Whether you’re a retailer looking to advertise your latest products or an event organiser aiming to make a grand statement, large format printing can be your go-to solution.  

But how do you ensure that your large-format prints are optimised for outdoor applications? This blog post will offer insights and practical tips to help you achieve your goals.


How To Optimise Large Format Printing for Outdoor Applications?

Listed below are few ways to optimise your large format printing for outdoor applications.

  • Preparing Your Design for Outdoor Printing
  • Selecting the Right Large Format Printer
  • Optimising Artwork and Graphics for Large Format Printing
  • Weather Resistance and Durability
  • Maintenance and Longevity

1. Preparing Your Design for Outdoor Printing

When it comes to outdoor printing, your design is the linchpin that dictates success. Here are three key principles to adhere to:

A. Bold Colours

The outdoors is a vast space filled with distractions. To ensure your design stands out:

  • Use vibrant and contrasting colours. Soft pastels may look appealing indoors but can get overshadowed outdoors.
  • Opt for attention-grabbing shades like deep reds, bright yellows, or electric blues.
  • Leverage contrasting colours for enhanced readability and to make your message stand out.

B. Clear Fonts

Typography is critical in conveying your message. Here are some tips that can help you enhance this element while printing:

  • Prioritise clarity over decorative fonts for outdoor designs.
  • Choose thick fonts without intricate serifs. They’re easily readable even from a distance.
  • Regularly test font legibility: print sample texts and view them from various distances to ensure they remain clear.

C. Simple Graphics

Complex graphics can be misinterpreted when viewed from afar. So the following tips will help you avoid such complications.

  • Stick to the principle of simplicity in design.
  • Use straightforward graphics that convey your message instantly.
  • Example: A bold percentage sign for sale can be more effective than detailed artwork.

Designing for outdoor prints requires viewing things from the audience’s perspective. This ensures optimal visibility, clarity, and comprehension.

2. Selecting the Right Large Format Printer

Choosing the right printer is integral to the success of your outdoor advertising campaigns. With the potential of large format printing to produce expansive and eye-catching visuals, it’s essential to have a machine that meets both quality and durability demands. Dive into this comprehensive guide to make an informed choice.

A. Key Considerations in Selection:

Understanding your specific needs is critical when delving into large format printing. What’s your primary use – banners, billboards, or vehicle wraps? Different applications can demand distinct features.

Key factors to consider include:

  • Printer Speed: How fast does it print?
  • Resolution: Clarity and detail of prints.
  • Ink Durability: How long do the prints last outdoors?
  • Media Handling Capabilities: Can it print on various materials?
  • Print Longevity: A short-term ad might not require the same durability as a year-long billboard.

B. Printer Options & Their Pros and Cons:

  • Solvent Printers:
    • Pros: Durable inks suitable for outdoor use
    • Cons: Can emit harmful VOCs in unventilated areas.
  • UV Printers:
    • Pros: Resistant to sun fading; less ink spread or bleed.
    • Cons: Higher initial investment.
  • Latex Printers:
    • Pros: Eco-friendly; vibrant prints; versatile with various materials.
    • Cons: It might be less durable in extreme conditions.
  • Dye-Sublimation Printers:
    • Pros: Great for fabric banners with deep colour penetration.
    • Cons: Can fade faster outdoors.

C. The Impact of Printer Specifications:

The printer’s specifications significantly influence the output in large format printing. Essential aspects include:

  • Resolution: High DPI ensures detailed images, especially for close-up views.
  • Ink Type: Some inks may fade under UV rays, while others resist water better.
  • Print Speed: Speed is vital for bulk orders, but quality should never be compromised.

Choosing the right printer for large format printing outdoors requires meticulous consideration. With insights into each printer type’s pros, cons, and specifications, you can select the best fit for your project.

3. Optimising Artwork and Graphics for Large Format Printing

When diving into large format printing, especially for outdoor applications, the artwork and graphic elements are the foundation of your final product. Proper optimisation ensures that your designs look good and communicate effectively.

A. Key Design Considerations:

For optimal outdoor large format printing, it’s essential to:

  • Choose vivid colours that stand out.
  • Use distinct visuals that can be discerned even from afar.
  • Prioritise simplicity and clarity over intricate designs.

B. The Power of Vectorization:

Vectorisation plays a critical role in large format printing. Here’s why:

  • Scalability: With vector images, you can resize them without sacrificing quality, which means that you can enjoy sharp and clear prints no matter how big or small you want them to be.
  • Clarity: These images remain sharp, which is crucial for large prints where clarity can’t be compromised.
  • Font Legibility: When dealing with text, choose easily readable fonts. Avoid overly decorative fonts and ensure text size is adequate for visibility from a distance.

C. Image Compression and Test Printing:

Before finalising your design for large format printing, here are some things you must look out for:

  • Image Compression: Find a balance between image quality and file size. While compression reduces file size, over-compressing can degrade image quality.
  • Test Printing: Never skip this step. A test print lets you proof your design, ensuring it appears as intended when scaled up. It’s an invaluable tool for catching potential issues before full production.

Optimising your designs for large format printing is a balance between aesthetics and practicality. By focusing on clarity, legibility, and quality, you ensure your outdoor prints effectively convey your message and leave a lasting impression.

4. Weather Resistance and Durability

When it comes to large format printing, especially for outdoor use, choosing materials that can endure the effects of time and the elements is essential.

A. Material Impact:

The choice of materials in large format printing is paramount. It directly influences both the durability and lifespan of the print. Picking the right substrate ensures that your prints remain vibrant and intact for longer.

B. Outdoor Resilience:

For outdoor large format printing, prioritise materials known for their:

  • Weather Resistance: To withstand rain, wind, and other environmental factors.
  • Fade Resistance: Ensuring the print remains vibrant over time.
  • UV Ray Protection: To guard against the harmful effects of the sun, preventing premature degradation.

Strategically selecting materials enhances the longevity and vibrancy of outdoor prints in large format printing. Always choose quality to ensure your message remains clear and captivating, irrespective of external conditions.

5. Maintenance and Longevity

For outdoor displays, large format printing is an investment. To ensure a return on this investment, the maintenance and preservation of these prints are crucial.

A. Ongoing Care:

Maintaining the vibrancy and integrity of outdoor prints goes beyond the initial printing. Regular upkeep ensures that your large format prints remain as striking as the day they were installed.

B. Cleaning and Maintenance:

Here are some cleaning tips that will help prolong the lifespan of prints exposed to the elements:

  • Gentle Cleaning: Use soft brushes or cloths to remove dust and debris.
  • Safe Solutions: Employ mild detergents to prevent damage to the print surface.
  • Protection: Consider periodic treatments or laminations to shield against UV rays and pollutants.

C. Regular Inspections:

Being proactive is critical. Conduct routine checks to:

  • Identify early signs of fading or wear.
  • Address minor damages before they escalate.
  • Ensure the print’s mounting or installation remains secure.

Large format printing, especially outdoors, requires consistent care. Through proper maintenance and regular inspections, you can ensure longevity, keeping your prints vibrant and effective for years to come.

Final Words

Optimising large format printing for outdoor applications is a blend of the right design, printer, material, and maintenance. Following the insights and tips in this guide, you can ensure that your outdoor prints capture attention and stand the test of time.