Many entrepreneurs and advertisers seek to print large-scale images to make posters, brochures and billboards. Most photos look great on a computer screen—but there’s a lot to consider when you’re printing images larger than your apartment’s wall.
How do you create massive high-quality prints? Here are some tips for generating large-scale images for billboards and advertisements.
Pixels per inch (PPI) refers to the smallest unit in a digital image. While pixels do not have a physical size, they can dramatically impact the printed version of a large billboard or signage.
For example, an 8K monitor has around 8 times more pixels per inch than a 1080p monitor—even if the physical monitors have similar sizes. When both images are printed, the 8K version will end up clearer because of the higher digital resolution.
Dots per inch (DPI) refers to the amount of printed dots that a printed image will have. The higher the DPI, the better the printed resolution. Most printers can recreate images with around 2000 DPI by squirting billions of dots onto a page.
Having a good viewing distance ensures the observer can clearly see the image from afar.
The distance and visibility chart shows the ideal letter height and its maximum readable distance.
As our distance from an image increases, the details visible to the human eye become smaller. Based on the chart, a billboard must have at least 10 inches in letter height to become readable to people from 100 feet. Likewise, a billboard must have a letter height of 54 inches so it can be viewed by people from a farther distance.
The standard size for billboards is around 14 feet high and 48 feet wide, equivalent to 672 square feet of advertising space. Most billboards are printed at 10ppi to 30ppi. The general rule of thumb is to print billboards at around 150 PPI at 100% size. Image resolution can be reduced as the image size and intended viewing distance increase.
Other than dimensions and viewing distance, there are other factors to consider when printing large-scale images.
The ideal resolution for billboard images is at least 11.2 DPI. Modern cameras can take pictures of at least 16 megapixels—so you can easily photograph large-scale images for billboards.
Still, we recommend hiring a professional photographer that can determine the ideal lighting, resolution, creative direction, and other considerations for your large-scale images. While it’s possible to create a billboard photo on your own, you’ll get better results with a qualified professional.
Images and fonts may have pretty colors when viewed from a computer screen. Yet, drivers and commuters may not be able to read it when there’s not enough contrast between the text and the background.
It can be helpful to use an online color contrast checker by Coolors and WebAIM to determine the appropriate color combinations.
Many printers in the United States offer large format printing for billboards, banners, and signages. When choosing a printer, collect quotes from as many places as possible. Visit the website of local printers to identify their rates or reach out via email to get a quote. Materials can impact the quality of large-scale images so consider their cost relative to the print quality.
If you need to print large-scale images on a regular basis, don’t stop comparing printers and rates. Some companies change their rates over time, so feel free to keep evaluating the best choice for your business.
Hiring a professional photographer and photo editor that can create billboard images can be a challenge if you don’t know where to start.
The good news is that Fiverr has a broad network of photographers and billboard design experts who can capture and customize images for your billboards. Besides having the right equipment, they also know the ideal font, color, format, and printer for the best results.