How larger format graphics are created and printed

Most people have met a large printing at some point in time. In fact, you only need to drive to the nearest major roadway and you’ll see a large banner ad; and that’s just one of the many forms of large format graphics and printing. If you really stop and think about it, you would probably start wondering- how do they make such large banner ads. In this article, that’s exactly what we are going to cover.

Large format Printer

Large format graphics are not only on billboards or banners but they can also been seen at trade shows on the booths itself or hanging in from the ceiling. One of the companies that i have had the privilege to deal with in the past called Exhibe Corporation. It has created many large format graphics for some very prestigious clients. You can view some of there work and get better understanding of what these display are here

The Basics

Like most graphic ads, the main target is to appeal to the person’s eyes. The eyes are a wonderful part of the human anatomy, but it’s not perfect. For example, when looking at a rainbow, the eye sees it as if something is there. However, the rainbow does not exist. There is nothing to touch, to measure nor weight. It’s just droplets of water and light bending as it passes through the mist of water. With this bending of the light, we see it as a rainbow. So how does this relate to large ad printing?

It is because when printing large graphics, we have to accommodate the eye’s flaw; specifically, the eye’s tendency to clump objects and details as the objects moves further and further.

When doing large format printing, the first task is to determine the optimum viewing distance. Knowing the optimum distance is very important as it determines the pixels per inch (PPI). As a rule of thumb, the farther the optimum viewing distance, the lower the PPI; and vice versa.

You will see this in practice if you look very close on graphics that are designed to be viewed from a distance. You will usually see blobs of inks that’s hard to make sense of. However, if you check the graphic at the optimum distance, all the details are there – clear, crisp and beautiful. The next big step is the actual printing process.

Printing Process

When it comes to printing large format, a commercial-grade printer is needed. At its core, large-scale printers work similar to your home printer. It’s just that everything is just scaled larger. Also, large scale printers make use of nozzles.

Large scale printers usually CMYK color combination. The ink is also directly printed on a specialized printing medium. The pigment uses is usually the UV ink; which is water-based and are fade resisted. This makes the UV ink great for outdoor use. Another thing that is very important for large scale printing is the graphic software.

Graphic Design Software

RIP Software For Printing

When printing large scale formats, you will also need a software that is able to keep up with the large hardware. The standard software for large scale printing is known as RIP, which stands for Raster Image Processor.

While you are still able to print large scale graphics without the need of RIP software, it’s simply very inefficient if you don’t use one.

A RIP software can help you with:

Increase workflow speed Easy nesting or layout Simultaneous printing of multiple printers
Better color management

Graphic design that is meant for large scale printing come with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges come in the field of printing hardware, printing hardware, and optimum viewing distance.

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