The design world is wrought with challenges that the everyday individual would never begin to imagine.  Something seemingly simple could end up taking countless hours if you have never experienced the problems associated with the project.  Thankfully, there are tools out there that can assist you prior to encountering error. This post is one of them and the internet as a whole is another.  The tips provided today are ones that will help you when you are assigned the project of large format printing.  Again, this appears to be a simple task.  However, once you begin to tackle the project, certain questions may arise.  What format do I use?  What file type is best?  What is a good resolution?  What equipment is capable of large print projects? If these are questions that have crept into your mind when designing banners, signage, and other large print items, read on for some Q and A.

What is large format printing?

Large format printing is an advertising medium that has been growing in popularity through time. As the name suggests, its main purpose is to support maximum print roll width. The beauty of this type of printing is it gives you the luxury of a bigger area to work with. Large format printing can function as banners, posters, wallpapers, murals and more. They are ideal for materials that have visual or graphic-heavy designs. Their wide images and texts make big format prints effective advertising tools. They create more impact and attract customers better than normal-sized materials. (Source: https://www.uprinting.com/large-format-printing.html)

What equipment can be used?

Wide format printers (large format printers) are generally accepted to be any computer-controlled printing machines (printers) that support a maximum print roll width of between 18″ and 100″. Printers with capacities over 100″ wide are considered super wide or grand format. Wide format printers are used to print banners, posters, trade show graphics, wallpaper, murals, backlit film (duratrans), vehicle image wraps, electronic circuit schematics, architectural drawings, construction plans, backdrops for theatrical and media sets, and any other large format artwork or signage. Wide format printers usually employ some variant of inkjet or toner based technology to produce the printed image; and are more economical than other print methods such as screen printing for most short-run (low quantity) print projects, depending on print size, run length (quantity of prints per single original), and the type of substrate or print medium. Wide format printers are usually designed for printing onto a roll of print media that feeds incrementally during the print process, rather than onto individual sheets. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide-format_printer)

What is the best file format for print?

When preparing images for print, the highest quality images are desired. The ideal file format choice for print is TIFF, followed closely by PNG. With your image opened in Adobe Photoshop, go to the “File” menu and select “Save As”. (Source: https://its.ucsc.edu/fitc/tutorials/webimages.html)

What is the best file format for large scale print?

As suggested in the breakdown of programs, Vector files, which are produced using Illustrator are the best format to use on large-scale graphics. An .EPS vector file works on mathematical principles of scale and is completely resolution independent. Because of this it can be scaled up dramatically while still maintaining its original clarity.

If scaling up non-vector images like a TIFF or JPEG in Illustrator to massive sizes, they will likely become extremely blurry, pixelated and distorted. For this reason, Vector files are preferable. (Source: https://www.inkondapaper.com/designing-large-format-graphics/)

What is a good wide format print resolution?

300 dpi is the norm for most printers, but it all depends on the way you’ll be printing. High-end offset printers will need 300 dpi. Why 300? That’s the number of pixels per inch (ppi) (also a type of resolution) that’s suitable for high-quality printing. From our last example, a 4608 x 3456 image will yield a 15 x 11 print. (Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/how-to/printing-large-photos-the-right-way/)

What products allow you to design for wide format print?

Adobe Design Programs:

Illustrator

Illustrator can create vector-based images that can be scaled up without losing clarity. You can also incorporate raster-based images from Photoshop.

Photoshop

Photoshop is strictly raster-based and mainly used for photo/image editing. Because the images are composed of pixels, raster graphics scale down with no loss of quality but enlarging will cause pixilation.

InDesign

If your designer often creates brochures for your company they likely use InDesign, a program best for page layout for printing. (Source: https://www.inkondapaper.com/designing-large-format-graphics/)

As you can see, there are many questions when it comes to printing large scale items.  There are many more that may arise when beginning to tackle a project and that is understandable.  With all of the resources out there, not to mention the great local print companies available, you should have no problem getting the job done.  Wide format print on large mediums may draw more attention to your brand as it tends to catch the eye with ease.  Feel free to contact us with any of your large scale print needs!