Common Uses for a Wide Format Printer

By: Jeff Vetter
August 15, 2022

Wide format printers, also known as large format printers, are astonishingly versatile and can create an impressive array of finished products, including everything from banners and posters to trade show materials and window clings.

Unfortunately, there are a variety of misconceptions about wide format printers. In this blog, I’ll explore everything you can do with a wide format printer and dispel a few myths about these incredible machines.

What Is a Wide Format Printer?

A wide format printer is a specialized printer that can accommodate a wider substrate, or base material, than a typical printer can handle. Wide format printers can also print on a variety of substances for use indoors and out.

Common Misconceptions About Wide Format Printers

Wide format printers, also known as large format printers, have come a long way since the first wide format printer was created in 1985 and sold for $126,000. But those earlier models made quite the impression, so, understandably, many misconceptions have persisted.

Here are the most common myths about wide format printers:

1. They’re Too Expensive

The price has come down significantly from 1985 for most models, but it depends on how specialized your printer is. Nowadays, the price for wide format printers ranges from around $10,000 to over $300,000.  

2. They’re Too Big

Most wide format printers accommodate printing materials that are 24"-64” wide. However, some can produce prints that are 16’ wide. Those printers are obviously quite large and are commonly called grand format printers, or super-wide format printers. Most small to medium-sized businesses will be able to easily accommodate a moderately sized wide format printer.

That’s good news, because many small businesses would probably be surprised to discover how many different items they could produce in-house, and how accessible today’s wide format printers can be.

What Is a Wide Format Printer Used for?

One of the first people to realize the true potential of wide format printers was none other than singer-songwriter Graham Nash. Nash is also a talented photographer, and he wanted to create and sell his high-quality prints. Wide format printing was, indeed, a great way to do that. But wide format printers can be used to create much more.

Celebrate Grand Openings in Style

Wide format printers will allow you to print on vinyl, fabric, metal, glass, wood, foam board, corrugated plastic, and more. So with just one new piece of equipment and some supplies, you’ll be able to create beautiful banners, signs, posters, and window clings to draw attention to your business.

Draw More Trade Show Visitors

Especially at larger trade shows, it can be easy for attendees to miss booths that don’t have large displays. With a wide format printer, you can print banners, tablecloths, wall graphics, and pop-up displays that will help you catch the eyes and —  with any luck — the business of potential clients.

Class Up Your Events

Take a page from red carpet events and print large backdrops that repeat your logo or an eye-catching graphic. Your brand will be featured whenever someone takes a photo in front of your backdrop. If your event is outdoors, and depending on local laws, you could string a banner across the road or create asphalt stickers to label vendor spaces.  

Brighten Up Your Retail Space

With a wide format printer, you’ll be able to create colorful wall graphics and signage and add enticing displays throughout your store. To add an artistic touch, you can even print a large image on canvas and wrap it around a wooden frame.

Print Blueprints and Maps in-house

Wide format printers are ideal for architectural and engineering firms that need to produce floor plans, CAD designs, and maps — and do it more quickly.

Remodel Your Office Space

Create a large wall decal to revamp the look of your office space, and change it whenever you like. Or go even bigger with an impressive custom mural or wallpaper.

HP Wide Format Printers

While there are many wide format printers on the market, our print experts have already surveyed all of the top manufacturers’ products and are proud to recommend HP wide format printers for their capabilities and best-in-class print security.

If you’re specifically searching for a wide format latex printer that can produce more durable products, HP dominates this market with their Latex inks, which are odorless and non-flammable, and contain around 70% water. Because they’re better for people and the environment, you’ll be able to use your creations in more settings, including restaurants, small spaces, and healthcare settings.

How To Find the Best Wide Format Printer

Shopping for printers can be tough. But if the previous paragraph didn’t convince you that an HP printer is the way to go, there’s more. Thanks to HP’s Cash In & Trade Up program, you can get a great deal when you upgrade your old printer for a new select model.  

To narrow your choices further, you’re always welcome to talk to one of our print experts. They’ll get to know your current printing needs and your future goals so they can help you make the best long-term investment. And as HP is a strategic partner, we’ll make sure you get the very best deal.

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Topics: Copiers & Printers