You may have spent hours online creating custom wallpaper for an accent wall, but have you considered how that wallpaper was created? How about the large banner you had printed for an event? These projects wouldn’t be possible without large format printing techniques.
Large format printing is defined as printing on materials anywhere from about two to 15 feet in size. We sat down with Infomax’s John McGill, solutions engineer, to hear about some of the trends in the large format printing industry.
Banners and signs have traditionally been popular large format printing projects. They’ve long been used for everything from business advertising to personal display pieces. However, consumers are wanting more customization than ever. Customers can design their own wallpaper through online programs, which are then printed on a large format system. Artwork is also popular with sticky-sided vinyl portraits and pictures printed on canvas on the rise. The desire for more custom jobs means printers must be more versatile, transitioning from one job to the next.
Growing in popularity is printed window perforated film. The medium is being used more and more as a creative means for advertising or informative signs. Floor graphics — printed on material with one adhesive side — are increasingly being used in the same way. Currently, printing on fabrics is a bit of a fad. However, John warned that the material can often be finnicky.
Ultraviolet ink will soon reign supreme in the large format printing industry. Previously, eco-solvent inks were used, which could be messy and required a certain amount of time for the ink to cure — or outgas — before the printed material could safely be handled without smudging. Most recently, latex inks were used. However, the advent of UV ink is saving printers time and money. When a printer uses this type of ink, a UV light passes over the just-printed section, instantly drying the surface. Additionally, about 35 to 50 percent less UV ink is needed to cover a printing job than is required for eco-solvent or latex ink.
Many companies that provide large format printing are working with Infomax to secure technologically advanced systems for the best value, such as the Canon-brand Colorado printer. Clients know this machine is built with quality and value in mind. It also saves printers time with its automated creep and crawl correction. Unlike other printers that could set the project lopsided, newer large format printers, such as the Colorado, will automatically correct the material if it starts to go out of alignment.