Large Format Printing

Large format printing questions and answers ranging from what is considered an oversized color document to when you should laminate a poster.

Large Format Printing Questions and Answers

An oversized document is usually defined as one which is larger than 12” x 18”. These documents must be produced on a digital poster machine, a hybrid large format digital press, a flatbed printer or a larger format printing press.
The answer to this is going to depend on the size of the poster and the run length. A good rule of thumb may be that to print 100 or fewer posters of one original, a digital process may be most cost effective. Between 101 and 500 posters, it will depend on the specifics of the job which production method will be best. Over 500 posters, offset printing will almost always win out unless the posters must be done too quickly for the offset printing process. For your particular job, please feel free to call the experts at The Print Authority to help you decide which process is best for you!
The Print Authority can print on semigloss paper up to 54” wide. In addition, we can print on other flexible materials like permanent or removable vinyl (for labels or signs), materials which adhere to windows for notices and signs like static cling labels, card stock, magnetic material, wall decal and floor decal materials, and much more. We can also die cut flexible materials for specialty labels with impact. Call for details!
We recently added a hybrid large format printer that can print on both roll materials and rigid materials. We can image directly onto the following substrates:

  • Foam Core or Ultra Board. This is a stiff board which is great for counter cards and presentation boards for conferences and other meetings. The inside of the board is somewhat soft, so it can break or dent and must be handled carefully. These boards come in black or white, but the facing must be white for good quality imaging.
  • Styrene and Sintra. These are harder plastic sheets that can be used for longer lasting signage, either inside or outside.These materials come in a variety of thicknesses.
  • Coroplast. This is corrugated plastic usually used for Yard Signs.
There are many other more specialized substrates...please ask if you are looking for something different!
There are several types of substrates which may be used as a surface to mount a poster onto. In essence, after the printing process is complete, the poster may be affixed to a substrate. The most common and least expensive substrate is foamcore. This is best for one use or short term poster use. Foamcore will bend or warp over time and can nick or dent if mishandled. An intermediate substrate is gatorboard or, or ultraboard. Both of these boards contain more wood fibers than foamcore and hence do not nick or dent as easily as foamcore. Two higher end substrates are gatorplast or sintra. Gatorplast is similar to gatorboard, but is more durable and less subject to bending. One can also score gatorplast after a laminated poster has been mounted. This allows a multiple panel poster which can stand on its own to be produced. Sintra is a lightly textured, hard plastic substrate which weighs a little more, but works well for long term use due to its durability.
Laminating a poster is a good idea when a poster is not mounted but needs to be somewhat durable. It is also important if the poster will go into an area of high humidity. Mounted posters can also be laminated to extend their useful life.
This will vary from company to company. Currently, at The Print Authority, the maximum resolution on posters is 2400 x 2400 dpi.

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