In the large format digital age, print media continues to play a crucial role in the marketing, branding and signage industries. The choices available for digital print media have expanded exponentially in recent years, offering a wide array of options to cater to a myriad of applications. Printers are spoiled for choice, but selecting the right digital print media is a critical decision for businesses or individuals looking to make a statement or convey their message effectively.
In this blog post, we explore some basic factors to consider when choosing the right digital print media. By understanding your options, application and the environment, you can make an informed choice.
Define Your Purpose
The first step in selecting the right digital print media is to nail down the scope of your project. Different media options serve various purposes, so it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what you or your client is aiming to achieve and how long they want the project to last.
Some common purposes include:
- Marketing and promotion
- Signage and branding
- Information dissemination
- Decorative applications
Material and Texture
Digital print media comes in a variety of materials and textures, each with its unique characteristics.
The most common substrates include:
- Paper: Ideal for documents, brochures, flyers, and posters. Options range from glossy, satin and matt finishes.
- Canvas: Excellent for art reproductions, decorative prints and decor. Canvas prints provide a textured, artistic look.
- Self-adhesive Vinyl: Suitable for banners, signage, and indoor or outdoor applications. Vinyl is durable and weather-resistant and available in a range of quality options to cater for lower cost, short term projects all the way to high end jobs like long term signage or vehicle wrapping.
- Textile: Used for textile printing and soft signage. Fabric prints are often used in trade shows and interior décor like blinds, wall hangings, soft furnishings and more.
- PVC Banner: Used primarily for signage, promotional banners and advertising campaigns.
- Wallpaper: Increasingly popular in customized decor applications ranging from domestic applications to restaurants, coffee shops or for instore and office décor.
Print Quality and Resolution
The quality of the large format digital print media can significantly impact the overall impact of a project. High-resolution printing is essential for detailed images and crisp text. Consider the digital printer’s capabilities and the intended viewing distance when selecting the appropriate resolution.
Color accuracy is paramount, especially for branding and artistic projects. Discuss color profiles and ensure that the chosen digital print media with your supplier and make sure it reproduces the colors you need accurately. Some media may have limitations in terms of color gamut, so choose wisely. Also enquire if your supplier can assist with ICC profiles?
Durability and Longevity
Consider the intended lifespan of the application when selecting print media. Will it be a short-term marketing campaign, or a long-lasting signage project? Is the application indoors or outdoors. Environmental factors impact hugely on print media durability, ink stability and overall lifespan.
For example, monomeric self-adhesive vinyls are generally more suited to shorter term, indoor applications and more susceptible to fading, wear, or damage than polymeric vinyls.
Cost and Budget
The budget is always a crucial consideration. Different print media options come with varying price points. Factor in not only the cost of the media itself but also any additional expenses, such as printing, finishing, and installation. Don’t take short cuts with inexpensive, short lifespan materials when you know the job will need to last a long time.
For environmentally-conscious individuals and businesses, consider eco-friendly print media options. Some materials are recyclable or made from more sustainable sources, helping reduce your environmental footprint. For example the GEF self-adhesive vinyl options in place of traditional PVC’s.
Make sure that the chosen print media is compatible with your chosen large format digital printer.
Compatibility ensures that you’ll achieve the best print results without any technical issues. Again, a reputable digital print media supplier will be in a position to assist with ICC profiles and best practices.
Selecting the right digital print media is a decision that should be made thoughtfully and strategically to effectively create stunning artworks, signage, décor or advertising promotions.
By defining your purpose, considering the application, material and texture, print quality, color reproduction, durability, budget, environmental concerns, and printer compatibility, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your project’s goals and customer requirements.