The number of innovative ways to use large format printing continues to multiply, making it one of the hottest areas in marketing. According to a report in Printing Impressions, the wide-format market is growing at a rate of 10% to 12% annually.
A number of factors are contributing to large format’s growing popularity, from the size of materials and the variety of flexible and rigid substrates you can print on, to the cost savings and other efficiencies that are possible with some of today’s innovative large format solutions.
The applications for large format printing are only limited by your imagination. But the breadth of possibilities comes with a broader set of considerations. If you’re planning to incorporate large format printing in your marketing mix, here are some points for you to contemplate.
1. First Things First: Talk to a Large Format Expert
Perhaps you are already familiar with some of the popular applications for large format printing, such as:
- Indoor and outdoor signage, like point-of-purchase graphics, banners, A-frame signs, and yard signs
- Graphics on doors, windows, walls and floors
- Exhibit and event signage
Whether you’ve used large format printing before or you’re a total rookie, you might be surprised by all of the ways large format printed materials can work for you.
For example, messaging can be displayed around poles, concrete traffic bollards, or posts, using a material called Creoplast Flex. A type of plastic corrugated material, Creoplast Flex can be rolled into a cylindrical shape and slipped over the post – a much simpler solution compared with using a hard-to-ship, rectangular-box shape for the application.
Take the time to talk with an expert who can advise you on how to creatively integrate large format printing into your marketing programs. You will likely discover new ideas for your business to stand out, cut costs, increase efficiency, and even become more ecofriendly.
2. Think About Legibility, Visibility, Durability, Safety and Shelf Life
There are lots of variables to consider when it comes to large format printing. For example, does your project support a temporary need or a long-term requirement? If it’s a limited-time promotion, a window cling might be the most cost-effective and sensible option. When the campaign ends, you simply peel away the cling. Just make sure you check with your supplier on the type of adhesive used, particularly if you have tinted windows, since some adhesives may damage the tinting during the removal process.
You’ll also want to consider how long your printed materials will be in use and the environment they will be subjected to when deciding on the substrate and ink type. Look for a supplier that offers a variety of materials and ink applications. Ink options include solvent, eco-solvent, latex, UV-curable, solvent UV, aqueous and dye sublimation. Solvent inks are oil-based and resist fading, are waterproof and resist abrasion, making them a good choice for long-term outdoor applications, whereas aqueous inks are liquid based and are suitable for POS displays and other indoor applications.
Consider these additional questions for a number of popular large format printing applications.
- Legibility: For window applications, do you only want the printed information to be legible from inside or outside? Do you need to be able to see outside, perhaps for security purposes (e.g., a bank)?
- Legality: For vehicle wraps and decals, do you know the local laws regarding window tinting and visual obstructions?
- Safety and durability: For floor decals, does the material provide sufficient durability for the environment it will be in? Is the material slip resistant? Does the coating meet UL requirements for floor applications?
- Ecofriendly: Whether using plastic or paper-based materials, are they recyclable? If you are using recyclable materials, are they suitable for the environment they will be placed in? For example, recyclable paper-based materials may not hold up in certain outdoor applications.
3. Type of Printer: Flatbed vs. Roll
Two types of printers used commonly in large format printing are flatbed and roll printers. Each type offers different advantages. Flatbed printers offer speed and efficiency, allowing you to print directly onto rigid substrates up to several inches thick. Roll printers offer tremendous versatility, allowing you to print on a range of rolled flexible materials, including papers, fabrics, canvas and vinyl. For the greatest range of options, look for a large format print provider that uses both types of printers.
4. Avoid Extra Costs
When budgeting for your large format printing projects, remember to consider the costs of getting your finished pieces to their installed location. Will you be able to ship printed pieces flat or rolled? Will the size and weight result in shipping surcharges? Will you need to hire someone to install the pieces once delivered?
Ask your print provider about alternatives that can help you save on overall costs while addressing your overall project goals. As an example, Vya works with a restaurant franchise that has been using heavy PVC menu boards that require periodic updating to reflect special campaigns throughout the year. We suggested they look at large format printing on a magnetic material to create lighter weight, more modular signage that would save on printing and shipping costs and make it easier and safer for employees to update signage when needed.
Large format printing is an exciting option for today’s marketers. The seemingly endless choices of materials and the creative applications available offer tremendous opportunities to stand out and engage customers. Look for a supplier that can help you navigate all the considerations that go into choosing a large format application that will address your marketing objectives, increase efficiencies and even reduce overall costs.