Large Format Printing is a process that is used for a wide variety of projects such as: indoor/outdoor banners, posters, presentation boards (foamcore/gator board) trade show/exhibit displays, vehicle wraps or wall graphics. The process is digital printing which utilizes toner based technology which allows for use for many substrates medium. The printers use the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key Color Black) process and use UV-curable ink (dry when cured with UV light). The resulting prints are waterproof, embossed & vibrant. Any media material can be used in this technology, the ink is fade resistant and can withstand inclement weather which make it ideal to use for outdoor projects.
Here are some tips I suggest to get your print right the first time, every time;
Always Get Your Settings Right
If you are planning on taking a photograph and making a large format poster or board, make sure you change your camera settings to the largest image size with the highest resolution before shooting your image. Most cameras will have a RAW format instead of JPG, I suggest you use that.
Set-up Your Files Properly
You should always know when it comes to printing, no matter how good a print looks on your screen it is impossible to predict how the image will translate to print just by looking at it. You must calculate the maximum print size of the image, so in pixels divide the width and the height dimensions by 300. For instance 7200 x 10800 pixels will result in a 24 x 36 inch print. How we get 300 is it’s the minimum numbers of dots per inch (dpi) required for high resolution printing.
Don’t Resize or Scale-up Images
Never rely on PhotoShop or any photo editing app to resize your images. When you do so, you will just make the image larger and the end result will lead to heavy pixelation and you will not be happy with your end product. In addition the file will be too large to send or sometimes even upload.
Use the Correct File Type
When you are doing a large-scale project, it is important to use the right file for the image that you are printing. For the best quality you should always send either a vector file created in Illustraor or export a print ready PDF File from the vector file. Vector graphics are made up of “paths” instead of pixels that PNG and JPG, JPEG images are. When blowing up these types of files, they lead to blurred, pixelated prints. Also vector files can be easily scaled to extremely large or small sizes without losing the image quality.
If you follow these tips the first time, I am sure your end product will be exactly like you wanted to be. Don’t be afraid to ask questions no matter how silly you think it is from your printer before sending off a file. Printers prefer the questions then the phone call afterwards that the end result isn’t what you were expecting.