What do you do when your standard in-office printer simply can’t cut it? Sure, it may be able to handle all your regular workplace needs, but what about when you need to print signage, advertising documents, or anything bigger than your standard paper sizes?
If your response is to turn to a professional printing service, you already know how costly that can be, from the actual price of printing to the time it takes to go back and forth or receive your prints in the mail.
Enter the large format printer. This powerhouse device can handle many facets of your business printing needs, while helping you save time and money previously spent on dealing with outside services.
So, how do the perks of this printer apply to you, specifically? In our guide, learn what makes a printer "large format" and discover how the best large format printer can help you cut costs and maintain more control over your day.
What is a large format printer?
Large format printers can print on paper sizes that are larger than typical 8 x 11 or 11 x 17 printer sheets. If you want to produce an oversized advertising banner, stage backdrop, map, or poster, you can use a large format printer to print the entire project on one sheet, including borderless prints, instead of having to print on several smaller sheets.
Large format printers, which are sometimes called “wide format printers,” can print on paper that is up to 100 inches wide, and the paper itself is actually dispensed from a roll, similar to newspaper print. This gives you a much larger size medium to print on.
These printers are essential in industries including advertising, trade shows, hospitality, construction, education, and GIS. However, the benefits extend to any business that needs expanded in-house printing options.
9 benefits of large format printers
Now that you know what this piece of tech is, you may be wondering, “What are large format printers used for?” Here are some key ways that industries are taking advantage of this unique printing option.
1. Maintain your branding
You know your brand mission best. With large format printing, you can ensure logo accuracy and color consistency, two important details that make a significant impression on your customers and help build brand recognition. It’s not just for big projects, either. Even your standard letter size tasks can carry the same precision color printing detail using a large format printer.
2. Ensure quality
When your customers see high-quality printed assets, they’ll know you care about every detail. It will give them confidence in your products, as a result. Set the stage with everything you print, including store signage, posters, and shelf displays, to make sure each pixel is up to your standards.
3. Create accessible experiences
Improve how you visually communicate with all customers. From marketing messages to visuals that overcome language barriers, you can enhance your signage with photos and QR codes that help shoppers navigate their purchasing decisions.
4. Drive additional sales
Could well-crafted signage increase how much a customer spends in your shop? Considering that more than 82% of buying decisions are made in-store, many retailers prioritize engaging with customers through signage. Other ways to drive purchasing include directing traffic flow and attention with floor graphics and promotional signs that help customers shop safely while becoming aware of special promotions.
5. Reduce turnaround times
Reduce expensive errors while keeping projects on track. When you don’t have to outsource the printing, your estimated completion dates become a reality. The construction industry, for instance, has seen a dramatic shift in how they can communicate with their teams through on-premise printing and scanning. From ground breaking to design management to ribbon cutting, delivering the final product on time is no small task – and a large format printer can help get you there.
6. Track progress
When printing on-site, you'll have access to every iteration and change in your project. As more altered documents come through, you can feel confident in your ability to collaborate and track any changes accurately. You can then scan and send progress reports to your entire team, even when you're in different workspaces.
7. Enhance communications
Projects big and small benefit from strong team collaboration. Large format printers provide nimble solutions that keep key players informed and help you avoid unnecessary back-and-forth. Regardless of the job size or type, businesses can enjoy more streamlined communications when printing on-site.
8. Maintain security
When things change, wide format inkjet printer tools help you communicate in real-time with on-premise printing and scanning. In addition to improved turnaround times and reduced costs, this helps you ensure your documents remain confidential and secure, even as they're shared among your team. With better-controlled printer access, you have more control over who has access to your plans and data. Plus, storing your files on-site keeps them safe from offsite data theft threats.
9. Increase volume
HP recognizes that niche industries like GIS services require robust printing solutions that offer the same image quality, cost savings, processing speeds, security, and IT compatibility as more mainstream markets. To better support these specialized fields, HP has expanded its portfolio to offer a broad range of services that deliver on its promise of excellence. These include GIS applications printed on machines that align with desired print volumes. Faster print speeds ensure a more streamlined workflow without reducing the quality of black and white or color jobs.
Top large format printers
Now that you know about the perks of large format printing, what devices actually provide them? Each HP model on our list has a range of impressive features and is well respected in the industry.
You can create 24-inch wide maps, posters, and more without switching the media source. This HP wide format printer works as both an A1 and A3 size printer, with plotting as fast as 35 seconds.
2. HP DesignJet Studio printer series
If you’re looking for a more robust printing option, the HP DesignJet Studio series gives you several options in size and materials, with printers available with both wood and steel accents.
Choose between 24-inch or 36-inch width formats to get more prints from a single roll, and enjoy print speeds of 25 to 26 seconds per page for a total of more than 80 pages per hour.
For particularly long jobs, you can feed pages through the automatic sheet feeder or switch to the roll feeder. The automatic horizontal cutter ensures precision sizing and keeps paper waste to a minimum.
This printer series offers exceptional clarity and color while making it easy for any user to plan and plot projects. Plus, you can set your printer up right out of the box using your smartphone. The HP software services will guide you through the process.
3. HP DesignJet T-830 printer
Update your partners and stakeholders on your engineering, construction, or mapping progress with the HP DesignJet T-830 in either 24-inch or 36-inch wide formats. Print, copy, scan, and share with accurate line quality and pristine text. You can create the documents quickly, too, as fast as 26 seconds per page. And you can do it from any device via the HP Mobile Printing app, including smartphones and tablets.
You can also use the wide-format printer-scanner to capture handwritten notes from the printer, then easily send them to email or the cloud. You don’t even need an additional computer or device, just your wireless networking options.
Ranked as the most compact large-format MFP, the HP DesignJet T-830 can also print small jobs through the half-size A4 and A3 printer input tray. If you need to keep large teams apprised of all the fast-moving pieces of a job, this printer offers incredible flexibility.
4. HP DesignJet Z9+ printer
If you work in retail, event planning, or advertising and you need full-color, brilliant photos in up to 44-inch widths, the HP DesignJet Z9+ photo printer is an attractive option. You can produce print photos up to 2.5 times faster than other printer options and do so without print degradation. Plus, the automatic roll switching ensures you don't have to stop mid-project when trying to meet tight deadlines.
The printers use an embedded spectrophotometer and require no light inks, thanks to the high-def HP printheads that have 2400 nozzles per inch and dual drop technology. For even better outcomes, consider upgrading to the HP Gloss Enhancer to add pizzazz to print materials.
While experienced design pros will find the features more than meet their needs, even those with little or no printing experience will benefit from this device’s user-friendly tools. The HP Applications center offers intuitive design features and templates to help you get the most from each size and format.
And for the pros, you’ll love how you can validate your existing raster image processors (RIP) through the HP RIP certification program for continuity of your established workflows.
From banners to tabloid paper sizes, you’ll find the options you need without the need to create ideas from scratch when you choose the HP DesignJet Z9+.
From construction to retail merchandising to education printing projects, there are many reasons why large format printer solutions are a go-to choice for so many diverse sectors. From the client-facing to the data-driven, these print options offer unbeatable quality and versatility, every time. More industries than ever can thrive through the addition of large format printers to their workflow, and how you use yours is up to you and your imagination.
Reach out to your rep for a needs analysis and more information on HP large format printers. They can help you sort through all of the available options to find the printer that fits into your workflow without interfering with any of your existing systems.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.
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