Large format

Large format services include the design, preparation and production of any images that need to be printed larger than A0 size (841 x 1188mm), onto any material. Any size under A0 can also be produced of course, but ‘large format’ usually relates to exhibition or conference graphics, installations, banners, backdrops, props or artwork designed to cover large surfaces in reception areas, entertainment spaces, foyers or people’s homes.

We can print onto paper, vinyl, card, board, sheet-plastic, wood, metal and even glass. Everyone loves seeing beautiful images covering large spaces, and with the production capabilities available today it’s possible to produce high quality print onto almost any substrate you can think of.

But it’s not quite that simple. A major sticking point to producing large format imagery is the inherent quality of the images in question – how big will it go and still look good? There’s only so far you can stretch an image in Photoshop before it becomes pixellated; and low-resolution print output is an instant turn-off. However, there are some clever tricks to optimise images for large format output that I can assist with.

This map image was retouched and resized to fit a 2.7m high alcove in an office in the City of London. The building itself is home to a section of ancient Roman wall, making this a fitting choice. The image was printed onto film and laminated in glass, then backlit with LED light sheet from Spanlite.

Backlit map
Backlit map image

Backlit gym wall

Working with Spanlite, the LED light sheet specialists, my task was to take an image of Muhammed Ali that was only slightly bigger than A4 size at 300dpi, and produce artwork capable of covering a 4.8m x 2.8m wall. The wall in question was in a home gym, and it had to look great, even from close up. The client wanted the very best possible result.

Simply increasing the size of the image wasn’t viable, as the resulting image would be blurred and pixelated. This was obviously not acceptable to the client, who would be working out in the gym, close to the image. Furthermore the wall was to be backlit with LED lightsheet, making the wall a stunning feature in iteself. It had to work on both levels.

The solution was to create a vector halftone of the image. When viewed from more than a few feet away it looks like the original photo, and up close you get none of the pixelation and image degradation that would normally occur when resizing an image so much.

The half-tone effect also echoes the style of newsprint, recreating how the original image would have been seen in newspapers of the day. The result is a totally unique and mesmerising backlit feature wall, comprising four panels of backlit laminated image glass.

close-up comparison showing different options for large-format printing