Buildings are in ideal advertising space for a number of reasons. Most importantly, they’re large, flat spaces that offer plenty of room for advertising solutions. Just look at Times Square in New York, for example.
But what’s the best way to advertise on such a large space? Among your options are large format printing and building wraps. But which is better? In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of large format printing vs. building wraps to help you make a decision.
What is large format printing?
Large format printing sounds like potentially complicated industry jargon, but it’s actually the complete opposite. Simply put, large format printing is anything printed on a scale greater than that found in a commercial printer (such as A4 and A3).
That said, large format printing is typically done on a much larger scale, such as advertising for vehicles or buildings. Large format printing can be done on a number of materials, but the most popular are vinyl, coroplast, and cardboard. Of course, the material will depend on the application.
The pros and cons of large format printing
In order to decide whether large format printing vs. building wraps is best for you, it’s worth knowing the main advantages and disadvantages of each option. Here are the pros and cons of large format printing.
Large format printing is usually a very quick solution. Generally speaking, the technology used in the printing process is fairly similar to a commercial printer, meaning it can be done at great speed.
Even though some large scale printing formats use UV or latex printers, the process is still surprisingly quick. Importantly, this means you can implement large-scale advertising solutions with a very small turnaround time.
Great advertising potential
Large format printing formats are often eye-catching, visually-appealing, and great for advertising. Large format printing is used for applications such as billboards, and we all know how effective they are when it comes to advertising.
Thanks to the prolific nature of printing of all sizes, it’s a cost-effective process. Combine this with the speed at which you can produce large scale printed graphics, and you have a very useful advertising solution.
One of the most important factors when considering large format printing vs. building wraps is the efficiency of the process. Large format printing is easily the more efficient of the two, as it’s quick to print and quick to install. This means the advertising can be put up with little or no impact on your business. Easy installation is probably one of the main advantages of large format printing vs. building wraps.
All of our large format printing solutions are made using eco-friendly materials and inks. Along with the benefit to the environment during production, this also means they’re suitable for use in any number of situations, both indoors and outdoors. For example, we regularly install our advertising solutions in spaces such as schools and hospitals.
Although there are different materials available for large format printing, your options are more limited than with building wraps. After all, the material usually needs to be hung on some kind of frame, so works much better on flat surfaces.
It can be difficult to choose the right format
While having different materials offers a level of flexibility to the process, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. Combining the right ink with the right material can be difficult if you’re unsure where to start, and even if you choose the right combination, it might not be right for your needs.
What are building wraps?
You’ve probably heard of vehicle wraps, which are pieces of vinyl stretched over a vehicle. Well, building wraps are exactly the same thing but on a much larger scale.
The main difference between building wraps and large format printing is the way in which they’re applied to the surface. Building wraps aren’t made from solid materials or put on to a solid surface. Often, they’re sheets of vinyl stretched across a wire mesh. This makes them much more versatile.
The pros and cons of building wraps
When it comes to the pros and cons of large format printing vs. building wraps, the two processes are fairly complimentary. Here are the main pros and cons of building wraps so you can understand how they differ.
Commercial building wraps are made with durability in mind. Commonly made from vinyl, it’s standard practice to use UV-resistant inks so the pictures don’t fade. What’s more, most building wraps are fire-resistant and weatherproof.
While paper and card aren’t the most common materials in large scale printing, they’re definitely less resistant than building wraps.
Building wraps have much more flexible application because of the materials used. They’re great for concealing building projects and renovations, and are much easier for producing very large-scale advertising projects.
Aid energy efficiency
Although quite a minor point, building wraps add another layer of insulation to a building space. They can help to reduce airflow while in place, which can improve the energy efficiency of the building upon which they’re applied. In turn, this can help to reduce energy use.
They work on odd shapes
One of the main drawbacks of traditional large format printing applications is that they’re best on flat surfaces. The benefit of building wraps is that they be used on less conventional building shapes. What’s more, this can add much more impact to the wrap itself, making the building and advertisement compliment each other.
Easy to apply
Although you might not think building wraps are easy to apply, you’d be mistaken. Traditional large format printing formats are arguably easier, but that doesn’t mean building wraps are difficult. The application process involves lining it up and sealing it in place. Providing the person has a good eye, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Easy to scale
Another massive advantage of building wraps is that they can be scaled to any size. While this is also true for large format printing solutions, with building wraps it’s easy to create a design that covers the whole side of a building without the need for supporting infrastructure.
Large upfront cost
Due to the more complicated printing process, building wraps do incur a greater upfront cost. However, they will last longer than traditional printed media, meaning this cost is spread out over a longer period.
Which is better, large format printing vs. building wraps?
As a company that produces both traditional large format printing and building wraps, we’d say that one isn’t definitely better than the other. In fact, the answer to this question entirely depends on your intended application.
First, and most importantly, is probably the space with which you’re working. As mentioned, large scale printing is generally better on flat, standard-shaped surfaces, which building wraps can be used on less traditional shapes, such as curves and angled roofs.
If you want to cover a large, flat space quickly and efficiently, large format printing is the option for you. But if you want to apply some detail to a more intricate surface, you’ll be best to go with a building wrap.
The next factor to consider is longevity; how long do you want this to be up, and how soon do you need it done? If you want the advertisement to be in place very soon, traditional large format printing might be the better choice because it can be done much more quickly.
But if you want a design to be in place as a long-term solution, whether as advertising or to cover a building renovation, a wrap will be the better choice. The base materials are more resistant, and we use UV-resistant ink to ensure the design doesn’t fade over time. Combine this with them being weatherproof and fire-resistant, and you’ve got a great solution.
Finally is cost. Generally speaking, traditional large format printing options will be more cost-effective because they’re easier to put together. For example, if you want to advertise on a large billboard, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with paper. It’ll do the job for the time you need it to.
Sure, building wraps are a more expensive option, but this is only relevant to an extent. Building wraps last much longer than large format printing methods, so this greater cost is spread out over a longer time. Providing you have the initial money, a building wrap could be a much better solution for your needs.
The choice of large format printing vs. building wraps definitely depends on your specific needs for the project. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages that make it more useful in some situations.
If you need more help or would like to discuss arranging either option for your business, contact CR&A Custom. We are printing specialists that offer design, printing, and installation services of both large format printing and building wraps. Whatever your choice, we’re here to help.