As office printing needs evolve, so do the devices tasked with satisfying those needs. For instance, more organizations are seeing the value of owning wide format printers. Once limited to advertising agencies and design firms, these versatile printers are fast becoming the go-to devices for print jobs where size matters. Discover for yourself how your organization can benefit from the special features that wide format printers offer.  

Wide Format 101

So, what exactly does “wide format” mean? The term is commonly used for printed materials larger than the typical 8 x 11-inch or 11 x 17-inch format. While these are well beyond what multifunction printers are capable of, wide format printers easily rise to the challenge.  

A wide format printer is a different beast from the usual multifunction printers found in a typical office:  

  • Wide format printers come in widths ranging from 24 inches to more than100 inches, making it easy to choose one to meet nearly any large-format printing need.  
  • Instead of using sheets of ordinary paper, wide format printers use large rolls that allow for continuous feeding. This makes printing banners, maps, and other types of large media easier. Once finished, the printer uses automatic or manual cutters to detach the finished product from the roll.  
  • Most wide format printers rely on inkjet technology for printing due to its higher quality when dealing with larger media.  
  • In addition to printing on paper, wide format printers can also print on vinyl and textiles, providing an unparalleled choice of printed media. 

Wide format printers are closely related to wide format plotters, although both have significant differences. 

Designed with creating high-precision maps, diagrams, and blueprints in mind, wide format plotters rely on actual pens instead of inkjet technology. While newer models leverage laser technology, most firms that once used wide format plotters have moved to wide format printers. 

The Possibilities Are Endless: What You Can Create with a Wide Format Printer 

Given their size and features, wide format printers are surprisingly versatile devices. Not only can these machines produce large format materials on a variety of different mediums, but they also deliver breathtakingly high-quality images that are superior to most standard multifunction printers. 

Here are some of the most common items you can create using a wide format printer: 

Trade Show Displays 

Wide format printers are a staple of businesses that specialize in producing trade show materials. Wall graphics, pop-up displays, and tablecloths are just a few examples of trade show graphics created using wide format printers. 

Banners and Backdrops 

If you need to create a large backdrop or banner, a wide format printer is the ideal device for the job. For example, backgrounds for photoshoots and long banners for announcing special events. 

Maps and Blueprints

Architectural firms, construction companies, and general contractors rely heavily on wide format printers to create blueprints, layouts, and similar materials. Wide format printers are also ideal for creating Geographical Information System (GIS) maps for presentations and visual representations. 

Retail Graphics 

Retail businesses rely on wide format printing to create store graphics and other materials that help draw in customers and generate sales. 

Is A Wide Format Printer Right for Your Business? 

Although wide format printers offer a wealth of advantages for many organizations, they’re not an ideal solution in every case. If you’re considering one, here are a few questions to bear in mind to help you make an informed decision. 

What does your printing workflow look like? 

If your business is outsourcing wide format printing jobs, then a wide format printer represents an opportunity to bring that workflow back in-house. Keep in mind that these printers are only worthwhile if your organization regularly prints documents and other much wider materials than standard paper sizes.

Do you have enough room? 

True to its name, a wide format printer requires plenty of room, not just for the device but also for your employees to work comfortably around it.

Are you ready for upkeep, repairs, and training? 

Wide format printers require different levels of maintenance and upkeep compared to multifunction printers. Staff tasked with operating these devices will also need training to help maintain a safe environment and efficient usage. Partnering with a managed print services provider can help mitigate these issues while helping your employees become more familiar with the equipment and its unique functions. 

Is the upfront cost worth it? 

Wide format printers often come with a hefty price tag. It’s up to your organization to decide whether these costs are worth the results. 

Have you concluded that wide format printing is right for your Houston business? Contact On Demand today to discover more about this remarkable technology.