Comparison of Indoor & Outdoor Digital Signage

Digital signage is an effective way in which thousands of businesses convey certain messages to their consumers.

Whether it’s to attract potential clients, advertise special offers, or display job vacancies, signage is still an integral part of any business.

There are two main types of digital signage; indoor and outdoor.


Indoor signage is a collective term for any sign placed inside of a business. They are targeted towards individuals who’ve already made the choice to explore what a business has to offer.

These signs are designed in such a way that they encourage the audience to move towards a desired action; such as signing up for a new credit card at the bank or upsizing a meal at a restaurant.


This refers to any signage found outside of the business. The have many uses ranging from drive-thru advertising to promotional content. Generally, the goal is to get the audience to enter the business.

Both signages are ideal for a number of marketing purposes. However, due to technical specifications (below), indoor signage should not be used for outdoor purposes and vice versa.

Comparison of Indoor & Outdoor Digital Signage


Have you noticed how difficult it is to watch television when the curtains are open, especially on a sunny day? No matter how hard you squint your eyes, you’ll always find the objects on the screen are inconceivable. That is until you block the sunlight.

The reason for that is simple. The glare is caused by the high intensity with which the sun produces light.

Unfortunately, no indoor display can compete with such brightness. Just to put this into perspective, the average indoor LED screen (like your consumer-grade TV at home) emits light with an intensity of about 200-500 cd/m2

Such intensity falls short under the sun; let alone that of outdoor signage which is upwards of 2,250 cd/m2.

So, using indoor signage outside is a waste of time and money. Not only will you incur a hefty power bill, but you also miss out on any potential customers. Let’s face it; no one will be able to see your advertisement on a sunny day.

On the other hand, when you use outdoor signage for indoor advertising, it causes discomfortIn dimly-lit businesses, such as restaurants, the bright light from outdoor signage can cause eye irritation, and migraines, and even trigger a seizure.


As light moves through the atmosphere, it encounters a myriad of tiny particles and obstruction like dust, steam, and suspended water droplets.

These particles distort the light beam by either reflecting, refracting, or absorbing it. The signs will then appear blurry or completely distorted to the human eye.

As a matter of fact, exposure is a common issue that plagues both indoor and outdoor signage. To handle it, you need to analyze two vital factors of the atmosphere; particulate and moisture.

  • Particulate – any particles present in the atmosphere. For example, dust and other small airborne particles.
  • Moisture – presence of water droplets in the air.
    • Commonly observed in restaurants where there is a large concentration of steam caused by boiling water. 

Particulate and moisture not only obscure your signage but also cause damage to vital components if they penetrate the signage’s protective light casing. For example, the steam will gather under the light fixture and eventually go through.

Nevertheless, it is much easier to control particulate and moisture in indoor environments.

For outdoor signage, however, it’s a whole other story. Wind can increase the intensity of particle matter and rain – making them extremely aggressive on the display casing.

To standardize protection from these environmental harms, the Ingress Protection (IP) rating system was made.

Outdoor digital signage electronic - dooh

What is IP Rating?

An IP rating is an international standard guideline used to determine the level of efficacy for protecting light exposures against external objects, as well as the effects of moisture.

When labeling, there are 2 numbers that follow the IP denotation (ex. IP65).

Each number represents a distinct type of protection measure put in place to shield the signage.

First Digit

The first digit denotes intrusion protection (safeguarding against objects, dust particles, etc.), and it runs from 0-6.

It can also be labeled “X” – meaning that there is no rating or protection for that particular signage.

Here is what each number (1 – 6) protects from:

  1. Massive bodies that have a diameter of 50mm or greater. Ex. animals – rodents or obscurities – arm or a baseball bat.
  2. Bodies with a length smaller than 80 mm and a maximum diameter of 12 mm. Ex. your middle finger.
  3. Objects with a 2.5 mm diameter or greater. Ex. small tools – wires.
  4. Small objects with a diameter of 1mm or greater. Ex. insects
  5. Dust particles.
  6. Most common rating in most outdoor fixtures, refers to full protection against all other particles in the atmosphere. The protection use is known as “Dust-tight” – vacuum seal for non-stop airflow. 

Second Digit

The second digit denotes protection against different forms of moisture.

Here is what each number (1 – 9) protects from:

  1. Vertically falling rain that is caused by condensation. Such that when the display is upright, it is fully protected.
  2. Rain or droplets falling at an angle of 15 degrees.
  3. Rain or droplets falling at an angle of 60 degrees.
  4. Splashing water coming from all directions. Before being approved, the fixture is first tested with an oscillating spray a few minutes after the safety measures have been fitted on display.
  5. Low-pressure jets of water hitting from any direction or angle.
  6. High-pressure jets.
  7. Submerged under water for up to 30 minutes at the depth of 0.15 m to 1 m.
  8. Submerged in high pressure at a large depth.
  9. High-temperature water sprays, high pressure, and any kind of moisture.

For most outdoor signs, the standard rating is IP65, which denotes that the fixture is “Dust-Tight,” and protected from most moisture effects, including low-pressure jets of water.

Indoor vs Outdoor Digital Signage: Conclusion

Both signage types play a critical role in advertising.

But before buying digital signage, you plan marketing and advertising efforts for the best results.

Once signage is selected, maintenance remains a key factor in ensuring these signs remain efficient and effective for years to come.


You can learn more about NexSigns’ Digital Signage solution and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and YouTube to get the latest info on digital signage!

  1. Very well written about types of digital signage. You have clearly mentioned difference between both types. Kudos to you!!

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