Large format printing requires more than just an artistic eye. It requires experience and high-quality equipment to ensure that the proofs you saw on the small computer screen or sample prints meet or exceed your expectations when transformed into their large format versions.
8 Things to Look For In a Large Format Printing Company
When you’re in the market for a design and print company, there are eight key things to establish before signing any contracts or trusting them with your brand, marketing, or promotional signs.
1. An established, successful history in your area
Look for a printer with experience. The longer and more established their business history, the better indication their customer service, artistry, and finished printed products is up to your standards. Professional printing is a competitive business, so it’s hard to remain in the industry for more than a few years if you aren’t excellent at what you do. Their well-established business is always a good sign. It also means they should have plenty of references for you to speak to (more on that below).
2. Are they local?
Choosing a printer in your area is also a wise choice because they are familiar with the marketing and advertising trends in your area. They know what works and what doesn’t – and why – as a result of their experience with other clients. This can help to redirect or enhance your current advertising goals. Plus, supporting local businesses is always a boost to any economy – as you know, being a business owner yourself. The reality is that your signage is also a representation of what they can do, so a printer is committed as firmly as you are to producing engaging signage that causes other business owners to ask you, “who is your printer?”
3. Can they deliver on time?
What’s the scope of your project and your deadline? This may seal the deal. If the company can’t deliver the products when you need them, you’ll need to find someone else. Your deadlines should be firm, and they should meet or exceed them every time. There’s no point in spending your valuable time with the design team or the printers if they can’t finish the job on time.
4. You admire their portfolio
In some cases, you’ll have all the designs and templates in hand, desiring only to convert them to large format prints. In other cases, you may want the insight or expertise of a design team to start from scratch, revamp your existing designs, or to re-work something that looks great as a small print but needs some re-formatting or a different layout to look good in a large format version.
Either way, the printer’s portfolio is the best way to see if their products meet your expectations. Of course, you’re looking for quality, vibrancy, and appropriate applications. If you suspect you’ll need design help from time to time, also ask to see their in-house design portfolio to see if their artists’ products resonate with you. While successful design teams strive to honor your design goals, it’s also true that we each have our own flavor or style, so one printer may be more in alignment than another in terms of what you’re looking for.
5. They’re happy to provide relevant references
DO take the time to check the printer’s references. Ideally, you want to speak with current or very recent customers, who have the same size or type of business as you do, and who worked with the printer on projects of similar scope.
6. They’ll provide professional assistance throughout the project
This is especially important for newer business owners who are learning what works and what doesn’t for their business. Unless you’re a born artist and graphic designer, it will take a while for you to learn the ropes about the ins and out of banner and sign size and proportions. Your large format printing team should be willing to accompany you through the entire process, multiple times – or for the duration of your long-term business partnership, so you never feel left out or left behind.
7. You get to see relevant samples
Large format printing is more challenging than flyer or brochure printing, for obvious reasons. That 8 x 10 flyer can be sample printed pretty quickly to show you what it will look like in “real life.” Most small business owners, however, can’t afford to have a sample print billboard created and then decide to go back to the drawing board. Instead, you need to know your printer can provide relevant samples of what your final product will look like, so you know what to expect when they unveil the final product.
8. Stock, inks, and techniques galore
Finally, your printer should either stock or be able to quickly order a wide range of paper/print stock options and inks of all colors. Your brand, its logos, and the color spectrum should be represented 100% accurately without a challenge. They should also be able to offer creative and trending techniques, ranging from the smaller (die cutting, embossing, foil stamping) to the larger (window, architectural, and mural-style signage), so they become your one-stop-shop.
SpeedPro East Bay has served Bay Area business owners as a high-quality, competitively-priced, large format printing company for years. Contact us to learn more about our commitment to perfection, and to design stunning, large format prints.