Have you ever wondered how they make the vehicle wrap ads for those huge double-decker busses? Or, those grand-size posters you saw at a concert? Or, maybe about the banner in your neighborhood that advertises the local travel agency? If you answered yes, then you’re probably someone who wants to learn about large format printing. And, you’ve come to the right place.
Large format printing is a fairly new concept. But it has quickly solidified itself as an industry staple in the printing world. Also known as wide-format printing, large-format printing refers to prints that are at least 24 inches wide. This type of printing requires specialized equipment, and they are much larger than standard commercial printers.
The benefits of large format printing are in both functionality and cost. It produces high-quality prints that convey the intended message for only a fraction of the cost of screen printing.
The history of large format printing begins in the early 1990s. Iris Graphics created the model Iris 3047 inkjet printer, and it was the only model available in the market for this type of printing. In the beginning, there wasn’t much hope for the future of large format printing. The machine was costly to obtain and expensive to maintain. On top of that, the prints weren’t long-lasting.
But where most people saw a lack of viability, rock legend Graham Nash and his manager Mac Holbert saw potential. They realized there was a demand for the prints this machine could make. So, they eventually bought the printer and opened Nash Editions. For the next decade, they continued to seek ways to make the prints last longer.
The next milestone year for large format printing was 1999. Nash Editions, partnering with Epson, started the beta testing of the groundbreaking large format printer, Epson Stylus Pro 9500.
By 2002, Epson and other industry leaders such as Hewlett-Packard took the step of adopting pigmented inks. This move is seen widely as the final step in the evolution of large format printers.
Although usage varies from user to user, most large format printing produces graphics for marketing, branding, and advertising. These graphics can be of many forms. Such as vinyl wraps for vehicles, posters/banners for retail store displays, hoarding graphics for construction sites, etc. Their purpose is to be seen by a large number of people and attract attention from a distance.
A wide range of materials can be used as substrates for large format print. These substrates fall largely into two categories- Rigid and Roll. Rigid substrates are usually metal sheets or wood, while roll substrates can be paper, vinyl, fabrics, etc.
The majority of large format print is done for outdoor marketing. Even with the increasing popularity of online marketing, outdoor marketing remains one of the most effective ways to market a product/service, particularly in terms of ROI.
Which type of large format print you should use depends on the product or service. Some products may need a huge billboard, while some may require a point of purchase banner. But regardless of the advertisements’ type, it can be safely said that they are worth every penny spent.
There are 3 main reasons why outdoor marketing printed in large format is so effective-
- Visibility: Outdoor marketing can bring your brand a huge amount of visibility. The large format ensures that they grab attention and make your content stand out among the sea of competitors.
- Quality: Large format printing can produce high-quality prints that are sure to not just convey your intended message, but also bring about a positive perception of your brand.
- Durability: Gone are days of large format prints having short shelf lives. The advancement of printing technology along with the use of high-quality durable materials as substrates has made it so that large format prints are more durable than ever.
As with everything, execution is key. In terms of large format printing, some special considerations have to be made to ensure that it is executed effectively. So, let’s look at a few tips to help you with your large format prints-
- Readability: Focus on having a clear and concise message. The average person takes only seconds to form an impression about the ads they see. So, you have to focus on the clarity and conciseness of your message so that readers can instantly understand what you are trying to say.
- Size and Dimensions: Printing in large format requires special attention to font sizing. Since most of the time, the ads will be viewed from a distance, proper sizing and space between the letters are necessary to ensure seamless reading.
- Photos: If you want to add photos to your prints pay attention to how you are capturing them. It’s necessary to have the right settings enabled in your camera as most image file formats tend to get pixelated when scaled up in size. So, shooting in RAW will give scalability to your photos. They will look clean and crisp no matter the scale.
- Design: large format printing requires careful planning and proceeding with the final product in mind. So, the design process needs to be treated with utmost care. We recommend getting your graphics professionally designed. Here at PrintAgraphy, we provide a wide range of printing and design services. You can check them out right here.
Large format printing can seem daunting. But, with the right approach, its proper execution can bring your business/brand the much-desired visibility and great returns on your investment. Although there are some drawbacks to large format print, they are mostly from the print shop’s perspective. Furthermore, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.