October 17, 2023 The Print Authority

What is Large Format Printing?

Print products come in all shapes and sizes. While sizes such as 5.5×8.5 and 8.5×11 might be the most common, think about all the massive printed materials you see every day. Posters, banners, vehicle wraps, and other large format items are useful and informative tools that give your business an edge over your competition. 

If you’re curious about large format printing, keep reading! This article will answer the question of what is large format printing, give you examples of the most common large format print items, and explain how large format materials can make a difference for your business. 

What is Large Format Printing?

Simply put, large format printing consists of print items that are larger than 12×18. Materials bigger than 12×18 are too large to print on a standard printing press, so they must be printed on a digital poster printing machine, flatbed printer, or a large format offset or digital press. 

Some of the most common large format items include:

Once these items have gone through the large format printing process, the printing company can then include any finishing techniques you’d like, including lamination and corner rounding. 

Large Format Printing vs. Wide Format Printing

If you’ve heard about both large format printing and wide format printing, there’s no need to feel confused about what each phrase means. These two terms refer to essentially the same type of printing. 

There is only a small difference between large format printing and wide format printing. While large format printing refers to any print job that is larger than a standard commercial printing press can print, wide format printing specifically refers to printed items that are between 18 and 100 inches wide. Certain printing presses can manage wide format printing, and larger format printers can handle even wider materials. 

Examples of Large Format Printing

Large format printing includes items that businesses in every sector use. Here are some of the most common products to include in your next print strategy. 


Posters are some of the most important large format products. Custom printed posters are useful in every industry, and you can use them in every part of your business, from customer-facing advertising to employee reminders. 

Posters come in a wide range of sizes. Some poster sizes are not even large format: for example, 8.5×11 posters and 12×18 posters are typical sizes that can be printed on a standard printing press.

Some typical larger poster sizes include 16×20, 18×24, 22×28, 24×36, 28×40, and 36×48. However, if you’re looking for a specific larger poster size that’s not on this list, feel free to ask your printing company. There’s a good chance that they can print the size you have in mind. 

Large format posters are easy to laminate, which makes them sturdier and gives them a longer lifespan. Lamination is also particularly helpful when posters are displayed in a humid place, as it protects the high-quality prints from damage. 

Posters can also be mounted on substrates that give them additional stability. Common substrates include the following: 

  • Foamcore, which is the least expensive but can bend over time. 
  • Gatorboard and ultraboard, which contain wood fibers that increase their strength. 
  • Gatorplast and Sintra, which are sturdy and allow for long-lasting posters. 

We’ll explain more about these substrates later in this post, so keep reading!


Banners put your name out there and get eyes on your branding. From hiring and grand opening announcements to advertising special deals, banners are large and make a statement. 

Banners can come in a wide range of sizes. Some of the most common banner sizes include the following: 

  • 4’x10’
  • 6’x10’
  • 8’x10’

There’s a good chance that your printing partner can provide banners in many other sizes as well. If you’re interested in a banner size that isn’t listed here, feel free to ask your printing company to print it for you. 

Banners are sturdy and durable materials, which makes them great to display outdoors. They can last multiple years when exposed to the elements. 

Trade Show Displays 

Making a successful appearance at a trade show means coming prepared with a range of printed materials. While some of these marketing materials are standard print sizes, such as business cards and brochures, some of the most important trade show print materials are large format items. 

When you’re preparing for your next trade show, think about the following large format items: 

  • Retractable banners in sizes 24”x62”, 33”x81”, or 47”x81”
  • Vinyl banners ranging from 1’x2’ to 6’x10’
  • Mounted posters ranging from 16”x20” to 36”x48”
  • Pop-up displays in sizes such as 89”x89” or 118”x89”
  • Feather flags in sizes ranging from 6’x2’ to 15’x3’
  • Teardrop flags in sizes such as 9’ and 11’
  • Tablecloths in a wide range of sizes
  • Temporary wall graphics in a wide range of custom sizes
  • Temporary floor graphics in a wide range of custom sizes

These items can be as large as you need them to be. Many trade show stands are 10’x10’, so feel free to print items that are up to 10 feet wide. 

Large Format Materials 

As we’ve seen in this article, a wide range of items can be printed with wide format printers. In addition to these large sizes, professional printing companies can print your large items in a large number of materials. 

The most common materials vary depending on which product you’re printing. Here are some of the most common materials that you might be interested in. 


PVC is one of the most common banner materials. PVC is durable and weather-proof, which makes it a great option for your next print project.  

Large PVC banners are perfect for hanging outside a building, and they provide space for large messages, including hiring notices, grand opening announcements, and more. 

Foam Core

Foam Core is a lightweight material often used for mounting posters. It consists of a middle core of polystyrene foam, with paper facing on either or both sides, which makes it easy to cut and shape. 

Foam Core’s lightness means that it can bend and dent easily. Therefore, it is a good choice for items that will be used for shorter periods or which will be replaced relatively frequently. 


Sintra is a plastic sheet made of PVC that is used for posters. It is lightweight and rigid, which makes it resistant to dents and scratches. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor posters and can be used for long periods of time. 


Coroplast is a type of corrugated plastic that is commonly used in corrugated yard signs. It is lightweight and strong and can hold color for long periods of time without fading. It can also be prepared with special additives that make it UV resistant, anti-static, and custom colors. 

Benefits of Large Format Printing

Large format printing is an important tool for businesses in every industry, as all companies need materials larger than 8”x12”. Professional large format printing makes these items possible. Here is how large format printing can help a wide variety of industries. 


Restaurants depend on large format printing both in the front of house and in the kitchen. For example, printing art on large posters creates inexpensive decorations. As well, posters in the back of house provide important reminders to employees about food and workplace safety, washing hands, and even food preparation instructions. 

Fast casual restaurants often display a large menu above the counter, which is another perfect large format printing project. 


Large format printing helps franchises make a great impression and provide excellent services. When opening a new franchise location, posting hiring signs outside your building helps you build your workforce. Displaying banners that advertise great deals can also be an excellent strategy to get new customers in the door. 

Large format printing makes it easy to display information and price signage on mounted posters by giving customers the information they need to make decisions. 

Franchises also need great large format materials for expos and trade shows. Mounted posters, banners, flags, and tablecloths are all popular large materials that help franchises represent themselves well. 

Healthcare Providers

When it comes to healthcare printing, safety is paramount. Printing posters with important reminders about health and safety improves both patient outcomes and staff health. Posters can range from waiting room reminders for patients to wash their hands to information about common illnesses. 

Large Format Printing With The Print Authority

Given that it is impossible to print large items on standard office printers, we hope this gives you a better understanding of what large format printing is and how professional printing creates the large format items you need. Simply put, professional printing companies such as The Print Authority provide the print services that help your business succeed. 

Here at The Print Authority, we have the large format printing presses that give you the large format items you’re looking for. To learn more about how The Print Authority can make a difference for your company, contact us today!