What is Large Format Printing?

Written by Large Format Printing

Billboards are an example of large format digital printing.

Is your business in need of large display signs for an upcoming marketing campaign? If so, you will likely require large format digital printing services. Large format printing is the solution for printing products wider than traditional formats.

In fact, you can use a large format printer to produce banners, exterior displays, wall calendars, and other promotional products.

More goes into large format printing than meets the eye. In this article, we discuss the ins and outs of this type of printing and how it can help you and your business succeed. 

What is Large Format Digital Printing?

Large format digital printing inforgraph by Printleaf

Large format digital printing is a process that caters to materials too large for regular commercial printers. So, if you want to print a wall poster, store display, or promotional banner, large format digital printing is your answer!

This type of printing is also called “wide format printing” or “grand format printing.” This is because the process maximizes the print roll width for each product.

For most large-scale prints, this maximum width is 100 inches (nearly twelve feet!). However, maximum widths will vary depending on the printer, manufacturer, and company.

Residential or office printers only accommodate relatively small print widths, such as documents and legal letters. It is possible to find office printers that cater to larger widths than these, but even so, such printers likely can’t print products wider than 24 or 36 inches.

Large format digital printing does require special equipment in order to produce such wide format prints. That is why most business owners will have to turn to companies like Printleaf to take care of their large format digital printing needs.

Digital printing refers to the large format printer’s ability to print digital-based images directly onto media. With digital printing, logos, designs, and font must be processed by a computer.

The result is an efficient and precise print, as printers do not typically rely on printing plates.

Large format digital printing is often a solution for marketers who want to make a variety of promotional products. We discuss other reasons why your business may need large format printing at the end of this article.

Large Format Printers

What does a large format printer entail?

First things first, large format printers are far more complex than residential or entry-level commercial printers. It goes without saying that they are also substantially larger than traditional in-home or in-office printers!

Digital large format printers are computer-run. (Yes, there are non-digital large format printers, but we only use digital large format printers here at Printleaf).

Some, for example, have USB ports built into the machine itself. These can make it easy to upload and immediately print artwork of any kind. However, it is also possible to operate a digital printer from a desktop.

There are two kinds of large format printers: print-only and multi-function printers. Print-only printers are able to produce products from a USB port or desktop, while multi-function printers can print from scanned images.

Digital large format printers are designed to print on a continuous feed of printing substrate (or paper). This is a key distinction between large format printers and smaller office printers, as office printers print onto separate, separate sheets.

Most large format printers use inkjet or toner-based technology to produce images. The type of ink that large format printers use varies between models.

Much like traditional printers, large format printers will have ink supply stations, a heater, an area where the media substrate feeds into, and print nozzles.

Depending on the width the printer supports, sometimes machines take up half of a room!

The Large Format Printing Process

Large format printers can print large jobs on many materials

The large format printing process can be fairly intense. After all, most large format printers will use printing roles up to 100 inches wide!

Digital printers use computer technology to transfer images onto the media substrate. For this reason, as discussed above, most large format digital printers are computer-connected and operated.

In general, operators feed a roll of media substrate–often paper–into the printer itself, which uses huge nozzles to print images directly onto a substrate.

The substrate large printers can use will vary. Some, for example, can print directly onto canvas, fabrics, and other materials. Here at Printleaf, we can print onto foamboard, gatorboard, coroplast, sintra, plexiglass, metal, wood, canvas, and much more!

This makes large format printing an incredibly versatile and highly applicable process.

Some assume that large format printers are costly to run because they are so large and complex. However, the opposite is the case. Large format printing is incredibly efficient, meaning that these printers are actually cheaper to operate in the long run.

This means that customers taking advantage of large format printing are also likely to find affordable pricing. More affordable large format print jobs are vinyl banners, posters, and smaller sized jobs.

Large Format Digital Printing Inks

CYMK color cartridges

Every large format printer will produce images that are incredibly sharp, clear, and high-quality. This is why they are especially ideal for producing eye-catching promotional products like t-shirts or bags, and signage.

Most wide format printers will use a standard color combination of inks: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key color Black (CMYK).

A lot of large format print products are designed for outdoor use, such as store displays and signs. (It is possible to produce indoor-only large format products though).

For this reason, wide format printers typically use UV ink. UV ink pigments are exposed to UV light and dried accordingly. This ensures that they won’t fade during intense outdoor exposure–they have essentially already been “faded.”

This does not mean that wide format products appear duller in color, however. On the contrary, they are waterproof, fade-resistant and can be applied to aa whole range of materials.

Large Format Digital Printing Products

You can produce a whole range of products with a large format digital printer! The sky really is the limit.

Here’s a brief taste of the wide range of products business owners can produce with large format digital printing services.

Retractable Banner Stands

Retractable banner for school library

Retractable banner stands are an asset for business owners displaying their wares at trade shows and events. These vertical stands can be placed next to booths or tables and disassembled after use.

Most banner stands are quite tall, meaning that they can be great eye-catchers during large, crowded events. They also offer a lot of room for incorporating logos, additional details, and sales information.

