How big should my display be?

Too big or too small? No matter what the application, it can sometimes be challenging to find the right size display for a project.  What would be the best size? Should I go for a standard or customised size? What are the features to take into account? These are the questions often asked by our customers and here is our advice.

The first thing to say about specifying the size of a display is don’t be constrained by the relatively limited catalogue options that the major display manufacturers offer. Start from a blank piece of paper and decide what size you’d really like – if you choose the right supplier you will able to achieve the exact size you require at the right price. 

The major factors clearly are the amount of information you need to display, the appearance of the system as a whole and the size of the system as a whole. Do you want the display to form essentially the whole front panel of the system – in which case you’re thinking in terms of a touch screen (to be discussed in a future blog) or will the display sit alongside buttons and other controls. 

Though at first glance a standard product can look the best value for money, most of the time a custom or customised display is the best option. For example, in many cases we can cut a display to size. This can avoid the situation where you have to increase the size of the case to accommodate the display, or compromise the way information is presented to fit onto a smaller than ideal screen. A display that’s too big can come with many hidden costs – not only is a bigger case more expensive to buy, store and ship, but the bigger display can also use more power.


It’s not just about adding – you can take away too…

-How-big-should-my-display-beIt is also possible to remove unwanted elements from a custom or customised display. You can choose how many backlight LEDs you need – saving cost and reducing power. You can specify a simpler and cheaper graphics IC, add or remove performance enhancement films etc. to create a screen that delivers exactly what your application requires – no more and no less. 

Manufacturers that have an extensive catalogue of display options usually build their standard display range to order anyway – so there are no actual economies of scale. Some manufactures will produce a limited range of displays in high volume – but if you specify these you are placing yourself in your suppliers’ hands.

If the display market changes and the demand shifts to different sizes, they will discontinue models without any consideration for industrial customers, forcing expensive redesign or worse, forcing as product end of life.

So my first piece of advice to the display specifier is not so much dream big, as to be demanding. Figure out the size that works for your system, then find a supplier that offers the flexibility and will deliver what you need.

If you want to have more information or advice about your display requirements, contact us.

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