Here at Hardy Signs, we design, manufacture and install all types of signage, for clients located in all areas of the UK. Whether it be large or small, for personal or for business use, we have extensive knowledge and vast experience to help you meet your requirements. In this week’s article, we look at ‘Large Format Printing’.

What is it? How often do we use it? Why choose it?

In simple terms, large format print (sometimes known as wide format print) is taking digitally generated artwork and printing it on to large-sized substrates or materials. There are a number of different specifications that would classify large format but, in general, it is considered to be anything larger than print that could be achieved on a conventional home or office printer.

We use the large format printers at Hardy Place every day, for a wide range of signs. From billboards to large advertisements or vehicle graphics and hoarding signage – large format printing is how we get it done. We can print on rigid materials such as Foamex, Dibond, Aluminium, Steel, Wood and many more. From education to industry and warehousing. We are able to produce for all.

On our large format latex printer, we can bring designs to life on paper, flexible PVC, fabric, canvas and a wide range of vinyl films. In addition to this, we can make sure the large format prints are finished in your choice of matte, gloss, dry-wipe, anti-scratch and more.

So, let’s start from the very beginning, where did these printers come from? This process is fairly new and was invented towards the end of the last century. Electrostatic technology was used for the first wide-format printers. Later on, inkjet technology came along and was developed by HP and Canon.

It is more commonly known as flatbed printing as it refers to a digital printer where the roll is fed through the printer or the table moves under a print head array.

How it works:

Large Format Printing is very similar to most kinds of digital printing and the easiest printer for full-colour items. Through the use of large nozzles, the press lays down toner. Ink is then directly applied to the products; this creates a better look than that of mounting printed pieces to substrates. It is an extremely quick process and produces high-quality images and photographs. Most large format printers have a rapid drying process and will usually use their UV lights so that the product is ready for use as soon as possible.

There are a lot of decisions to be taken throughout the process including the material the product will be printed on. After this, the size, shape and design need to be finalised so that the dimensions can be programmed into the printer to ensure precision and accuracy.

Large Format Printing and the different kinds there are:

UV-Based Inkjet Printers:

One of the main large format printers we use at Hardy Signs is a UV-Based inkjet printer. This printer is cost-effective and uses a drying mechanism that is completely different from that of solvent inkjet printers. UV rays reach the curable liquid ink which then transforms it from a liquid to a solid on the selected substrate. UV-Based Inkjet printers also offer enhanced outdoor durability without needing to use a laminate. Printers are usually set up as flatbed, which creates the opportunity of being able to print a wide variety of rigid substrates such as wood, glass, ceramics, to name a few.

Aqueous Inkjet Printers:

Aqueous inkjet printers’ ink is mainly water combined with pigments or dyes. These printers are broadly used for canvas printing and are knows to offer the highest image quality. Over the last decade, small and big printing companies have opted for pigmented inks because this option supplies a more resistant output than dye inks. Pigmented inks have now become the standard in the industry.

Eco-Solvent Inkjet Printers:

Eco-Solvent inkjet printers use a chemical solvent in a solution that carries resin of ink and the pigment. These inks are waterproof, fade-resistant and do not easily get marked/scratched or show signs of wear. This is an extremely durable way of printing, which preserves the outdoor signs even against adverse weather conditions.

What can we print for you at Hardy Signs?


Large format printing has been facilitated by high-quality printers built over the years. At Hardy Signs, we only utilise the highest quality printers, that allow us to prepare bespoke signage. The printers mentioned above are extremely useful for all kinds of projects and produce the best quality graphics that guarantees a return on investment. They are durable against weather conditions, indoor and outdoor use and with the right signage maintenance, they have a long lifeline.

About the company: Hardy Signs is a professional and digital signage company that designs, manufactures and installs bespoke signage products to a wide range of business sectors in the United Kingdom. The company has been awarded the manufacturer of the year in 2019 and 2020.

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