Large format digital printers can produce glossy, crisp imagery and font retractable banners of wide width and height.

Window Decals

Window decal of store name for business

If you operate a storefront of some kind, your windows may be in need of some attractive window decals. Large format printers can print high-quality decals designed to coax customers inside.

These decals are directly adhesive to standard glass. Window decals are ideal for advertising various promotions, like spring sales, soft opens, and menu displays. If you want removable window adhesives, consider ordering removable window clings. 

Large format digital printers enable crisp, vibrantly colored window decals. No mediocre bumper stickers here! 

Mounted Posters

Foam core poster promoting event

Mounted posters are indoor displays printed directly onto foamcore material. If you’re looking for an alternative to 2-D posters, look no further than these!

With large format digital printing, mounted posters print in high resolution (720 x 720) in a variety of sizes (from 12” x 12” to 44” x 46”). High resolution is important for getting visually stunning images and hard to achieve on standard commercial printers.

At Printleaf, our large format printers can accommodate double-sided printing. 

Vehicle Magnets

Vehicle magnet advertising in neighborhood

Did you know that nearly half of entrepreneurs use their business vehicles for personal travel?

Business owners keen to advertise while on-the-go can invest in vehicle magnets. Yes, large format printers produce these!

Vehicle magnets are different than vehicle wraps in that they are actual magnets that adhere to your vehicle. They are thus easily removable and versatile, meaning that you don’t have to commit to permanent, full-time advertising.

These print in full color on one side of 30 mil white magnets, and can be ordered in any size that fits your vehicle. We print directly onto a media substrate that includes tiny air channels for smooth and easy application.

UV ink means that vehicle magnets are waterproof and durable, lasting for years after application.

Floor Graphics

Floor graphic are slip-free

Draw your customers through your doors with enticing floor graphics. Large-format printers can produce the graphics business owners need to turn their floorspace into advertising space.

Floor graphics are designed with a silver backing that blocks underlying images, meaning you can use these for short-term or long-term purposes. Plus, they are durable enough to withstand heavy foot traffic. 

We print our full-color floor graphics here at Printleaf onto adhesive-backed vinyl with a luster finish. Floor graphics are waterproof and UV resistant and designed to last for years.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Large Format Digital Printing

Every business needs a way to market themselves efficiently. Even if you’re on a budget, a large format print job can be an investment in your company to get the traffic that it deserves.

1. Cost-Effective Promotional Products

Large vinyl banner for discount promotion

Large format digital print products are ideal for any marketing campaign, big or small. They are high-quality, durable, and designed to attract customers from miles away.

For this reason, a lot of business owners assume that wide-format print products are too costly to fit into their budget. 

However, large format printers are highly efficient. Plus, they generate high-quality, high-resolution images designed to last years, if not decades. Their versatility enables marketers to customize their products precisely.

It can be tough to find such precision and quality on the market, especially when using standard commercial printers.

Given that large format print products are so durable, business owners can actually save money over time on marketing efforts. No need to replace your window decals or wall posters every month!

2. Boost Walk-Ins

More customers coming to store

Did you know that 76 percent of consumers walk into a store as the result of a sign of a promotional display?

That’s right. A lot of advertisers invest time and money into digital marketing campaigns. While the internet is an important resource for spreading the word, simple signs still take the cake.

If you operate a storefront and want to increase your daily number of walk-ins of the street, invest in some large format print products. A simple banner stand or compelling window decal can be sufficient here.

3. Cultivate a Brand Image

Hard working team

Brand image is everything for businesses, especially start-ups and local companies. Brand image refers to people’s impression of your service or product.

One powerful way you can build your brand image is through compelling visuals. Developing a logo, for example, can help customers easily distinguish your product from others.

Large format print products can help you leverage this brand image through compelling, memorable imagery. What’s more, you can display this imagery in multiple locations–including billboards–to expand your brand image reach.

Use these products to supplement other marketing endeavors, including online advertising campaigns like Search Engine Optimization. The more your customers can recognize your brand, the more likely they are to stick around.

4. Improve Conversions

Higher conversion for purchases

A whopping 68 percent of consumers make a purchase based on a sign alone. This statistic is astounding and proves the great power of big visual advertising.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your conversions, invest in some large format print products. 

5. Perceived Value

Happier customers in coffee shop

When a business invests in high-quality advertising products, customers notice. A memorable billboard display can convey perceived value or authority.

As a result, more and more people will be likely to trust your brand and find it worth their time.

What’s more, consumer psychology finds perceived value in larger, glossier things. Take advantage of this by going big (and high-quality) in your marketing efforts.

On the flip-side, over half of consumers won’t enter a store if the signage is low-quality or contains grammatical errors!

Get Started On Your Large Format Print Journey

Large format digital printing is ideal for marketers who want to leave a lasting impression on potential customers. Its versatility means that you can expand your reach and cultivate a powerful brand image with the click of a button.

Are you ready to launch your wide format print journey? We’re here to help. Start a conversation with Printleaf today!

Last modified: August 27, 2019

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