Large Format Printing Key Terms

Know the jargon of large format printing

Industries use large format printing, also known as wide format printing, to make forms of large media such as outdoor signage. These printers are much larger than standard printers, with widths as much as 15 feet or more.

The large size of this media creates special issues in image quality, so know the terms that define this condition. Learn more about large format printing by learning the key terms that apply to it.

Wide format printer

Wide format printers are printers that print larger-than-usual items, such as signs and posters. These printers start at 11x15 or higher and can range as high as 15 feet in width. Applications for wide format printers include outdoor signage, banners, posters and large flyers.

DPI, dots per inch

DPI, or dots per inch, measure the resolution of the printed object. The higher the resolution, or the more dots per inch, the clearer the finished product is. This is especially important in large format printing so that the finished product looks clear to the viewers.


Pixelation occurs when one enlarges a picture or a portion of a picture. The original print is low resolution, and magnifying this print does not magnify the picture, but rather magnifies the pixels within the picture. It is imperative in wide format printing that the object printed has sufficient resolution to allow large printing or the image printed will give way to graininess and pixelation.

Print head

The print head is the core of the ink cartridge where the chip is stored. This tells the printer what and when to print as well as what color to dispense.


Jaggies form when one resizes prints with disregard to the original resolution. The resultant jagged edges, or jaggies, may happen if one uses a wide format printer to print a low-resolution original print.

High-res image

High-res image refers to an image that was created with high resolution and offers itself to large format printing without breaking up, pixelating or causing graininess.

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