Understand the purpose of your finished print
If you’re doing a large-format printing project, it is because you either have a large amount of information to convey, such as a map or blueprint, or you want the print to be visible from a distance. Understanding which of these you are trying to achieve will determine your print options.
Map and blueprint printing is fairly straightforward. You just need to know what size the output needs to be and make sure it will fit on the large format printer and paper that you are using. Printing for impact viewing is a bit trickier and is the focus of the rest of these tips.
Know where the end product will be used
Will it need to be visible outside? Is it going to be used for an exhibition? Or will it be placed in a well-lit indoor setting? Knowing where your print is going to be used will help you to select the correct media choices for your application.
Select the appropriate media for your intended usage
Are you going to be printing a beautiful image for display in a gallery? Then you will probably want to choose either a good Photo paper or a Fine Art paper that has good archival qualities, meaning that it won’t fade with exposure to light or atmosphere. It will also reproduce your image accurately and with good detail, d-max and colour gamut ensuring that your image looks its very best. Or are you going to be printing a big banner for outdoor use to advertise an event coming up in a months’ time? Then you will probably be looking at printing on vinyl scrim banner. To learn more about the different types of Banners and what uses they are suitable for click HERE
If you are printing graphic and photographic images we are presuming you are printing with a pigment rather than a dye ink printer. To see what the differences in Dye and Pigment ink are click HERE
Make the lettering big enough
If you are printing for an application that requires it to convey some sort of message, make sure you choose a text font that is easy to read from a distance. Remember that fancy type fonts are much harder to read than simple, basic fonts. Think how far away your image will be viewed from and select an appropriate text size for that distance. You want your message to be easily conveyed- after all it is the whole purpose of the print.
Be careful when using colour
Colour is a good thing and can really add visual impact to the final result, but some combinations of colours can make any lettering become illegible when used together, no matter how big the lettering may be. Make sure there is enough contrast between the lettering and the background colour to make your type face stand out. Also try to avoid combinations of colours that colour-blind readers may have trouble distinguishing, such as using red and green together.
Less is more
When creating an eye catching design for print, try to keep things as simple and uncluttered as possible. You literally have less than a second to grab someone’s attention and get your message across. Choose bold and striking logos and artwork and keep text limited to only the essentials.
Check your copy
It is surprisingly easy to mess up even the simplest of signs. Before you waste paper, or an even more expensive material, such as vinyl as well as ink—check your text for errors! Check and then check it again and if possible, get someone else to check it too, as it is surprising how easy it is to read what you ‘thought’ you wrote, rather than what you did! A fresh pair of eyes is worth their weight in gold when checking for errors.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to plan your large format printing project and get it done right the first time, because you probably have the time to do it right once, you probably just don’t have the time to do it over.
If you want further help on Media for your Large Format Printer click HERE - for a full list of helpful posts.