Large format printing, sometimes referred to as wide format, has become a commonly used term, but what is it? Wikipedia defines it as:
“Wide-format printers are generally accepted to be any printer with a print width between 17″ and 100″. Printers over the 100″ mark may be called Super-Wide or Grand format… wide format printers generally use a roll of print material rather than individual sheets and may incorporate hot-air dryers to prevent prints from sticking to themselves as they are produced.”
Large format printing has many applications — banners, billboards, and wraps. Wraps include vehicle wraps, fleet graphics, and may also include wall, floor, stair, and building graphics.
It’s most often assumed wide format will be printed digitally, but it can be screen-printed as well. In a previous post, we stated, “digital printing consists of any printed output that comes directly from a digital file, thus consolidating and automating the printing process. While there are various printing processes available, large-format inkjet is currently the most common digital print output medium.” Screen print may be considered for large format applications when large quantities of 1–4 color prints are called for. Traditional offset printing, which uses a cylinder to transfer images to a substrate, is limited in size and not applicable to large format.
The next time you’re on the freeway and notice a fully wrapped 53’ trailer like Red Gold, a 16’ x 60’ billboard, or a 50-story banner, you can tell your passengers, “There’s an example of large format printing.”