4 things a large format first-timer should know

Large format printing

Hey, large format first-timers. We understand that printing on such a large scale can be scary—it’s huge and uses a lot of crazy sounding substrates that you’ve never printed with before. The thought of you being scared makes us sad, so we knocked up this useful guide to help you through your first large format print job. No matter what you’re printing—posters, banners, display boards—you can send us your artwork, safe in the thought that you totally nailed it.

How do I pick the perfect product?

If you’re umming and ahhing about which large format product to order, we’ve got you covered. It’s easy to get lost in all the choice, so it’s best to explore and weigh up all your options to make sure that you’re choosing the right product for the job before you get started.

Not just all about product selection; we’d advise measuring the space you want to display the print in to make sure you get something large enough—you’ll probably need something bigger than you think! There is a size guide on each of the large format product pages, so you can get an idea of how they’ll look in situ.

Any design tips I should know before I check my file for print?
If it’s your first time designing for large format print as well as printing it, then there are a few pointers we can give you to help things stay eye-catching. Try to keep text to a minimum and make sure it’s large enough; you have to be able to read it at a glance and from a distance. We’d also recommend using a spell checker to make sure there are no little whoopsies that are going to ruin your work.

We’d recommend making sure that any images you use inside your design are extra-large (or even bigger than that, if necessary) and are saved at a high resolution (300dpi should do it) so you know that when they’re printed, they’ll look just as good as they did on the screen. It’s also a good idea to make sure your fonts are embedded.

Okay, take me through the final checklist

1)    Save your artwork as a PDF
Here at, we love a good PDF file—they play nice with our systems and are the best ones for print. If you’re not sure how to save your work as a PDF, we’d recommend checking out the useful tutorial here.

2)    Make sure your artwork is the correct size
Create the design at the same size you want to print it at so you don’t get any nasty pixellation. If in doubt, use one of our free downloadable templates and design over it.

3)    Save your work in a CMYK colour space
Printed colours will be truer and more accurate if you remember to save your artwork in a CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) colour space rather than RGB (red, green and black).

4)     Add 5mm of bleed, a 3mm safe area and crop marks
You’ll need to make sure that you remembered to pop in 5mm of bleed, a 3mm safe area and crop marks to your print, so nothing important gets chopped off and to avoid nasty white marks around the edges of the finished job.

And you’re all done! Time to hit the checkout and wait for the postman. If you need a hand getting your large format print installed when it arrives, you can check out our hanging guide here.


29 Jan 2015 15:30
Also make sure the colours you're using are suitable - white text on yellow or red on black are a bad idea!
Charlotte Barrett
02 Feb 2015 18:19
Great tips as i am thinking of creating some large formats for when i go to wedding fairs!
Su Mwamba
02 Feb 2015 21:36
Am just weighing up the pros & cons of getting some wrapping paper printed up (perhaps not as large as some of the items you're talking about, but a lot larger than my usual items), so thanks for the timely hints...
09 Feb 2015 22:32
Great ideas I will have to look at larger formats when I design packaging.
Alex Wilkie
23 Feb 2015 10:57
Will try and remember to save as PDF
Stuart Glegg
20 Mar 2015 09:05
Really useful thanks although I think 300dpi is not necessary an unmanageable up at A0 for example. Would be good to know what resolution is acceptable.
melanie Green
09 Jun 2015 11:27
Great tips... I'm just costing up banner too so thanks for bringing my attention to this, I didn't even know you did them!
Heather Lewinton
10 Jul 2015 12:53
Some great advise. It's always nerve wracking sending a large format off to print and I can't help but have my fingers and toes crossed as I unwrap the parcels when they arrive.
25 Jan 2016 11:21
this is great, especially as i have a couple of shows coming up and need a new banner.

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