout elements using tried and tested composition techniques. Most of the classic principles of visual design work quite well when applied to TV graphics. In other words you can use the “Rule of Thirds” or any of the other classic aesthetic guidelines.
  • Make sure your background doesn’t interfere with the message. Delicate or ornate text or foreground elements need simple backgrounds. Complex backgrounds need bold and simple foreground elements. The background and foreground need to work together.
  • Try not to use plain, bare text, unless you are going for the stark look or simply converting information (e.g.. displaying a quote on screen). Do something to make your text interesting or it will look plain..

The most interesting point raised would be that it can improve readability if you use either light letters on a dark background or dark letters on a light background.


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This entry was posted on March 8, 2015 by in Research.
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