When printing a large banner or billboard poster, it is critical to get everything right the first time. When dealing with sizable items, the stakes are high and the challenges to get that large format print perfect can be big. If it’s your first time printing a large banner, there is a learning curve in terms of understanding what files and what type of materials are suitable.
In addition, you also need to make sure you have the suitable printing equipment. For large printing tasks like this, you will need to use a flexographic printer. The printing paper should be carefully stored in one of your flexo storage solutions, so that your banner won’t get wrinkled or damaged.
If you follow a few large banner printing tips and best practices, you can get the best quality out of your prints. Follow these eight tips to achieve high-quality large banner printing:
Tip #1: Triple check your printing settings
Maybe you’re planning to turn a photograph into a large banner printing format? Here is a tip you can’t go without: before shooting, change your camera’s settings to the largest image size and highest resolution possible. You can then proceed to shoot your pictures in RAW format instead of JPG.
Tip #2: Calculate the print sizes
Never underestimate the difference that size makes. Although an image may appear stunning onscreen, it is impossible to predict how it will translate to large-scale print simply by looking at it. In order to effectively calculate an image’s maximum print size, divide the width and height dimensions (in pixels) by 300.
For example, an image of 4800 x 2700 pixels will result in a 16 x 9-inch print. 300 is the magic number because it is minimum number of pixels per inch required for high-quality printing, especially if you’re planning to print large format.
Tip #3: Think twice before you decide to scale up
Unfortunately, you simply can’t rely on photo editing software to resize an image. If you do this, you’re likely to end up with a sloppy image and heavy pixilation. Instead, make vector files your friend.
Tip #4: Vector files and the best files
Vector files, which are produced using Illustrator are the best format to use on large-scale graphics. They work according to mathematical principles of scale and are therefore completely resolution independent. This allows them to endure dramatically scaling while maintaining their original clarity.
Tip #5: Tread carefully with fonts & designs
It is important to wrap your head around the fact that not all design elements are going to transition seamlessly from small-scale to large-scale design. You must take into account that small-scale design on brochures, business cards or sell sheets will be absorbed in close range.
The difference with large-scale graphics is they will be viewed from both far away and up close and need to be designed accordingly. Be aware that your audience will likely see your banners or exhibit graphics from several dozen feet away first. Therefore, design using images that don’t completely lose their legibility from a far.
Tip #6: Remember that balance is key
In addition to being readable from different distances, it is also important the content of your banner, sign or poster can be absorbed quickly. Too much clutter, whether in the form of text or graphics, can quickly overwhelm the viewer and cause them to look away. At the same time, if you’re design is too bare bones, there will be nothing to engage them or grab their attention.
In order to keep a balanced design, you should use only a few well-placed graphics and maintain plenty of space around each one. It is also a good idea to take it easy on the text. For the vast majority of banners and signs, a headline and a subheading or a few short, simple sentences should be enough to get your point across quickly. Event posters might require a few more details, but they need to be arranged especially thoughtfully for that reason.
Tip #7: Use Pantone for perfect colour
Like other design elements, the colour of your final product is also going to effected by the size at which you print it. Therefore, if you’re hoping to match your large-scale graphics with other graphics, your logo or promotional items, Pantone colors can help you do that.
A Pantone, or PMS, color is a specific numbered color in the Pantone Matching System used in the graphic arts, printing and other industries to facilitate accurate and consistent color reproduction, especially across multiple production runs, vendors and manufacturing processes.
Tip #8: Use the right printing software
If done manually, you could end up spending hours checking your large format file for errors. You’ll have to carefully measure the size of a print, meticulously draw grommet holes, and worrying about selecting the right press.
Thankfully, there is software available that can save you major time and effort by detecting and fixing potential printing errors. Called preflight software, there are numerous options available that will help you ensure your large format print will look picture perfect every time.