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More than three-quarters of U.S. consumers said the primary reason they walked into a retail store was because of its large format printing display outside. The sign or banner at the entrance captured their attention, so they went in. It seems the majority of businesses rely on this method because many are using large format printing at their retail locations—both inside and out. Big and small organizations alike promote their new merchandise with colorful retail displays. Professional sports teams hang banner advertising in and out of their stadiums to showcase their players or highlight a gameday promotion. The possibilities are wide-ranging.


Large format printing refers to the process of printing, typically, on non-paper substrates, such as vinyl, canvas, or acrylic (to name a few). Yes, regular printing presses can produce large-sized projects on paper, but the goal is to break it down into something smaller, like a magazine or direct mailer that is eventually cut, trimmed, and folded. Large format printing starts large and usually stays that way. Thus, this printing process requires special production equipment to accommodate the larger size. Large format printing is also sometimes known as wide or grand format printing. This includes projects like in-store displays, horizontal or vertical indoor/outdoor banners, promotional signage, window and wall posters, and billboard ads.


There’s much more to this unique printing process than just putting up big banners, though. Here’s how you can use large format printing to help your business stand out.


Keep Your Design Simple


large format advertisingYour large format printing project begins with its design, so there are a few things you should know. If you’re familiar with the graphic design acronym KISS (“Keep it simple, stupid”), you know that uncomplicated is better. But why make less when large format printing seemingly lets you include more? It’s all about the message.


Most people will only see your large format advertising, poster, or display piece in passing, so you should keep the total number of words to a minimum. You have just a couple seconds to capture their attention and deliver your message. That’s a far cry from having someone’s undivided attention while they’re looking at your print ad.


Generally speaking, outdoor large format printing should include:


  • Image or graphics with plenty of breathing room around them.
  • Headline and subheading to get your point across in as few words as possible.
  • Company logo.
  • Contact information like website URL and/or phone number.


This varies from piece to piece and it depends on what type of large format printing you’re working on. But it’s a good place to start. Simplicity keeps your message clear and allows you to quickly generate interest in your product or service. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Embrace that concept and you’ll be well on your way to print marketing success.


Include Eye-Catching Images or Graphics


It should go without saying that an amazing image will help get your viewers to notice you, but let’s look at the details. Beautiful pictures and graphics capture our attention no matter where we see them. What you have to make sure of is that you’re getting the highest image resolution possible. After all, the more you increase the size of the image, the more you’ll notice any decrease in quality.


Vector Images Over JPGs and Bitmaps


When it comes to large scale printing, use vector images if possible. Vectors are a bit different than .JPGs and bitmap files because they’re not made up of pixels. Instead, they’re defined by mathematical equations, so no matter how big the image gets, it will still look crisp and clear in the final product. Vectors also tend to have comparatively smaller file sizes, savinf possible time on uploading, downloading, and even printing.


How to Choose Colors and Fonts


color psychologyColor plays a bigger role in your purchasing decisions than you might think. In fact, customers usually pass judgment on a product within 90 seconds of interacting with it. Most of that decision is based on color. That’s why we turn to color psychology for some answers. This approach looks at how we make decisions and how our behavior is affected by color. Color can impact the way consumers perceive your brand. Certain hues can affect your appetite, emotions, and buying choices. Color can even affect the taste of food or enhance the effectiveness of placebos.


For example, red represents urgency and it encourages your appetite. Blue, on the other hand, is associated with peace and tranquility. Green brings feelings of health and nature. Black evokes feelings of power and stability.


Keeping all of this in mind, you should also choose a background color that sets the text and graphics apart. This will enable your viewers to easily read your message. Also, stick with a simple color palette. Two or three central colors is plenty. Of course, if you’re creating something that consumers will have an opportunity to take their time reading, you can get more complex if you’d like.




When it comes to large scale printing, CMYK is the preferred choice. That’s because printers use CMYK and you’ll get a more accurate representation when you print your large-scale project.


