Design Tips for Large Format Displays
Most successful businesses will have the need to print large format materials at some point. From trade show displays to building signage to event advertising, large format print can be an important way to make a big impact for your company.
Here at Harvest Print and Marketing Solutions, we are equipped to meet all of your large print design needs, with a 12 color printer capable of printing very detailed, specialized artwork.
Before that poster or sign goes to the printer, though, there are many design steps involved. The typical rules of standard formatting don’t always apply when creating large format graphics, so here are a few tips to help you create the best materials possible.
2 Design Programs
When designing large format materials you need to use a great program. The following programs have the necessary tools to successfully do this:
- Photoshop – Probably the most well-known program, Photoshop is typically used for image and photo editing. It’s raster based, and images will scale down without loss of quality, but enlarging can cause pixelation. If you’re design is more heavy on large color blocks or shapes, you may want to use Illustrator.
- Illustrator – In Illustrator you can create vector-based images, which enlarge more clearly. You can also incorporate images from Photoshop. The files are smaller than Photoshop files, making them easier to transfer and print.
2 Types of Files
There are two main types of files used in large format printing.
- Vector – As mentioned, Illustrator uses vector images (.EPS), which use a mathematical scale that is independent of resolution. This means the design can be enlarged or scaled without loss of clarity.
- Bitmap – Although vector files are preferable, they can’t always be used, which is where bitmap images come in. When transferring these types of files into your design, you’ll just want to maintain a high enough DPI (dots per inch) so that the quality doesn’t suffer when the image is enlarged.
When designing a large format sign or banner, it’s important to keep some key things in mind in order to make your message and design clear and pleasing.
Fonts – Font choice is important when creating a large format design for a variety of reasons. The style you choose conveys a message, so make sure you choose something that fits the theme of your design (i.e. rounded fonts appear friendlier). It is better to go with sans-serif fonts as opposed to serif or script fonts. You will also want to limit the number of fonts, because too many will leave your design cluttered and distracting.
Contrast – Choose colors that contrast nicely with one another. If your background is dark, choose a lighter font, and vice versa.
Visual Hierarchy – The most important information of your design should be the largest and should appear first.
Clutter Free – It can be tempting to include several images or texts, but the best advertisements are often the simplest. Make sure there is an appropriate amount of white (un-used) space to balance out your design.
It’s important to know how far away viewers will be from your design. For example, if the image will be viewed from a passing vehicle, the sizes of fonts and images will be different than that of a trade show display.
This also impacts the choices you make regarding images and texts. You’ll want to make sure images are visible and clear, and that texts aren’t too overwhelming for a passing glance.
Print Test Copies
You’ve probably heard it said that in construction you should always “measure twice and cut once.” The same type of principle is true of large format displays. It is fairly costly to print a large format design, so you want to ensure you get it right the first time.
In order to do this, print several test copies of the finished design. By doing this you can check several times to ensure that everything reads as it is intended and images appear in the proper places on the design.
Get Some Design Help
Sometimes the best thing you can do is hire the right person to help you get the design you want. At Harvest Print and Marketing you can get both a great designer and printer for your large format display.
An experienced graphic designer can ensure that your design reflects your vision and represents your company the way you want it to, while also abiding by the above guidelines. The end result will be a beautiful design that achieves your intended results.