Often, graphics and text printed on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper are just not practical. Text is not readable from more than a couple of feet away, and in a world where companies are competing for customer attention, small print is likely to be overlooked. Reaching customers to promote your business requires that you go big.
In the past, large-scale printing was a specialty service used primarily for printing documents or advertising too large to fit onto a standard piece of paper. These projects included billboards, posters, and construction blueprints. Specialty printers screen-printed these graphics on large rolls.
In recent years, however, advances in printing technology and inks have enabled substantial expansion in the capabilities of large format printers. Primarily due to inkjet technology, prints can now include more colors. They can also be much larger, printed faster, and produced on a wide selection of materials. Printing media now includes vinyl, fabrics, and rigid boards. With so many possibilities, there is a large-scale option for just about every business. Let's explore how some industries are benefitting from these opportunities.
Wallpaper has gone in and out of style since the 1700s, when homeowners widely used it to cover wall imperfections and brighten up dark, small rooms. While fruit-covered borders may not be desirable, homeowners now use modern patterns to create feature walls and bring color and style into smaller spaces. Large format printing opens up the possibility of creating a look that is all your own. With the ability to print large rolls of wallpaper, printers can take artists' ideas and turn them into a reality for clients creating one-of-a-kind wallcoverings.
Printing advances have also made it possible to turn pictures into works of art. By applying multiple layers of ink sequentially, printing can mimic the texture of brush strokes, resulting in prints that look like original art.
As you walk through a venue like a theater or a concert arena, you see many printed displays that usually fall into one of three categories.
Sponsorship Recognition – Because entertainment venues can promise an advertising audience, they can garner financial support from sponsors. In return, the sponsors receive advertising in prime locations.
Promotional Advertising – Venues that support a concert series or theaters that feature multiple shows never pass up an opportunity to sell you on future performances. Large, attention-grabbing displays keep you apprised of what you may be missing.
Décor Enhancement – Without the decorations, venues look pretty bland. An arena is just a basketball court until they add all the banners, lighted signs, and advertising. With the added decorations, it looks like a location fit for a concert.
While this signage all serves different purposes, it all contributes to the experience and influences the likelihood of generating a reliable base of repeat customers. The larger, the more colorful, the quirkier the display, the more likely it is that you will pay attention to it and remember what it said.
Restaurants and bars are some of the largest consumers of large format signage. Printed material allows them the flexibility to keep branding consistent across advertising, menus, and décor while changing their message as trends and specials change. As the food and the experience change, restaurants can alter the interior aesthetics as well to match.
How do you know when fall has arrived? You start to see pumpkin lattés advertised at Starbucks. You know spring is here when Panera Bread brings back their spring salads. Restaurant patrons have come to expect these seasonal changes. While the menu on the wall may reflect these new seasonal additions, the changes are much more likely to reach customers with large format signage like window decals, A-frame sidewalk advertising, or strategically placed point of service displays. As menus and specials change, large format signage can communicate those adjustments to customers both inside and on the street, drumming up business.
During the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020, many foodservice establishments turned to large format signage to keep customers apprised of the services they offered. Signs reading "Take Out" or "Curbside Pick-up" became commonplace, as did signage updating customers on social distancing protocols and masking requirements. These signs allowed restaurants to communicate effectively with customers and keep their businesses running during a challenging time.
With many restaurants offering catering or delivery services, the demand for vehicle wraps has grown. They identify the vehicle with your restaurant and help strengthen your branding. They also serve as a driving billboard, advertising your food to other drivers on the road.
Navigating a hospital can be as tricky as finding your way through the Chicago O'Hare airport. Wayfinding signage placed in crucial places within the facility is vital to assisting patients and visitors in finding their way to the correct department. However, signage can do much more for these extensive facilities.
Large format signage can help brighten the atmosphere, especially in children's hospitals. Wall murals featuring colorful fish or popular children's cartoon characters can put a smile on a child's face and make the hospital a little less scary. When placed on the windows, these graphics can serve a dual purpose. Window decals provide privacy for patients inside while making the exterior of the building more attractive. On the first floor, window decals are especially helpful in protecting patients' privacy by preventing foot traffic from seeing inside.
Hospitals serve the community not only by providing medical care, but they often serve as the location for community events. Large signage at the hospital can keep people apprised of these events, such as blood drives or free screening days.
Large format printing is still a vital part of the construction industry today. Architects and contractors need architectural plans, CAD drawings, and blueprints printed on a large scale. These prints' accuracy directly influences the construction crew's ability to build the bridge, building or home they depict.
Construction companies can use large scale graphics on their construction sites as well.
Advertising – Projects in high-traffic areas often attract attention from passersby. Well-placed signage with your name and company logo is inexpensive advertising that may lead to increased business.
Safety Information – Keeping every job site safe for workers is vital. Large signs alerting crews to hazards and first aid sites help accomplish this goal.
Aesthetics – Construction is a messy job. Large format signs placed in a strategic location can help hide the mess until crews can clear away debris, tools, and building materials.
Large format signs are indispensable in business. They help grab the attention of customers and employees alike to communicate with words and pictures. They advertise, educate, and guide people to the places you want them to find. Best of all, you can customize them and adapt them to meet your company's unique needs. Whether you realize it or not, every industry has something to gain from using large format prints.