Think Big letter blocks

Go Big or Go Home: 5 Things You Need to Know About Large Format Printing

By: Michele Tate

When asked about large format printing, most people would probably conjure up an image of plastic or vinyl letters on a large banner—the kind of amateurish looking sign you might order at an office supply or copy store.

But the reality is large format printing is something very different. Today, some of the most impressive and impactful—not to mention the coolest—creative content and collateral material is being produced using large format printers. The result is sleek, sophisticated, polished and professional signage and materials that deliver both a visual and a visceral impact.

Here are five things you might not know about these powerful creative tools:

They can help you think big.

Forget posters or small signs. Think bigger—much bigger. Large format printing can create large window clings or giant wraps big enough to encompass an entire building. For the largest projects, multiple panels can be seamlessly pieced together. Vehicles wrapped in a photorealistic image get noticed, and large format printing can create the effect of a custom mural that can be applied to interior or exterior walls like wallpaper.

They are extremely materialistic.

In addition to paper and soft plastics, large format printers can also print on fabrics and leather. They can print on wood, tile and metal. They can print on glass in a way that makes it look like the image has been etched onto the surface of the glass. Such a wide range of material possibilities makes it possible to be creative in ways big and small. For example, if you want to celebrate a client milestone or recognize a team for exemplary work, try commemorative etched glass plaques instead of printed certificates. Large format printing can make that happen.

They are super flexible.

One of the great advantages of large format printing is the flexibility and range of products that are available to you—from the smallest custom shaped conference ID badge to building signage that beckons passersby. With creative pieces engineered to fit you, your brand and your needs, large format print can turn even the most utilitarian directional or procedural sign into a custom, brand-consistent display. No more generic anything. From modest wooden coasters to larger than life sized canvas prints hung like a museum fine art installation—the possibilities are endless.

They can do tricks that conventional presses cannot handle.

Some large format printers combine traditional CMYK inks with RGB inks, making it possible to produce the deeper, richer colors and true photorealistic imagery that you’d typically see on a television or computer screen. In addition to printing and cutting batches of custom die-cut pieces that offer economies of scale, large format printers can also print with a variety of weatherproof solutions, coatings and substrates designed for rugged durability and utilitarian use. Most conventional presses print on individual sheets or rolls of paper, but large format can take on giant rolls of variable material, and large format board printers can print directly onto wood, tile, hard plastic and other rigid surfaces.

They can free your mind.

The most impressive attribute of large format printing is not so much what the technology does, as what the technology does to you. It allows you to free your mind—to unlock and explore exciting new possibilities and creative potential. When you approach a project with a simple design problem—“I need something that accomplishes XYZ…”—and an open mind, you open the door to solutions you never could have imagined. Instead of being locked into a dated vinyl banner, or limited to what you saw someone else with, you can create something more innovative, exciting and impactful.

Ultimately, large format printing makes possible a level of custom design, quality and permanence that yields memorable materials that resonate with energy and creative power.