Choose a Font That’s Readable


The first thing to consider when choosing a font is to make sure it’s readable. You may be smitten by a fancy looking script or decorative typeface, but keep in mind that consumers might be looking at it from a distance. It needs to be easy to read above all else. Sans-serif fonts are typically best. Serif fonts on the other hand can be especially hard to read for individuals with dyslexia. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind:


  • Be careful of wide spaces between letters. This makes it more difficult to see where one word ends and another begins.
  • One the contrary, watch fonts whose letters are too close together. This makes it difficult for people to read each letter.
  • Fonts that are too bold often look crowded into their space.
  • Fonts that are thin don’t stand out from the background very well.


Beyond the Banner: Large Format Advertising


large format printingWe defined large format printing as the process of printing materials that are too big to print on standard commercial printing presses. That practice also applies to “unorthodox” materials, like window clings, menu boards, product packaging, magnets, and many others. Let’s look at a few examples of print marketing materials that go beyond the banner.


Retail Large Format Advertising


If you have a retail location, there’s plenty of print marketing for you to do once consumers are in your store. Your point-of-purchase (POP) displays can do your selling for you if they’re created properly. They should educate, inform, and persuade consumers to make a purchase. Here are a couple strategies to try.


  • POP Signage. Place small, less expensive items on a path up to the checkout counter. Since customers have already decided to buy something, they’re more likely to include an additional product or two if it doesn’t significantly add to their total cost. Consider “travel” and sample-sized products here. This also helps to keep your customers interested if they have to wait in line. Nike’s factory outlet stores sell items like socks, wallets, cell phone cases, mini basketballs, shoe strings, and other quick add-ons with POP signage focused on the convenience of the sale.
  • Table-Top Displays. On your sales floor, provide samples, demos, and/or other “testing” experiences. A table-top display with some basic information about the product works well here. Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes let people sample their line of products with the hope of influencing them to make a purchase.


Trade Shows


A sure-fire way to help your booth stand out at a trade show is to wow the visitors with vinyl banners and table-top displays. The banners serve to attract people to your booth while the table-top displays educate and inform them about your product or service.


Branded Packaging


Branding and packaging are important parts of the marketing process. Use your product’s packaging to wow your customers with more than just a box. Rather, make it a fun, cool, entertaining, and/or educational experience. Your extra effort will not go unnoticed. Almost 45% of shoppers say that a product’s packaging reinforces that the product was worth the cost.


Choose the Best Large Format Printing Company


If you really want to make a statement and attract and impress would-be customers, only the best large format printing will do. Over 50% of consumers said they were less likely to go into a store that had low-quality signage out front. Don’t let that be the difference-maker for your business. Once consumers are inside your store, you can wow them with a variety of POP possibilities, all strategically placed to put you on a fast track to increased sales and repeat customers.


MSP provides high-quality large format printing on the best printing equipment. Plus, we can tie-in a brand management solution for your business with BlueSky ETO. This allows you to control and manage all your print needs in one convenient, cloud-based location. We’ve helped the world’s best brands improve their consistency and we can helps yours, too. Let’s look at an example.


Bahama Buck’s Strives for Excellence


Bahama Buck’s is a Texas-based shaved ice and smoothie franchise with more than 100 locations throughout the U.S. They strive for excellence in all aspects of their business—ensuring that each of their flavors becomes a favorite and that each customer’s visit is a great time, every time. They also assure that each franchise operates with the same enthusiasm as the original. In order to do that, they need a partner with the same commitment to the highest quality products and services. That’s MSP.


Bahama Buck’s combines MSP’s large format printing capabilities with BlueSky ETO’s brand management solution. This creates a highly effective, one-two marketing punch. Local franchise owners can tap into the brand management software to order all the printing materials they need for their restaurant. Meanwhile, marketing executives at Bahama Buck’s headquarters are assured their brand will remain consistent throughout all their locations. That’s because they’ve already approved and provided all the marketing materials to their authorized franchisee users. It’s as easy as logging in and accessing their account. Furthermore, the entire process was engineered to order for their business. After all, Bahama Bucks is not a cookie-cutter business and neither is yours (unless you actually sell cookie cutters).


Ask an MSP representative how your business can get started with large format printing and brand management software today. We’ll create a solution specifically for your brand so you can impress your customers, keep your brand consistent, and ultimately sell more of your product.

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