#PrintingProcesses: Large Format Digital Printing & OOH

It is time for our latest #PrintingProcesses article, where we share fundamental insights regarding printing technologies and methods. In this episode of our series, we will continue from our last article, in which we had already teased what’s to come: large format digital printing and out of home media.

Ever walked the streets of any city and seen city light boards, city light posters or advertising pillars? These are exactly some of the objects that are used for large format digital printing. You have come to the right place if you want to get an overview about different utilizations of this type of printing and want to carry on reading after our last article about additional printing processes. 

Large Format Digital Printing

Train stations, airports, or stadiums, you can find large format digital printing anywhere and it stands out. That is one of the reasons it is so effective. The target groups for this kind of advertising are not only reached for sure due to striking placements of the ads and their size, but their attention is also grabbed and sustained for a longer period of time. Almost all types of surfaces can be used to deliver an advertising message for different brands or products. This can include cars, busses, trains, exhibition stands or even floors or the ground. That is why this type of printing is not replaceable in our world anymore. Especially if you incorporate light effects that shine during the night.

These prints need to be processed in different ways to find their place on the surfaces they are wanted on. Cutting, welding, sewing, gluing, concealing, or assembling are regular processes applied to large format printing. The durability of these prints can be up to five years depending on the material printed on and the ink used.

Large Format Printing Technologies

Large Format Printing (LFP) uses inkjet printers that have a printing width between 130cm and 500cm. Essentially three different technologies can be made use of during the printing process. In continuous inkjet printing the ink is circulated in the printhead and when required diverted onto the printing surface electrostatically. Meanwhile, in drop on demand printing the ink is statically placed in the printhead and shot out when needed. During the dye-sublimation print  a mirrored print motif is printed on a transfer material, that is then ironed on the surface with heat. To then use these prints effectively outside and make them durable, they are for example painted on or put into protective films depending on where they are displayed. These protections often are UV resistant to prevent early fading of the colors from the sun.

Out Of Home Media

As mentioned before there are various types of surfaces these large format prints are shown on. Whether it is on buildings or around them, flags or exhibition stands or city light printing, we got you covered and will tell you all about them, so you know how these prints are created when you see them outside. 

Ads In and Around Buildings

Shop window decoration can be printed on different materials in up to 1440 dpi. Imagine the fruit or vegetable images you see when going shopping in your local supermarket. Such banners can be found indoors and outdoors. Facade advertisements, also called blow-ups, can for example be seen on buildings, building structures or parking garages. They must be weather resistant for at least three years, especially against wind if they are hanging, and must be transparent if their job requires them to be. They can be staged with light and are often printed in the format 3 x 5 m (40/10-sheets), to then be put together.


Flags are offered in several formats, including landscape format hoisting flags, portrait format flags, the vertical flag for hoisting from a horizontal beam, the one hoisting from a pole, and lastly the one from a crossbar or banner. Flags are usually attached to a suitable flagpole. 110g of polyester fabric is the most common material for them, due to the fact that polyester has distinguished itself as a stable and printable fabric. When used indoors, the flag is placed on a crossbar with buttons on the side, so it cannot turn over, making the motif always visible. Flags typically have set aspect ratios. 2 : 3 to 3 : 5 for the landscape format, while the portrait format has 1 : 2,5 to 1 : 3.

Exhibition Stands

You can find many forms of transportable exhibition stands. Every application of large format digital printing has in common that they are unproblematic to transport. The prints can be set up safely and fast by experienced employees. The attachment of big prints requires fixed carriers and the corresponding safety measures regarding stability and load capacity with consideration to wind and snow. There is a differentiation between indoor and outdoor requirements and with or without lighting. All the print results must be assembled after the print. Common processes involve piping, hemstitching or the usage of velcro for an attachment to a support frame.

City Light Printing

City light posters are mostly found in places such as train stations, parking garages, pedestrian zones or where people generally have to wait. Especially at night they are an absolute eye catcher. They get a lot of attention, since people in waiting situations are very susceptible to messages with lighting effects. The motif is printed on transparent material and they ordinarily have a hanging time of one week. 

City light boards, also called mega lights, are typically in big cities. They are placed on a 2,5 to 3 meter high stand across the roadway, since pedestrians and vans have to be able to pass without problems. They are placed at highly frequented nodes around the city, often in front of traffic lights. Thanks to the backlighting of the transparent banner material the ad messages are always presented in better quality at night. 

City light pillars are a turning variant of the static ad pillar. Posters are to be printed on weather resistant material and colors with high lightfastness are to be used, to ensure the quality of the color display remains for the whole booking duration. Sheets are created via digital printing and then are situated on the advertising medium with help of the wet bonding process. This appealing format combined with the backlighting and rotation give the city light pillar a very special character. It generates high attention and has a good advertising impact and range.

We hope you got a good overview about the different utilizations of large format digital printing. Keep an eye out for them. To learn more about different printing processes, check out our series #PrintingProcesses.

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