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Wide format printing: a comprehensive guide to advertising and essential must-knows

19 Feb, 2024

You may not know the term “wide format printing” but you’ve definitely seen wide format printing in action: the massive billboard you drove past on the highway; the truck you overtook with the company’s logo on the vinyl “curtains” covering its load; the floor stickers guiding you to queue for food at a stadium; or building signage at your local shopping centre.

Wide format printing is a great option for many businesses, so let’s take a look at some of the essential must-knows of this rather “big” topic!


What is wide format printing?

Wide or large format printing generally refers to printing jobs that exceed standard printing sizes, usually from 45 centimetres to 2.5 metres.

This type of printing is ideal for jobs that need to cover a lot of real estate: large-scale indoor and outdoor projects like billboards, building and vehicle wraps, building signage, banners and posters, conference and trade show displays, and floor and window displays.

Compared with traditional printing presses whose history can be traced back to the 1400s, wide format printing was only introduced to the world in 1989. But in that short time it’s become a popular and visually impactful way to help advertise and market businesses and products.


How does large format printing work?

Materials and ink types

Wide format printers are specialised printing machines that use either inkjet or laser technology. Inkjet tends to be more common due to its flexibility in handling flexible and rigid materials. Print materials range from vinyl, canvas, fabric and mesh, to plastic, paper, and even wood and metal, with each serving different needs based on durability, finish, texture and intended location of the finished job.

Inks can be water-based, solvent, UV-curable or latex-based, with each offering different benefits in colour vibrancy, resistance to weather and the elements, and environmental sustainability.


The production process

The process begins like any regular printing job: with your finished digital artwork sent to the printer, ready for application to the material of choice. After we run all of our standard quality control procedures, the printer sprays or deposits ink directly onto the material and voilà – your job will soon be heading out for installation.


Benefits of wide format printing

High-impact visibility

Due to their size, wide format prints pack a punch! They’re impactful tools to capture attention in busy public spaces, making them perfect for advertising campaigns and boosting brand awareness.


Cost-effective and free advertising

In comparison to some other types of advertising, wide format printing is a cost-effective solution, and its durability and visibility make it a great choice for long-term campaigns.

Your business may have shop fronts, vehicles or land. Wide format printing can maximise these assets with low or no-cost advertising after printing/installation costs, while every time your staff drive a company vehicle or a person passes your building, you have the opportunity to reach new customers and remind existing customers of your business.


Versatility and customisation

With a range of materials, shapes, sizes and inks to choose from, wide format printing offers you versatility and lots of customisation to tailor your messaging and designs to specific audiences and locations.


Essential elements of large format printing

Quality graphic design

The success of a wide format print largely depends on the graphic design. High-resolution isn’t always necessary, as long as you’ve chosen impactful and clear graphics, text and messaging that’s visually striking and easy to understand from a distance. You should also use scalable vector files to ensure the design will suit the size and material you’ve chosen.


Right material selection

The choice of material you’re printing also makes a big impact on the success of your project. Will the finished job be installed indoors or outdoors? Is it in an area susceptible to varied environmental conditions (for example lots of sun, rain or wind)? How long will it be on display? Does it need to allow people to still see through it for safety or light (for example window decals on the outside of a train, bus or shop window)? Does it need to be non-slip if it’s a floor decal? Is it for a one-time installation or will it be removed and reinstalled in different locations?


Choosing an experienced printing company

Partnering with a professional and experienced printing company like Rawson Print & Packaging will help you get your wide format print job right the first time!

At Rawson, we have over 45 years of experience in the business and our skilled team has produced its fair share of “big” jobs, such as fitting out the Football Federation of Australia’s offices with inspiring large-scale images and quotes! We also offer pre-production site visits to help choose the right material and determine installation requirements.

We also have the added benefit of operating a closed-loop facility: the entire print process occurs under one roof in our Sydney factory. This means efficient production, less energy consumption and waste, and timely delivery.


Installation and regulatory compliance

Proper installation of your wide format printed materials is key to their longevity, especially for materials that will be susceptible to weather extremes or high foot traffic, like billboards, vehicle wraps and floor decals. At Rawson we can help with installation, either with our own team or a trusted third-party installer.

You also need to ensure that your materials comply with relevant laws and regulations. Check in with your local council, building manager/landlord, traffic authority or event organiser on any permit and tenancy requirements before you start production and installation of your job.


A wide range of benefits

By harnessing the power of wide format printing, you and your brand can create visually stunning and durable campaigns that resonate with your audience and leave a lasting impression.

Still have questions? Drop us a line to discuss how Rawson Print & Packaging can help your business get its message out there!

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