For two decades, Adobe Flash was the Holy Grail for designers creating motion graphics for the web and digital signage. Recently, however, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) made HTML5 the new industry standard for digital creative. Unlike Flash, HTML5 provides a universal tool to create content that, because the rendering is done by the browser, can run across all platforms including big digital signage screens, desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
More and more tools are coming on the market that make producing creative for digital signage networks relatively easy, fast and affordable. The output often doesn’t compare to visually rich video or complicated motion graphics, but does the job for a lot of the simple messaging that fills many digital signage programming schedules.
In no planned order, here are five effective platforms for digital signage networks:
Mountain View, CA, USA
Google Web Designer allows users to design beautiful, engaging 2D and 3D HTML5 content. Animation and interactive elements can be employed to bring the user’s creative vision to life. Though originally intended as a tool to create ads for web and mobile displays, GWD is also perfectly capable of creating digital signage for billboards and other uses.
One of its most interesting features is “Events,” which allows users to connect actions to physical gestures such as touch, swipe, and pinch—used primarily for tablets and smartphones, but also increasingly on interactive displays in businesses.
Finally, as a Google product, it offers seamless integration with other products such as Google Drive, AdMob, and DoubleClick Studio. Note: YCD Multimedia, a digital signage solutions provider, recently announced it had integrated GWD with its Retail Advertising and Merchandising Platform (RAMP).
How to buy: Google Web Designer is available for free download.
Demo videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebDesigner
Toronto, ON, Canada
Flexitive is a user-friendly platform that requires no coding whatsoever. Users can produce an item once, then publish to any size unit, including the full range of IAB spec, fullscreen interstitials, and completely responsive units that work seamlessly across every device. Content can be built on any device and any operating system, or completely in the cloud. A/B testing provides easy creation and testing of multiple variations of the same piece.
How to buy: Users can apply for a free trial at https://flexitive.com.
LoxiaStudio is a simple, intuitive and quick online tool to create professional looking animations. It offers 76 models with a variety of themes that can also be customized. Thanks to the easy to use interface, even first-timers can produce effective and engaging content in a matter of minutes. Using LoxiaStudio’s integration code, the content can then be shared with the world by simply pasting it into the user’s website.
How to buy: LoxiaStudio offers a range of packages, from Basic, a free plan that allows users to create and use an animation for six months, to the Liberty package, which allows them to create an unlimited number of animations during 12 months. The animations are hosted on LoxiaStudio’s server and can also be downloaded.
BannerFlow is a cloud-based platform that allows users to create, scale, publish and optimize HTML5 content without any coding. It features a recently updated, easy to use interface and a simple drag and drop function, which simplifies the design and production of even the most complex ads. BannerFlow also provides integrated tools to optimize ad campaigns.
How to buy: BannerFlow is available in four subscription types: small, medium, large and custom.
Runbanner is an online application that allows users to quickly and easily create HTML5 banners that can be used on all platforms. The resulting products are stored in the cloud, along with the accompanying external files. The website offers clear, comprehensive instructions for using the tool.
How to buy: Users can sign up for a free trial.