Technical advances in electronics and electro optical displays have given great freedom for designers, but this has led to criticism that some displays suit the technology rather than the users. There is a need for some standardisation but this must not unnecessarily limit design freedom and should where possible be cast in performance terms. Existing standards are reviewed, but these are not always appropriate for the newer technologies. For example, alphanumerics may be more easily reproduced than the ISO symbols.A structure is proposed which will help understanding of the area and will lead to establishing the aspects which require standardisation through ISO. A practical programme of work will consider which aspects are most relevant, which information has the highest priority and whether research findings are already available.Alphanumeric displays should be considered for early standardisation, which may need to cover many aspects, from the detailed form of individual characters to the message content.