Eight large-format applications that commercial printers might be missing out on

What type of printer are you? Small or medium-sized digital or offset shop? Quick printer? Trade printer or print broker? Regardless, the world of large-format printing can be quite challenging if you’re new to that growing sector. Here, we present eight popular applications you should definitely mention to your existing customers and potential clients. Test the waters and you just might discover a dependable new revenue stream for 2016.

  1. Direct-to-substrate printing

Traditional signage involves printing a large image onto paper, and then mounting it to a board stock using an adhesive. This cumbersome process can be eliminated using a flatbed printer that prints directly on the board itself. Some presses can print on any rigid substrate up to two inches thick.

  1. An example of HP WallArt.
    An example of HP WallArt.

    Wallpaper

With large-format printing, you can design and produce wallpaper to a customer’s exact specifications. By printing with specialized latex ink onto a roll-based wallpaper substrate (that can be hung with traditional wallpaper adhesives), you can create beautiful, customized wallpaper that’s non-toxic and has no odour.

  1. Removable vinyl

Made of thin PVC plastic, this substrate is backed with a low-peel, re-positionable adhesive. Yes, you can re-position it and it will never lose its effectiveness. It’s also completely safe to use on surfaces such as painted walls, wood, etc.

  1. Floor graphics

Large-format printing can leave a lasting impression while uniquely boosting your client’s brand. Today, scuff-resistant, high-impact floor graphics that people will notice (and remember) while they walk over them are well within most budgets. And remember that, unlike wall graphics, floors are relatively free of clutter. This makes them an ideal canvas for a designer’s imagination.

  1. Fabrics and textiles

Another large-format application that’s gaining traction is the ability to print on fabrics and textiles. This can include recovering chairs or sofas, digital, dye-sumblimated printing on carpets, attractive window treatments and more. Put some actual samples of colourful, custom-printed fabrics into a potential or existing customer’s hands, and watch their immediate reactions.

  1. ‘Snakearap’ application photo courtesy of Advertising Agency Bates Y&R, Copenhagen, Denmark. Creative Director: Ib Borup. Art Director: Peder Schack. Agency Producers: Josephine Winther-Poupinel, Steen Nøhr. Additional credit: Erich Karsholt.
    ‘Snakearap’ application photo courtesy of Advertising Agency Bates Y&R, Copenhagen, Denmark. Creative Director: Ib Borup. Art Director: Peder Schack. Agency Producers: Josephine Winther-Poupinel, Steen Nøhr. Additional credit: Erich Karsholt.

    Car wrapping and vehicle graphics

You can create a cool and distinctive look for any vehicle. These cast-wrap films come in high-gloss colours, matte colours, brushed metal and carbon fibre options. Plus, they’re textured films that you can use right out of the box – no over-laminate is needed. More and more companies are using vehicle graphics as a means to communicate their messages and make effective use of potential advertising and branding space. First-class application as well as compelling design are both key to achieving that striking, memorable look.

  1. Building Wraps

Does your print shop exterior look mundane? Well, you can turn your building into a massive and impactful business card with a building wrap. They’re invariably big and always bold. And with today’s technology, there are no limits to what kind of buildings can be wrapped. This includes textured surfaces like brick or stucco, as well as windows and smooth surfaces?

  1. Tradeshows and consumer shows represent another possible wide-format application that commercial printers should consider.
    Tradeshows and consumer shows represent another possible wide-format application that commercial printers should consider.

    Trade and consumer shows

Check out your current client base carefully, especially larger corporate clients. Chances are they exhibit at any number of tradeshows or consumer shows. Put together a campaign that addresses not the just the printing materials that you create for them for these important events, but the large-format displays they’ll also need as exhibitors.

In mid-June of last year, a National Print Owners Association (NPOA) 2015-2016 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study found that signs and wide format are becoming increasingly important profit centres for small commercial printers. The study, which surveyed 230 printing firms (mostly in the USA), showed that sign and wide format accounted for an average of 9.8% of total sales. “There’s no doubt sign and wide format work is an increasingly important part of the job mix,” said NPOA Executive Director and study author John Stewart. “Also, because more and more printers enter or continue to grow their sign businesses, this study offers detailed information on pricing, equipment usage, job mix and more.” You can check out the full story at: https://graphicartsmag.com/news/2015/06/signs-and-wide-format-growing-as-profit-centers-for-printers-according-to-major-npoa-survey-in-the-u-s/.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.