LCD Design: Going from an Idea to a Physical Product

LCD Design is complicated, but FocusLCDs makes LCDs simple. Photo by Lex Photography

Every day, new products enter the market. They can be one-of-a-kind or improvements to an existing one. Whatever the case, the goal is to transform an idea into a physical product so people can benefit from it.

This is true for LCDs, just like any other product. These liquid crystal display modules have transformed major industries and continue to do so. From the medical sector to household technologies to manufacturing, LCDs dominate display technology with practical and economical solutions! However, since these industries are different, so are their necessities. 

Focus LCDs utilizes new ideas for these diverse operations. We combine unique ideas with meticulous planning to create the perfect product for your particular needs.

LCDs: Technology Overview

LCD technology was invented in 1964, but its first commercial success came in 1970 when the TN mode (Twisted Nematic) mode of operation was discovered. It wasn’t until 1982 that the first commercial LCD TV, the EPSON TV watch, was released. 

The core of the technology relies on liquid crystals that activate when they receive electric current. These crystals are made of complicated molecules. They are primarily arranged in such a way that they display lines, which are also known as alphanumeric information.  

When enough of those lines combine in rows and columns, they can produce a visible image. When the electric current passes through these crystals, they become cloudy from transparent. The basic structure relies on the variation of passing current. But the color comes from reflecting polarized light. We’ve divided the production process of a custom LCD module into three broad sections to make it easy to understand.

Phase 1: Idea Generation

Understanding the technology means understanding the idea behind it. Since LCD modules vary widely, a custom one should have a proper purpose and vision while accounting for limitations and a desired timetable.

Purpose and Vision

So, first and foremost, what is the purpose of your custom LCD module? Is it for use in a medical device or is it for mining equipment? Will it be an indoor display with an unlimited power source, or will it have to survive extreme conditions on battery power? Will it be a small informative module, or cater to a large audience? Depending on the industry or application, we must first develop the proper design approach for a display for that specific project.

For example, a consumer LCD module is made up of standard components. It’s typically used in smartphones, computers, smartwatches, and casual consumer gadgets. They may not perform well under direct sunlight and often have a short lifespan. They’re also affordable.

On the other hand, automotive or industrial-grade LCDs are made of robust materials that perform well under the elements (temperature, precipitation, vibration) and last longer. They are more expensive than consumer-grade products, but provide exceptional quality.

Also, whether you prioritize visual experience or a practical purpose, such as displaying information, it will influence the design of the LCD.

Limitations and Constraints

Considering the constraints speeds up the design process. The display’s resolution, color depth, view angles, and efficiency are some governing factors. Consider their availability and necessity. Generally, more quality requires more time and resources and can impact mass production. It also makes your display more expensive.

You must also maintain safety standards, environmental regulations, and electromagnetic compatibility, so integrate them into your planning.


Set a realistic timeline for development, considering the research, design, and testing phases. Standard off the shelf LCDs may require 8-12 weeks for production, assembly, and shipping. While customized LCDs, may require longer lead times as they’re more specialized and require more components to be built to order. 

After carefully considering the primary concept, get a quote for your customized project and review the spec sheet so we can move on to prototyping. 

Phase 2: Design & Prototyping

First, we learn all of the requirements for the end device from the customer.  Once that is done, we specify the LCD panel, sensors, backlight, PCB, connectors, and all the other components. Then, we produce specifications for the components to share with the customer for their review. 

The customer then confirms the LCD’s layout and overall appearance. If you require revision, we’ll send an updated spec sheet with the changes you requested. Remember the design phase governs your LCD module’s overall reliability and user experience.

Once the specifications are approved, we create a complete and functional prototype. You can then test the display’s performance, usability, and aesthetics. If you feel like making some changes, provide us with detailed feedback. Review and test the prototype thoroughly so you can reduce iterations.  The technical details, integrity, and compatibility of the components are observed here.  Once you’re satisfied with the model, we mark it as the base for mass production.

Phase 3: Production & Delivery

After confirming the number of units, we ensure the supply of sufficient raw materials such as ITO glass, polarizers, liquid crystals, components modules, etc.

The production is an intricate and detailed process. Here are a few of the critical steps.

  1. Putting Materials: LCD screens are made by layering two glass sheets. One sheet has transistor cells with indium tin oxide (ITO) for electrical signals; the other contains colored dots in a matrix. Liquid crystals are added, and the layers are glued together.
  2. Pre-Cleaning: Using a cleaning agent, the ITO glass is cleaned. Deionized water is also used to prepare the glass for further processing. Impurities and oil stains are removed to ensure consistent glass orientation
  3. Gluing: In photolithography, photoresist is applied evenly on ITO glass. Coating quality impacts the process outcome significantly.
  4. Exposure: During exposure, the photoresist and mask remain undamaged and uncontaminated. UV selectively reacts with the photoresist guided by the premade electrode pattern mask.
  5. Development: The unexposed part remains after development, and the glass undergoes temperature-hardening treatment.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg. Other vital steps include acid curving, demolding, medium cleaning, friction, lamination, crystal infusion, sealing, and many others. 

Packaging And Delivery

Before packaging takes place, a rigorous battery of tests is performed to ensure that the finished product exactly matches the approved design. The dimensions and weight of the product are carefully scrutinized. The screen is examined to confirm that no defects are present in the display or cover glass. Connection points and connectors are checked to make sure that they are in working order. Additonal customization options like touch screens are verified. After passing the quality control tests, a certificate of compliance is issued to provide documentation that the physical part satisfies or exceeds the specifications.

We offer customized packaging and delivery options for your order. Each product we ship is packed in accordance with international courier packaging requirements to ensure your LCD module arrives to you in the same condition as when it leaves our warehouse. Next day delivery is available to most locations within the U.S., and 2-day delivery is available to almost any location worldwide.

Reach out to us today and get your queries answered!