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Critical Tips to Wide Format Printing & Design
Regarding wide-format graphic print and installation projects, there are several important details to take into account that require a high level of attention. This post is designed to give you a basic sense of the questions to ask yourself when approaching a wide-format graphics and print project.
Whether your wide-format printing project covers an office wall, conference room window, high-end window display, or city apartment building, considering a few key points can make the project more successful.
Wide Format Printing Tip 1 - Duration
How long will the wide format graphics remain in place?
Wide-format substrates can vary significantly from one to another. The material used for a massive billboard may cost as little as a quarter per square foot, whereas the more versatile vinyl used for vehicle wraps may be more than a dollar per square foot. It is critical to the success of any wide-format printing project to know how long the graphics need to be in place in order to define the best substrate for the installation.
Wide Format Printing Tip 2 - Surface
What type of surface will the wide-format graphics be installed on? Glass, drywall, concrete, metal?
A wide format print project can fail - literally fall off the wall onto a client or customer's head - if the wrong material is selected to attach to the respective surface. The complexity of a specific location can add hundreds of dollars to the installation cost as well so it's important to make sure your wide format design is printed on the appropriate material to attach to the respective surface.
Wide Format Printing Tip 3 - Imagery
What kinds of images will be printed? Full-color images or type only?
Believe it or not, not all digital output devices are created equal, and not every wide-format printer prints using the same settings. Absolute Color prints wide format designs at a high resolution while other vendors you encounter may run them at the bare minimum. In reality, if the wide format graphics were intended to support the sale of a high-end product, the print from a vendor using lower resolution would most likely detract from the buying experience. It is important to provide an early mock-up of the planned graphics for the wide-format project. If the wide format project is printing skin tone, cosmetics, or a neutral color like silver, color consistency and high resolution will be critical.
Wide Format Printing Tip 4 - Location
Where will the wide format graphics be installed? Is the location outside or inside?
"Location, location, location" applies to wide-format graphics as well as real estate. Indoors or outdoors is the biggest factor, but if graphics will be installed on a narrow, closed window in direct sun for 10–12 hours per day midsummer, that could make or break a wide-format graphics project. Graphics installed against the top edge of a wall in close proximity to an air conditioning vent will, with the changes in temperature and dust produced from the ventilation system over time, peel from the wall if not properly reinforced and printed on the correct substrate for the wall type.
There are several other dozen factors that should be taken into account when printing wide-format graphics, but considering duration, surface, imagery, and location will get you on the right path.