If your brand is anything like most of our clients, you’re probably looking to make a big impact with your print marketing efforts. Large format printing is one potential avenue that can create a lasting impression with consumers.
Prints that take up a larger area are eye-catching by nature, and when positioned within the audience’s line of sight, they can be impossible to ignore. From signs and posters to window clings and banners, a large format design can truly bring your brand to life.
Over the years, we’ve worked on many large format projects. In that time, we’ve seen what works and learned what doesn’t. As you create your next larger-than-life design, consider how your approach these four key elements to make sure your organization is getting the most out of your print campaign.
When working on larger-scale design, it’s natural for designers to feel compelled to fill the space with as much information as possible. Before crowding your banner or signage with small text, though, keep in mind that the audience may only see your print in passing, and they will probably not have time to read a lengthy message. If they’re standing at a distance from the signage, it will also be difficult for them to read smaller font sizes.
To ensure the message is completely legible and can be understood at a glance, limit your text to a short sentence or phrase. The text itself should be large enough to be seen easily when your consumer is standing at a typical distance, but small enough that it doesn’t crowd your other design elements. You should also avoid fonts with lots of artistic flourishes or super-thin lettering, which can be difficult to read.
As we mentioned earlier, filling your entire large format print with content can actually be counterproductive. According to print experts, one third of the printing space on a large design should be left blank. Whitespace helps draw the consumer’s eye toward your most important messages and creates a clean, organized layout. If you try to cram too many elements into one design, it can confuse your audience about where to look, and they may simply give up and move on to the next brand’s message.
In addition to leaving appropriate space throughout the design, you’ll also want to simplify the entire focus of the large format print. To make best use of your print piece, choose one graphic element to feature heavily, whether that’s a photo, logo, tagline, or sentence. You can also include other, smaller elements, but they should all serve to support the one primary message.
If your print will be used to provide some kind of instruction, such as a map or seating chart, it may be appropriate to use a more detailed design. However, it’s still important to create a clear, simple layout, so your audience can find what they need and continue on to their next destination. Avoid combining multiple instructions and themes one sign – you may end up with groups of people crowded around the print trying to decipher all the different information. Instead, use QR codes to lead customers to a landing page with additional details and clear the path to the physical sign.
If you plan to display your large format print in a busy area, you’ll unfortunately be competing for your audience’s attention with all the other activities and messages surrounding them. To catch their eye, try creating more visual interest with your design. Consider adding a bright accent color into the piece or creating stark contrast between the background and text elements. If your message seems to jump off the page, it’ll be much more effective at jumping in front of your audience, too.