Large format Print for Exhibitions – a guide

The aim of this blog is to discuss the options and provide information about creating large format print for exhibitions.

Putting on an exhibition can be daunting. There are lots of things to consider; the look and feel of the exhibition, hanging mechanisms, scale and durability of the pieces to name but a few.  

You may be reproducing original fine art or printing photography for exhibitions. We discuss various printing options and media including; paper, adhesive vinyl and backlit quality film for Lightbox displays. 


What are the different types of large format print?

Giclee Printing is a superior large format print method used for large scale reproduction of fine art or photography. Giclee, a French term translates as ‘spray’ referring to how a giclee print is produced. Inkjet printers use small spraying devices of 12 colours or more that mix the colours directly on the media to create truer hues and shades with precision, giving a high-quality reproduction print of original art and photography.


What is the difference between Giclee and standard Printing?

Giclees quality uses pigment-based inks rather than the dye-based inks found in lower-cost Inkjets. Pigment inks are of a higher quality and have a longer lifespan, lasting anywhere from 100 to 200 years without significant fading.


black and white photography displayed at bass culture 70/50 at University of Westminster

Giclee prints mounted to Dibond, an aluminium composite board at Bass Culture 70/50 at the University of Westminster. Image Standard8

What media can Giclee printing be applied to?

Giclee printing can be produced onto a number of medias including; paper, adhesive vinyl and backlit quality film for Lightbox displays.

Back lit photography displayed in self standing display units, photographed at night.

Backlit printed film mounted to acrylic lightbox structures at ‘I Welcome’ exhibition for Amnesty International. Image Standard8


DIRECT TO SUBSTRATE PRINTING is another form of large format print. This specialised process uses a large flatbed printer to apply image, text and colour directly to a substrate. In printing terms a substrate surface is the base material that ink is printed onto such as wood, acrylic, glass, paper, canvas or other textile products. 

What is UV Printing?

UV printing is a form of print that uses ultra-violet light to dry and cure ink as it is printed. As the printer distributes ink onto the surface of the substrate, specially designed UV lights follow close behind, drying the ink instantly.

What substrate surface can UV Printing be applied to?

Project possibilities are vast when using a large format UV substrate flatbed printer including exterior and interior displays, fine art and photographic reproduction, architectural and directional signage, event signage, hoardings and point-of-purchase signage and banners.

Besides large scale formats a flatbed printer is also designed to print onto pre-manufactured panels and products in great detail otherwise not achievable in any other printer. With a vacuum flatbed incorporated it can print onto a range of media from wood, metal, glass, acrylic, paper and fabric.

Some direct to substrate UV printers have the additional benefit of printing white ink to the standard CMYK inks on a standard digital printer, making white text, imagery and 2nd surface layers for backlit displays achievable.


examples of direct to substrate print onto glass and perspexExamples of white direct to substrate printing. Image: Inkmill Vinyl

What quality can be achieved?

A high quality with precision, detail, colour and tonal match can be achieved in large scale format when printing from high quality scan of 300 dpi resolution or higher of original fine art or photography.

fine art print reproduction of painting by Bobby Baker. Illustrations of fruit printed to white vinylImages: 1. Giclee print, Bobby Baker 2.  Printed vinyl, GungHo Designs

What size can I print up to?

Most large format printers can print up to 1.6 metres wide by 100 metres long dependant on the roll length. However should you require a larger print dimension there are specialist printers that can facilitate this.


large format photographs displayed in metal frames with integrated seating, situated in grassy fields in Goodwood Festival of Speed

Printed adhesive vinyl applied to aluminium panels for Goodwood Festival of Speed exhibition to celebrate Bentley, image Standard8

Printed adhesive vinyl applied to Dibond. Image by Standard8


Giclee print mounted onto acrylic, image Standard8Giclee print mounted onto acrylic. Image: Standard8

Inkmill Vinyl print graphics and imagery using a range of large format printers including; OCE Arizona UV Direct to Substrate Flatbed, Mimaki Large Format and Fine Art Epsom Printers. 


If you have a project you’d like to discuss we are always happy to here from you, please get in touch

T + 44 (0)1273 417605       


Recommended Posts