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5 Tips for Designing Large Format Graphics

Designing graphics for large format printing, such as banners, signs, vehicle wraps and window, wall or floor graphics, takes some special considerations. Working on a larger scale affects everything from how the design must be formatted to how it will be perceived by your customers. Whether you are looking for a new way to make your business stand out or are tired of customers walking in and seeing plain bare walls, large format graphics are a fantastic way to transform almost any surface into a marketing asset. Here are 5 tips for designing large format graphics to make them as impactful and attention grabbing as you intend.
Tip #1: A focused design and message
To achieve maximum impact, avoid letting your design get too cluttered with competing visual elements and keep your copy short.  It can be helpful to step away from your screen and view your design from 5 to 10 feet of distance to check whether the components interact as you intended or whether everything is getting lost amongst too much clutter.
Tip #2: Consider the application
Where is your large format graphic going to be installed?  Are there design obstacles to consider such as horizontal frames of a window which may break up ill-placed wording? A consideration to note once your design is complete is what surface will the graphic adhere to?  When choosing a substrate and it’s adhesive, surface considerations should be a critical decision factor. Here at our commercial print centers in Minneapolis and Apple Valley, we do testing prior to specifying a substrate to make sure we match the right material and adhesive to the surface.
Tip #3: Scale down your graphic for design purposes
Trying to navigate a design file in too large a scale can be challenging.  In addition, it can make it hard to get a handle on the total impression of your design.  Because of this, we generally recommend scaling down the size of the file you are working on while in the design stage.  Just make sure your ratios are consistent.
Tip #4: Readable Fonts:
Follow this formula to calculate a font size that will be readable from the distance your graphic is intended to be viewed at. Viewing distance (in feet) x 0.034 = Height of text (in inches) Height of text (in inches) x 72 = Point size of text Note that not all fonts measure to 1" at 72pt, so make sure to measure the font you've chosen to ensure it's being placed at the desired size. Also, keep in mind that plainer fonts in contrasting colors to the background will be easiest to read.
Tip #5: Vector Format is Best
Create your large format graphics as Vector files.  Vector files are scalable and can be enlarged without becoming blurry or distorted and, as a bonus, they save as a smaller file. Note that vector files are different from Bitmap formats such as the standard format (BMP), Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG), Portable Network Graphics (PNG), and Tag Image File Format (TIFF).
Still have questions?  Ready to go BIG with large format graphics? Give us a call!  Here are Alphagrahics Minneapolis, our team of graphic design specialists and large format print technicians are experienced and knowledgeable about all aspects of large format printing. Whether you are looking for a banner, sign, vehicle wrap, wall graphic, window graphic, floor graphic or other large format printing, we offer exceptional service and, with the latest in large format print technology, quality results.   Whether you are in the Twin Cities, or out of state, we are a commercial print center partner you can trust to help you get noticed and get business!

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