How to Prepare Images for Large Format Printing

How to Prepare Images for Large Format Printing

Large format printing gives you the chance to spotlight your business to the public. The images shared with your target audience deliver what you want them to know about your products and services and they also serve as an introduction to people who are not familiar with your brand. While you might have a good idea about the type of images you want to use, you may not know the best file type for large format printing to use for your graphics. You want to make sure your visual messaging looks its best when it is hot off the (large format) press. In this article, we will show you how to prepare images for large format printing and how to make sure you find the right provider for your large format printing needs. 

Consider These Questions and Follow these Steps

When it comes to printing large format graphics and images, there are some questions you should ask yourself and some factors to keep in mind when submitting your photos to a print solutions provider. Considering all of your options and having a clear goal for your images will set your business up for success. 

  • What is the Right Size And Resolution?

Pixels per inch, which is often referred to as PPI, is the standard measurement for image resolution. The PPI of an image refers to the density of pixels per square inch of space they occupy. To put it simply, the higher the PPI, the higher the resolution of the image which also means the image will look sharper as a large format graphic.

First, you need to make sure the images match the specifications provided to you by the print provider. The printing company should give you their preferred specifications but you can certainly ask your print solutions partner about their PPI preferences. If you don’t have time to ask, just remember that most commercially printed materials have roughly 300 PPI. This PPI setting has become the standard solution for the minimum number of pixels per inch needed to produce a large-scale, high-resolution image.

On the other hand, many smaller photos are 72 PPI and this includes many of the images you view on the Internet. This setting is the reason why an image might be pixelated or blurry when you try to make it larger on your computer screen.

Higher resolution settings allow photos to become larger with less pixelation since, the more pixels per inch, the less each pixel will be distorted when the full image is enlarged.

  • How Do I Account For The Image’s Viewing Distance?

Your large format graphics will not benefit your business if they are not easily viewed. The viewing distance of the audience to the graphics is an important consideration since  larger viewing distances require larger images. Plus, enlarged images experience a decrease in resolution so the viewing distance is an important factor in the success of your images.

Depending on the venue where the graphics are located, the audience will likely view the images from different distances. For example, just as you view a phone screen closer than a TV screen, there will also be variations in the proximity of the audience to an image they see on a menu vs. a billboard.

At the same time, a longer viewing distance means the effective resolution of an image is lower. As an example, a 300 PPI photo in a magazine is only 14 PPI when it is stretched across a 15-foot banner. In other words, a photo can appear to be pixelated when it is viewed at a close angle but it can have a normal look when it is viewed from across a room. Enlarging the photo means the number of pixels per inch will decrease.

Even though 300 PPI is the general industry standard, ask your print partner if you can achieve your goals using a lower resolution.

  • Which File Format Should I Use?

When determining the best file type for large format printing, finding the right one for your print project can become overly complicated. Here is a quick review of some of the most popular formats available:

JPEG – JPEG files are a commonly used option and this file format uses a process called lossy compression to shrink the file size of an image. The more edits and resaving you perform on a JPEG, the image quality becomes lower since each edit increases the chance of compression artifacts being introduced. As long as the size and resolution of the photo remains high, JPEG is a good format to use for most of your photo needs.

TIFF – TIFF, or tagged image file format, is an ideal option if image quality is the main concern as opposed to file size. This file format is used by many professional photographers since it uses lossless compression. While the file size remains higher than a JPEG, your TIFF files can be edited and resaved as many times as necessary without experiencing any degrading of the image quality or introducing compression artifacts.

PNGs and GIFs – PNG, or portable network graphic, and GIF, graphics interchange format, need to be avoided if possible as these file formats are designed for digital use instead of the print aspect of projects. 

Now that you know how to prepare images for large format printing, you need to find the right print solutions company for your projects. 

Where Can I Find A Provider To Print My Large-Format Graphics?

Our expert team of large format printers brings your ideas to life. Whether you need graphics for posters, murals, billboards, vehicle wraps or more, we create images that consider the location, viewing distance and venue in order to ensure the images are easily visible no matter where the audience is located. Large format graphics make an impact on the public which means you need a print provider that has your long-term success in mind. Your graphics are an extension of your business so you want to make a positive lasting impression on consumers. 
When you are ready to design and print your large format graphics, call NextPage to start your project.

Contact Us Now for More Information

Phone: (816) 459-8404