How to Choose the Right Wide-Format Graphics Solution for Your Application

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What Are Wide-Format Graphics?

petitti-gardens-wide-format-wall-graphicYou may have heard of wide-format graphics but maybe you don’t fully understand what they are. You’re not alone. The term “wide-format graphics” covers a variety of graphic types that have a few things in common — they're too big to be created using printers available to the average consumer and they utilize a wide-format printing press with a roll of material between 18 and 100 inches.

Custom window graphics on storefrontThere are many wide-format graphics that you likely see on a daily basis. Window and wall graphics, vinyl and pole banners and vehicle wraps, to name a few. In addition, many of the wide-format graphics that we produce for customers at Visual Marking Systems include maps and wayfinding signage, sidewalk graphics and building and yard signs.

Advantages of Wide-Format Graphics

Wide-format graphic pole banner exteriorWide-format graphics, also known as wide-format printing or large-format printing, have many advantages when compared to traditional advertising methods. Based on their definition alone, they stand out in a grand way that is nearly impossible to miss. Wide-format graphics are also:

  • High impact - Wide-format printing helps to increase sales, drive brand awareness and enhance the overall visibility of your products and services while also spotlighting the items you want to promote to your customers.
  • Low cost - Digital printing is extremely cost-effective and allows you to take advantage of real estate you already own in your office, manufacturing facility or retail space.
  • Versatile - You can get creative with wide-format graphics. Conventional products we often create are window graphics and banners, but many businesses are looking for even more unique ways to promote their products and services. VMS has worked with customers on building wraps, backlit displays, silicone edge graphics and more. If you have an idea for a custom graphic solution, we’d love to hear about it.

Choosing the Right Wide-Format Solution for Your Application

There are many possibilities when it comes to wide-format graphics, but there's no reason to feel overwhelmed by the number of choices you have. At VMS, we have a proven process for creating wide-format graphics and will walk you through how to choose the right solution for your application. Our process is simple:

  • Design - We have a conversation to learn what you’re looking for and then work together to create a custom design that will achieve your goals.
  • Print - We print your graphics to your exact specifications, with multiple quality checks along the way.
  • Transform - You get to see your wide-format graphics in action. Your business’s visual branding is transformed.


Custom wall graphic at police stationWhen considering wide-format graphics, you’ll first need to think about where the product will be displayed and what type of environment and temperatures it will need to endure. Is it a window graphic on your storefront that will be exposed to the elements or a wall graphic that will reside in your office lobby and be temperature controlled?


The application often determines which material is best for your wide-format graphics. For example, if you’re designing a banner for outdoor use, you may need wind slits to avoid flapping, or we may suggest vinyl mesh instead of vinyl. We also commonly use a coating called overlaminate to help protect wide-format graphics. Here are two situations where we would use overlaminate:

  • If your printed graphics will be subject to cleaning products, extreme temperatures or UV light, they may require a more durable overlaminate versus if they were being used on a trade show display.
  • Floor graphics can be applied on smooth, flat surfaces to rough, textured surfaces on ceramic tile floors, carpet or concrete. We suggest using an overlaminate that complies with UL® slip-resistance requirements for these applications.

If you’re interested in window graphics, you’ll want to consider how much light you want to let in. If you’d like a clear view of the outside, cut lettering or a window decal would likely work. If you’d like 100% coverage but light to still shine through, frost coverage may be the best choice. 

As you can see, the best materials to use for wide-format graphics will depend on the application and your personal preferences. When you work with VMS, we’ll guide you through the entire wide-format graphics process to determine the best material for your project.


The size of your wide-format graphic and the distance between it and your audience are essential considerations. If you need to communicate with your audience up close, a small decal may be a good option. If you want to grab the attention of your audience from a distance, a large vinyl banner is the better choice.


Media 1-5CB7E4E7-FD8B-447E-B366-2D9342391DA0How long do you plan to use your wide-format graphic for? Is it a wall graphic that’s going to be in your manufacturing facility for years to come? Or is it a yard sign that you’ll use once a year? The longevity of your graphic will help determine the right solution for your application and factor into its cost.

When choosing the right wide-format graphics solution for your application, it’s best to take a step back and think about your end goal. What are you trying to accomplish? Is it brand awareness, education or increased sales? The options for wide-format graphics are virtually endless. When you pair your goals and vision with the VMS team’s expertise, you’ll end up with a wide-format graphics solution that will create a lasting impression on your customers and employees.

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Topic(s): Vehicle Wraps, Custom Printing Solutions, Wide-Format Graphics

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