5 min read

From Static to Dynamic: Upgrading Your Traditional Signage to Digital

Written by
Pavlo Fedykovych
Published on
April 11, 2023
May 29, 2024

We all respect traditional signage. While it still has quite an important place in advertising (think billboards), the static largely has become obsolete, old-school, and burdensome. Why would you want to limit yourself to one thing when you can have a million? That’s the kind of question businesses and organizations should ask themselves when thinking about traditional signage vs. digital. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why dynamic always wins.

A brief glance at the evolution of signage

Signage is one of the oldest means of communication. Traditional signage has been around for centuries. It was always closely interconnected with proto-advertising and then commercial advertising. First signs as a way to convey a message have appeared as far as in the ancient world (cave paintings). 

However, modern digital signage traces its roots to the rise of the billboard. It was in Europe that this marketing tool was born and its first form was flyposting. Another proto-incarnation of traditional signage was the guild and store signs in medieval times. 1796 changed the way printing was done when lithography was invented. 1867 was the year of the first billboard. 

When the signage industry got the billboard, it started actively developing the concept. This new kind of communication tool pushed the evolution of signage forward. The 20th century was a defining year for billboards. The advent of cars catalyzed the production of roadside posters, and the increased commercialization brought signage to the streets.

In a parallel development, digital solutions started to gain traction. Electronic paper was a predecessor to the screens but proved to be ineffective. Dot matrix display is generally regarded as the first generation of digital signage. It was quite a revolutionary solution for public facilities like airports and railway stations but has been lacking a multimedia player. 

The second generation changed that, and the development of multimedia players for the screens has transformed the signage industry. Finally, the third generation of digital signage has enabled interactive solutions like touch activation, voice recognition, and, more recently, AR and VR.

Why you should choose digital over traditional

In many ways comparing traditional signage to digital is like comparing rollerblades and a sports car. Both fulfill the same goal but the way they do it and the possibilities they present are drastically different. There are just so many advantages of digital signage over static that it’s quite scandalous so many businesses and organizations are still stuck in the old ways.

Not only does not adapting to the digitalized world mean missing all the wonderful content opportunities, but it also means that you are constantly losing money when you could have sold much better. Screens are broadening your possibilities, they are in a league of their own. 

Let’s look closer at the key reasons why you should choose digital over static.

Limitless content possibilities

With static signage, you can only show one thing. With digital signage, the sky is the limit. Images, videos, PSAs, social media feeds, messages, feedback gathering calls, interactive content, it’s all available and easily accessible. 

When the choice is that big, the ways you can interact with the audience are just so many. You can design all the content yourself using the built-in editors within the digital signage software.


Would you like to show a video instead of an image? Just make one click on your computer and the screen follows suit. It’s that easy to change content when you’re operating a digital signage network. 

But static, static is a different kind of a thing. In order to change something there, you have to go through a painful process of reprinting and redesigning. And, again, at the end of the day, it’s only one thing you’re showing. It’s even painful for us to write about that.

Attention-grabbing factor

Let’s imagine your retail store uses static signage to lure visitors inside. A neighboring store has screens. You’ve designed this beautiful poster and spent money to print and install it. The neighbor installed screens and runs awesome-looking videos that sparkle with colors, drive interest and amaze with quality. Your poster is fine, but is it gaining the same attention? Absolutely not. Digital signage wins this battle and wins it big time. 

It’s more vivid, more engaging, juicier, and more impressive. It captivates and holds the attention of the customer. It’s the ultimate visual experience. And you definitely want such kind of a tool to work for you.

Direct engagement

When the screen technology is in place it’s a whole different level. There can be images and videos that influence sensory perception in a way that traditional signage does. But it’s not the sole possibility here. 

The engagement goes further with the screens. There can be touch-activated wayfinding solutions, interactive try-on screens, voice-activated kiosks, feedback-gathering content, call-to-action social media campaigns, AR know-how, and virtual reality-driven experiences. Digital signage is a multi-faceted tool and you’re missing out on not deploying it.  

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