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How to prepare images for large format printing

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, we’ve put together a quick guide on preparing your files.

What application to use?

The most popular software to use for photo editing and design is the Adobe Creative Suite:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Lightroom

Often the best choice for large format designs, you can produce vector-based images and scale them to whatever size you want without loss of quality.

This is a good application for editing images but be aware that scaling up images reduces clarity due to it being a raster-based programme.

Like Illustrator, this application is vector-based, however there is a maximum document size.

This is a great programme for editing photographs direct from your camera.

Viewing distance and best resolution

Viewing distance refers to how close someone will be to the piece of artwork once printed. This can help to determine the best resolution. For example, if you’re producing a large billboard that may be viewed 40 metres away, you don’t need to have a high ‘dots per inch’ dpi. The human eye wouldn’t be able to see this detail, so it’s pointless having such a large file size.

If you’re going to be in close proximity to an image, we recommend you use a resolution of 300dpi. The further away, the lower the dpi can be. Once you get to around 10 metres away, we would recommend 75dpi.

What is the best file format for large format printing?

The best file formats for large format printing are PDF or TIFF files. PDF files are versatile and can manage image compression very well, while TIFF files are highly compatible and can be opened with almost any software.

Before printing, it’s best to ask your printing vendor what file type they would like you to send. They will usually be able to provide you with a list of specifications.

What printers are best?

The best large format printer will depend on your needs and what size you want to print up to. Typically, large format printers are used for:

  • Banners
  • Posters
  • Wallpaper
  • Murals
  • Canvases
  • Backdrops
  • Architectural drawings

A great option for printing graphics and photography is the Canon IPF PRO-1000, which can print impressive images up to A2 size. For super-wide printing that can be used outdoors, we have options such as the HP Latex 1500 Printer, which can print SAV at 45m2.

Here at Perfect Colours, we have a range of large format printers for graphics and photography, technical, CAD and GIS Plotters, as well as outdoor, latex, fabric and dye sublimation printers. To find out what printer is best for your needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team of experts are on hand to answer any questions you have and point you in the right direction.

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Lets talk!

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.

Our doors are open from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, but you can drop us an email at anytime and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

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