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What is and how does a large format printer work?

What is and how does a large format printer work?

Large format printing allows us to print on a larger scale and make an impact while still maintaining high resolution and clarity. It enables printing on a range of materials, shapes and sizes.

Large format printing is perfect for printing on a larger scale without compromising high resolution and clarity.

One of the main benefits of large format printing is its incredible versatility when it comes to printing on a range of materials, as well as in different shapes and sizes. Whether you’re a business looking to present your advertising in a clear, bold and impressive way or you’re looking to create impactful backdrops for a festival or event, large format printing should be your first port of call.

But how does a large format printer work? We’ve created a helpful guide outlining everything that you need to know.

How does large format printing work?

Once your design is ready to be printed, you need to select a material to print on. There are many different surfaces you can use with large format printing, such as metals, wood, PVC, vinyl, plastics, canvas, paper and fabrics.

Once you have chosen your material and decided on the size and shape of the print, the dimensions will be programmed into the printer to ensure precision and accuracy.

Working from the design provided, the printer will then spray the ink to match the graphics exactly. Many large format printers have a rapid drying process, usually using UV lights, so you can use your printed material as soon as it is complete.

What can you do with large format printing?

Also known as wide-format printing or grand printing, there’s so much you can do with this kind of printing. Below you can see some large format printing examples:


Posters are a great way to communicate your brand messages or information about events in a clear and impactful way. Flexible, credible and perfect for optimising visibility, posters can be used to capture the attention of your target market.

Vinyl banners

Vinyl banners are incredibly versatile - they can be used almost anywhere, including for signboards, table banners, trade convention banners, trade shows, banner stands, street banners, and event banners.

Cardboard cut-outs

Cardboard cut-outs make great marketing materials. They are also incredibly versatile as the card can be cut into any shape.

Window stickers

Window stickers and window graphics are perfect for optimising awareness, enhancing your brand, or creating highly visible messages that you want your customers to see. They are also incredibly durable.


Providing clear communication, signage is perfect for increasing brand awareness, conveying your brand messaging in an impactful way and reaching your target market.

What kind of materials can be used for large format printing?

There is a wide range of large format printing materials that can be utilised, including:

  • Correx and Polypropylene
  • Wood
  • Polypropylene honeycomb
  • Dibond Aluminium
  • Foamed PVC / Foamex
  • Textiles
  • Vinyl
  • Paper
  • Fabric and textiles
  • Metal

As you can see, large format printing is extremely versatile and works with lots of different materials, meaning it’s suitable for a huge range of printing projects.

What to consider when printing large format

Before printing in large format, there are a few factors that you will need to consider including:

  • Where is the print going to be viewed from – does the image need to be optimised for the viewing distance?
  • What resolution do you require?
  • What materials will work best?
  • Will the print be used indoors or outdoors?
  • Can you export your print easily without issues?
  • You should make sure designs are done in CMYK colours

If you require help getting a large format printing project ready, plenty of printers are on hand to offer you the support and guidance you need.

How to prepare images for large format printing

When printing images on a large scale, you need to make sure the files are prepared to the correct standards and specifications to achieve the best results. This will not only speed up the overall process, but it will avoid any issues during printing and save both time and money.

To help you ensure your image looks as good printed as it does on a screen, make sure you check out this quick guide on preparing your files.

Why should you use large format printing?

With its low costs and impactful results, large format printing is one of the most cost-effective print marketing tools available.

There are other benefits to choosing this printing option, including the following:

  • Droplet technology creates sharp and clear images that are visible even from a distance
  • Extremely eye-catching
  • Versatile
  • A great way to generate business leads
  • Long-lasting
  • Durable and UV-resistant materials

Here at Perfect Colours, we are large format print specialists and have a range of large format printers that will ensure you receive high-quality printing no matter what you’re printing. If you would like to find out more about our large format printers, please get in touch.

Note* - Post updated and corrected May 2023

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We're here to help. Whether you're looking to get started with a large format printer or you've been in the industry for years, our team of qualified specialists are always happy to lend a hand. Give us a call on 0845 680 9000.

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