How To Design Your Branding For Large Format Printing

Nothing gets your branding out there like large format printing. If you want to nail that trade show display or point of sale promotion, you need stunning graphics that really pop. 

Most graphic design is intended for websites, posters and flyers. Large format printing amplifies your message and grabs people’s attention. Well designed graphics can set you apart from the competition with a message intended to be seen from a distance.

But beware. Designing your branding for large format printing can be a minefield. Those design elements that look great on-screen might not scale seamlessly to a wall-mounted banner or outdoor poster. And any mistakes will be incredibly obvious. 

Here are some simple tips that will help you design those big, bold graphics and logos like a pro.

Accuracy counts

Misalign the graphics on your flyers by a few millimetres, and you won’t notice the difference. Amplify those millimetres over a large format poster or banner, and your graphics could be off by several centimetres, making the end result look sloppy and unprofessional.

Using the right alignment tools will help eliminate the problem. But it’s worth focusing on accuracy from the outset for a high impact result.

Work at scale

Ready to do some maths? Translating a full-scale large format print to your laptop screen can leave you with a large and unwieldy file that can’t be shared or stored easily. So break it down. Working at ¼ scale will simplify the whole design process - divide all measurements by 4 using a calculator and you’ll streamline every element for ease of use.

Ideally, you should set up your artwork in an equal proportion to the finished product. So if you’re ordering a banner in 3:1 proportion make sure your artwork matches it. We have more information on working to scale in our artwork setup guide

Being able to share and proof files quickly and easily has obvious benefits when you’re getting your graphics ready for the final print run. Just check and recheck your measurements to make sure errors don’t creep in. 

Finally, export your file as a pdf and zoom to the correct size. Print a small test copy at scale and check your graphic carefully for any spelling mistakes, misalignments or other errors - catch them now before they prove too costly later in the print process.

Start with high-quality images

If you want to achieve razor-sharp large format graphics, then you must start with high-quality graphics. That image on your phone or website won’t scale correctly, and large format graphics are all about impact. 

It’s always worth keeping in mind the viewer’s perspective. The reason you’re investing in large format printing is to engage with your customers. Considering their perspective should inform every design decision from fonts to colours and how your design elements interact with each other. Starting with high-resolution imagery means your final graphic will look just as you intended.

Sweat the detail

The reason that you’re using large scale printing is because of the significant amount of space on offer. But don’t be tempted to pack your design with the kind of tiny detail that works well on a flyer or business card. 

Keep text and images well-spaced, and keep copy to a minimum. Select fonts that high readability and visibility, and don’t be afraid to use the negative space to add to the impact of your design. Remember that a large scale poster packed with detail will end up looking busy. Instead, let a few well-chosen words and high-resolution images tell your branding story to great effect.

Pick Pantone colours

If you want to colour match your large format printing to your brand colours and logo, you need to work with Pantone colours. Pantone is the universal standard recognised by printers and will give cohesion to your design, ensuring that the final result is consistent. Most printers will be able to match a sample with the correct Pantone colour.

Other standard options for colour printing include CMYK and RGB. Using CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and key/black) will generally result in a more accurate colour match. RGB, on the other hand, offers smaller file sizes plus a more comprehensive range of colours. 

At Display01 our team requests that all artwork is delivered in CMYK mode. If you prefer to use Pantone colours, they’ll need to be embedded in the original artwork.

Use the correct file and format

No two printing projects are the same. For example, if you’re ordering roller banners with an additional section below the graphics, you may need to use a specialised template. This ensures that your image and text are the correct height and width and keep clear of the non-printable area.

You should also include any previously added crop and bleed marks in your files. This helps ensure that the cut position of your design is correct. We prefer pdf files with a name that includes the design’s height and width and a brief description of the content. 

Before you upload to the website, make sure you check the file again to pick up any last-minute issues. Large format printing is expensive, and you won’t be provided with a physical proof copy, so this is the last chance to ensure that your large format graphics are just as you want them.

Find a printer that specialises in large format printing

Want to get your large format printing right? Then you need to work with a print company that can bring your vision to life. Take a look at their portfolio and their reputation. Check out their reviews and testimonials and make sure they can provide the large format print services you need.

At Display01, we invest in cutting edge equipment and use the latest print technologies to achieve the results you need. We have a reputation for delivering to startups, charities and household names with the same high-quality results. Get in touch with us at Display01 to start discussing your large format printing needs.