No matter what kind of business you have, you may need large format printing services at some point. Whether you need a new banner for your store opening or need to print some billboards for advertising, large format printing is a classic marketing tool businesses use to boost their presence and build excitement.
Overall, large format printing costs for paper start at as little as $1.99 per square foot for smaller posters and go all the way up to $8.99 per square foot. Specialty printing for larger billboards or prints made with unique materials starts at roughly $15.99 per square foot. The size of the print, materials, printing technique and complexity of the design all affect printing costs.
Printing services cover a wide range of services, including small posters and giant banners and signs. The costs for these items vary heavily. To help you out, we put together this comprehensive article on large format printing costs and where to find them.
- How Much Does Large Format Printing Cost per Square Foot?
- Delivery Costs
- What Factors Affect Large Format Printing Costs?
- Where Can I Get Large Format Printing?
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does Large Format Printing Cost per Square Foot?
In general, you can expect to pay between $1.99 to $8.99 per square foot for large format printing. For a hypothetical company that needs 2 24” x 36” banners and a set of 24 12”x 18” posters, the cost would roughly come out to $200.
There are a lot of variables that affect printing costs, so we will cover different types of printing materials, types, and designs to suss out average costs.
Paper Printing Costs
Paper printing is the simplest kind of printing and the cheapest. Paper printing costs are affected by the type of paper, size, and printing method. Paper printing is available in black and white or color options. The following table contains average printing costs for common paper sizes with basic aqueous inkjet printing.
|Paper||Color||18 x 24||22 x 34||24 x 36||30 x 42||34 x 44||36 x 48|
Vinyl Printing Costs
Many larger prints like those on banners or billboards are printed on vinyl. Vinyl is a good material for printing because it works well with both ink and laser printing, and it is resistant to elements. So it makes good printing material for signs and banners that will be outside.
Generally speaking, the most common types of vinyl used for printing are 13 oz, 16 oz, and 18 oz. 13 oz vinyl is the thinnest and usually the cheapest but it can be more expensive than thicker materials depending on the printing method used.
|Type||18 x 24||24 x 36||24 x 48||24 x 60||36 x 48||48 x 96|
18 oz. vinyl usually has the most expensive base cost, but it costs less the more you buy. Notice the price for 18 oz. vinyl increases slower than the price of smaller vinyl sizes for the most part. Vinyl can be printed with inkjet printing or laser printing. If you plan to use your vinyl banner mostly outside, consider getting UV printing. UV inks are resistant to fading from the sun’s rays.
Fabric is another common material used for large format printing. Most fabric prints are made using sublimation printing. The technique involves heating ink until it vaporizes and meshes with the fabric in the intended design. Sublimation printing is highly resistant to fading and you can machine wash fabric banners printed with this method. The most common fabrics used for printing are twill, linen, and polyester.
|Type||18 x 24||24 x 36||24 x 48||24 x 60||36 x 48||44 x 64|
If you order online, you will also have to contend with delivery costs. You can expect to pay anywhere between $4 to $50 for shipping costs, depending on the size of your prints and how many units you order. Delivery costs also depend on your zip code and how quickly you need the finished product.
What Factors Affect Large Format Printing Costs?
Printing can be fairly cheap if you are using simple materials like poster board and basic ink. But special laminated designs or vinyl printed banners will cost more. Here is a list of common factors that affect printing costs.
- Size. Size is the main thing that determines costs. Larger prints cost more than smaller prints. Note that the larger prints you get, the less per square foot the print usually costs. Each successive square foot costs less than the one before it.
- Materials. Materials like paper and matte are the cheapest printing material. Things like laminates, fabrics, and other special materials like foam, gator board, and canvas will be more expensive.
- Printing method. The most common and cheapest type of large format printing is aqueous inkjet printing. This method uses water-based inks that can provide a high level of resolution. More expensive methods of printing include dye sublimation printing, UV-printing, and solvent printing.
- Picture resolution. Picture resolution also affects costs. The higher resolution, the more ink needs to be used so the more expensive printing will be. Companies offer large format printing services at 720p, 1080p, and even 4k 1440p resolutions.
- Modifications. Some prints require special modifications, like stitching on fabrics, mounting for large banners, lamination, and other kinds of modifications. Modification services will differ depending on where you get your printing services.
Where Can I Get Large Format Printing?
You can find large format printing at virtually any big box office supplier, such as FedEx, Office Depot, Staples, or the UPS store. You can also find specialty large format printing services online.
Generally speaking, large format printing businesses offer printing services ranging from poster graphics boards measuring 16” x 16” to larger banners measuring 60” x 120” and larger. The average size of a billboard printing is approximately 14’ x 48’.
Generally speaking, getting printing services online will be more expensive than going to a big box store. This is because online printing services also charge for delivery. However, you might be able to find cheaper prices for certain types of printing online than you would at a big box office retailer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does large format printing cost per square foot?
On average, large format printing can cost anywhere between $1.99 to $8.99 per square foot. Prints made using special materials of complex graphics will cost more. If you order printing services online, then you also need to factor in delivery costs for your printed units.
Which printing material is the most expensive?
Out of paper, vinyl, and fabric, vinyl is generally the most expensive printing material. Vinyl is a good material for outdoor banners as it is tough and resistant to fading from the sun.
What is the cheapest printing method?
All other things being equal, aqueous liquid ink printing is the cheapest option. Special printing methods like UV printing or sublimation printing are more expensive but work better on different materials. Sublimation printing, for example, is good for printing on cloth.
How does large format printing work?
Most of the time, you can just provide a PDF or digital file with the graphic you want to be printed. Make sure you understand what kinds of file types and resolutions your chosen printing service works with.
What factors affect large format printing costs?
The factors that affect large format printing costs include size, materials, complexity of printed graphics, additional features (i.e. cloth, sewing, mounting), and type of inks used. If you buy online, delivery fees will also affect overall costs.
No matter the type of business you have, large format printing is a great method for advertising and marketing. Make sure you understand the costs and materials that go into printing, so you can get the best deal. You may be interested in Konica Printer.