Small format vs Large Format

Feb 4, 2020

We see print everywhere we go—from billboards to business cards; it is a part of our daily lives. But have you ever considered the differences between small and large print materials? We’ll dive into the differences between small and large format printing and how to decide which one is best for your next print project.


Small format printing refers to print jobs 13×19 inches or smaller. Often used for smaller marketing materials, small format printing can produce large quantities via offset or digital with quicker turnaround times.

Examples of small format projects include:

  • Business Cards
  • Door hangers
  • Calendars
  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Postcards


Large format printing is the formal term used to describe large printing projects, usually over 24 inches wide. Apart from size, large format printing differs from standard printing in a few ways. 

The equipment itself is different; it’s not an oversized printer. Large format printers are a roll-to-roll or a flatbed printer. The next major difference is the variety of materials that you can use. Large format printers can print on almost anything—vinyl, canvas, glass, wood, and aluminum are a few common materials. The large format printer used for the job depends on the material. A roll-to-roll printer works well with flexible materials like vinyl, and a flatbed printer works best for rigid materials like glass and wood. With large format printing, you can get great indoor or outdoor use signs that give you the freedom to make a bold statement and capture the attention of passersby. 

Examples of large format projects include:

  • Banners
  • Yard Signs
  • A-Frames/Sandwich Boards
  • Store Displays
  • Promotional Signage
  • Trade show Signage
  • Murals
  • Vehicle Wraps
  • Wall Graphics


How does wide format differ from large format? Technically, it doesn’t. Large format is a general term used to describe prints that are larger than standard printers can accommodate. Wide format printing refers to the size of the print. Wide format printers have a width capacity of 18 to 100 inches.


So what is grand format printing? It’s a print that’s even bigger! Grand format printers have a width capacity of 100 inches or more. To put it in perspective, that’s a little over 8 feet wide. 

Now that you have a better understanding of small format and large format printing, you can make an informed decision about what type of printing you need for your next project.