While it’s easy to think of large format graphics as having limited applications, the sky’s the limit. That’s not just an expression — you surely have seen sky banners pulled by airplanes. But you don’t need to take to the skies to reach your brand-new heights with large format graphics.
Large format graphics can be sewn into pillows, hung on walls or used to create a branded selfie station. And, sometimes, the best way to increase customer interest is to go low and stick the large format graphics to the floor beneath their feet.
This post delves into what large format printing is, its popular uses and how to choose the best graphic types for your upcoming project.
For Starters, What Exactly is Large Format Printing?
Large format printing allows you to print oversized materials like architectural plans, posters, signage, and more. Printers capable of producing these materials are sometimes called wide-format printers or plotters. Wide format printers work a lot like inkjet printers — the big difference is that large format printing can produce graphics that are much, much larger. At Point B, we print graphics up to 64 inches tall and 12 feet wide — or even wider if you tile them.
What is Large Format Used For?
Large format graphics can increase visibility for your brand, your products or a promotion in a fantastic way. Plus, the graphics can inspire people to action and drive digital traffic to websites and mobile applications. For example, including a QR Code on your graphics can make it easy for people to find more product information, download your company app, request a follow-up appointment, or join your preferred member list.
Large format graphics can also drive foot traffic to physical locations such as retail stores and tradeshow booths by providing wayfaring information and a clear call to action.
Outdoor Large Format Signage
Graphics in the great outdoors usually need to be oversized and durable. So, it’s no wonder that large format printing is commonly used for out-of-home media such as billboards, graphics in sports stadiums and exterior vinyl lettering for storefronts.
Retail Uses for Large Format Graphics
Retailers leverage various large format graphics to encourage passersby to stop and pay attention. You’ll see promotional posters highlighting the latest sales and clever product displays for point-of-purchase and point-of-sale. You’re also likely to find cut vinyl decals, letters, and numbers on storefront windows and window graphics with essential business information like the business name, address, and hours.
Custom Graphics and Wall Decals for Business
Years of remote and hybrid work have changed employee expectations. Companies face resistance when trying to bring the workforce back into the office — especially amidst a competitive job market. Employers are adding bright, colorful graphics and custom decals to the wall and floors as part of a strategy to reinvigorate corporate workspaces. For example, a company may cover conference room walls with quotes about teamwork or use free standing banner graphics to highlight top-performing employees.
Trade Show Graphics
Walk any show floor, and you’ll see a plethora of large format graphics, including freestanding fabric banners, backlit graphics printed on clear plexiglass, vinyl floor graphics, and graphic wraps around workstations.
Small Uses for Large Format Printing
In some situations, wide format printers are also used for small things. Since wide-format printers can print on more substrates than traditional presses, large format printing can be the best option to create any size items produced in unique or interesting ways. A couple of examples include cool business cards printed on wood and window cling graphics with your logo used for self-promotion.
Fine Art Uses for Large Format Graphics
Due to color accuracy, the creation of fine art or photograph prints is a situation where offset printing is generally better. But if you only need a few prints or the image size is too big for an offset press, large format printing is an excellent choice. Plus, if you work with a printer, like Point B, with G7 certification for color accuracy, you may not be able to see a color difference between a large format print and the original artwork.
Interior Design Uses for Large Format Graphics
If you ever dreamed of logoed pillows for the office waiting room or tapestries featuring your kiddo’s artwork, large format printing can make those dreams come true.
Choosing Between Large Format Graphic Types
With newer wide-format printers, you can print on practically any material.
Paper graphics are a great option if you need something big but want to keep costs down. However, paper graphics aren’t very durable – even when mounted on a backing board with a UV coating or a laminate applied to the front of the graphic. So the best applications for paper graphics tend to be indoors and temporary.
Vinyl is durable and can be used indoors and outdoors on the side of buildings, windows, and more. Vinyl graphics can be glossy, matte, reflective, opaque, translucent, or transparent. Popular types of vinyl graphics include:
- Vinyl banners – Instead of printing your full-color graphic on paper, you print it on a sheet of vinyl. Outdoor vinyl graphics often have grommets in the corners, allowing you to suspend the graphic from ropes.
- Adhesive vinyl – If your goal is to stick your graphic on a surface, adhesive vinyl is your best bet. Adhesive vinyl is used for floor graphics, wall murals and various vinyl decals.
- Window vinyl – Sometimes vinyl used on windows is adhesive vinyl, but other times, the graphics are made from a vinyl that clings instead of adheres to surfaces.
Fabric graphics are commonly used for conferences and events such as concerts and sports games. But the quality and durability of large format fabric graphics have improved dramatically in recent years, expanding the possible applications.
Textile options now include silk, cotton and synthetic textiles in different weights and durability. Most of the fabrics are water resistant, but some are actually waterproof. Additionally, some large format textiles can now be dry cleaned.
When you want something unique and different, a large format graphic printed on wood, metal, glass, plastic or paper is likely to do the trick. Some large format presses can now accommodate materials up to three inches thick!
Comparison of Common Large Format Graphic Types
So, why would you choose one substrate over the other? It comes down to the strengths and weaknesses of different materials. While it can depend a little on how the graphics are produced, the following are usually crucial differences between graphic types.
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Get the Best Large Format Graphics Near You
If you’re wondering, “Where can I find large format graphics near me?” we’ve got you covered. We’re conveniently located in the Twin Cities for local customers. But we also work with clients across the country who trust us for high-quality color-accurate graphics and exceptional answers to all their questions. So, let us know if you’re unsure what to choose for your graphics. We’ll help you determine how you can make the biggest impact with large format printing services.