I'm working with someone on developing electronic noses (arrays of gas sensors to identify compounds, do process automation), and he too is concerned on keeping the boards easily-built: DIP ICs, through-hole components, etc.
I always wonder what the actual demand is for this. Open-source hardware is great, but how many people are ordering bare PCBs, sourcing each individual resistor, power jack, trimpot, etc and soldering them? I use arduinos all the time and consult their schematics constantly, but I wouldn't dare build one when I can buy 3 nanos for $10.
I'm mostly making an argument for embracing the awesomeness of tiny surface-mount components and then getting a place like CircuitHub to do a fully-assembled bulk run of them.
Since the electronics for this project are simple enough I've ended up leaning towards a through-hole board to pair with an Arduino, but I'll admit that I haven't kept up with the cost of small orders of fully-assembled PCBs these days.
If I were going to turn this into a product-shaped product, I'd probably turn it into three: a bare PCB with a BOM for the buyer to fill, a prestuffed SMT PCB for people who just want to assemble the display and run it, and in between a PCB with a bag full of parts, for those who want what I guess would be a reasonably high-end-beginner-to-low-end-intermediate assembly project without a lot of hassle.
But that's just me! Opinions vary, and mine's worth exactly what you paid for it. This is a super neat project, though, however it ends up!