For a long time, traditional signage was the only option businesses had for on-site messaging. Advancements in digital technology have made digital signage a popular choice, as LED and LCD screens typically have more capabilities than conventional posters and billboards, such as video and animation. However, it’s still common for companies to use traditional signage, indicating that each type provides benefits.

Learn more about the comparison between digital signage vs traditional signage, including the pros and cons of each, to make the right choice for your business.

What Is Digital Signage?

What primarily sets digital signage apart from traditional signage is the use of LED and LCD screens. These screens allow you to input interactive features that make messaging more eye-catching. These features may include scrolling advertisements, videos, and animated elements. You may use digital signage for many purposes, including highlighting sales, promoting new items, and assisting customers with wayfinding.

Pros of Digital Signage

Digital signage enables businesses to achieve more customer engagement due to the interactivity of the screens. With rotating messaging, they can communicate with multiple audiences at once. Changing graphics is also much easier than switching out posters or billboards, meaning you can seamlessly transition from one campaign to another.

Cons of Digital Signage

The main concern with digital signage is the power source. Since screens require power, digital signage can only be utilized in areas with nearby power sources.

Digital signage also tends to cost more upfront between installation fees and the price of hardware. It’s not just the upfront costs; digital signage also comes with ongoing maintenance charges for licensing fees, repairs, and electricity. Be sure to factor these costs into your budget before making a decision.

Despite the cost and limitations of digital signage, many businesses find that the benefits of using this technology outweigh the drawbacks.

What Is Traditional Signage?

Traditional signage uses static (still) graphics and text for messaging. A common example is printed menus at quick-service restaurants, but it also includes posters, billboards, and banners. Businesses have leveraged traditional signage for decades, giving it somewhat of a legacy in advertising. As such, it’s still used today even as companies switch to digital technology for other tasks.

Pros of Traditional Signage

Since traditional signage utilizes no electrical components, it doesn’t require power. You can implement it anywhere you need. However, some traditional signage uses light boxes for illumination, in which case a nearby power source might be necessary. It’s also relatively affordable to install and cost less to maintain.

Cons of Traditional Signage

Despite its lower cost, traditional signage doesn’t deliver the interactive quality of digital signage. You have some techniques to make posters and billboards stand out, such as light boxes or creating a 3D effect with the graphic, but you’re limited.

Additionally, changing graphics requires more work with traditional signage. Instead of swapping out advertisements quickly on a computer, businesses may have to contact an installer to assist, depending on the type of traditional signage originally installed. This time-consuming task can get you behind on campaigns.


Digital Signage vs Traditional Signage

Depending on your needs, you may find digital or traditional signage more beneficial for your business. It may also be more realistic to have a combination of both. Compare each consideration of digital signage vs traditional signage to make the best choice:


One of the most important aspects of any business decision is cost. There are two types of costs to consider:

  • Upfront costs: Digital signage is generally more expensive upfront due to screens and other equipment required for operation. The growth of digital signage has helped make traditional signage more affordable.
  • Maintenance costs: While digital signage involves licensing fees and software updates, traditional signage is more susceptible to wear and tear from the elements. Ongoing maintenance costs may vary depending on the application.

Content Formatting

Digital signage is compatible with more formats, including video, audio, RSS feeds, and other multimedia. These components empower a more engaging customer experience. Conversely, traditional signage has limited formats, making the argument that it may be more challenging to create unique messaging that captures customers’ attention.

Content Updating

Since digital signage can be updated remotely, it allows you to change content in real time. This is beneficial as promotions change regularly, and you won’t have to wait long to make modifications. With traditional signage, you must physically replace messaging. This process can involve significant labor, and you may fall behind in updating your content. However, traditional signage could be seen as a more personalized store experience depending on its application.


The interactivity of digital signage creates countless opportunities for businesses. They can use signage to customize content for different locations within a single store or franchises across a geographical area. They can leverage touch capabilities to allow customers to complete orders or make requests. They can utilize videos to help educate customers on promotions and products.

As effective as traditional signage can be, its static nature restricts what businesses can do to engage with customers and create customized messaging.


The interactive capabilities of digital signage make content more attention-grabbing, especially as the images are sharper and the colors more vivid. However, given the likelihood of higher costs of digital signage, traditional signage delivers more exposure dollar for dollar.

Seek Signage Solutions from DSA Signage

Comparing digital signage vs traditional signage shows the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Which is best will depend on what you hope to accomplish with signage. At DSA Signage, we offer an array of cost-effective, UL-listed LED visual display products to make your brand stand out, including digital signage, LED light boxes, and menu boards. Our lineup comes with many features and customization options to suit the needs of different industries. To learn more about our products, contact us today and request a quote.