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How to Print (Really) Big Things

Posted on January 4, 2023
Written by David Nisley
Tags: Printing

Sometimes bigger really is better!

Sometimes, you need to dream (and print) big. Large-scale, or wide-format, printing is printing of designs and graphics on paper 18 inches or wider – projects that don’t fit on a standard home or office printer. The term “wide-format” refers to the width of the paper or material used, not the size of the images itself. This process uses special equipment and machines much larger than a standard printer or copier. Coughlin’s wide-format printers produce crisp, clean images on large prints up to 36”x100’! (If we can’t print it here, we’ll work with partners who can!)

Our team is here to create custom, durable, high-impact solutions, whether you need a single blueprint, a full set of engineering prints, or hundreds of posters for an upcoming event.

Preparing the project…

High quality printers use a four-color CMYK system, which is different than the three-color RGB system used by most computer screens. For best results, make sure your file is designed or converted into CMYK. Common graphic file types include JPEG, PNG, PNG and PDF. If the resolution is high enough, they may work well for large format printing. When preparing a file for large-format printing, choose the largest file size possible. We like at least 300 pixels per square inch!

For blueprints, we recommend uploading the files as PDFs, as we don’t have the capability to open or edit AutoCAD files.

How to submit a wide-format printing project:

We want to make this process as simple as possible. Upload your files here, email them to, or drop off a USB at our office in Lowville or Watertown.

We’ll want to know if you want your project print in color or black & white, as well as the quantity, size, and type of paper. Keep reading for more information about the big things Coughlin can print!

Ken LaLone is the Commercial Print Specialist at our Watertown office.

Engineering Drawings and Full-Color Renderings

We print the blueprints for architects, engineers, designers, and contractors throughout the North Country. High quality prints let you communicate details clearly and get the job done on time. Coughlin can print on 20 lb bond paper for regular use, proofing paper for displays or framed, and vellum for overlays. (Technically, the term “blueprint” is a holdover from the days that architectural plans were drawn on vellum, placed over specially-coated paper, and exposed to UV. The paper would turn blue while the drawings remained white. “Engineering prints” refers to drawings and plans reproduced with a printer, but we won’t judge if you still call them “blueprints”.)

Posters and Signs

There are many variables that need to be considered for any printing project, especially signage. Know exactly what you want? Great. Unsure about all the options? Our customer service representatives can show samples and give estimates based on what will fit best for you. We’ll discuss the quantity of signs you need, the finished size, the thickness (and durability) of paper or other material, and other details. Those factors will determine exactly which machine we use to print your posters, signs, banners, and more. If you already have a poster designed, we recommend uploading it as a PDF to ensure fonts, colors, and other elements are printed in high quality.

Canvas Prints and Photos

Coughlin is more than just paper! Our printers can also handle canvas. We finish canvas projects with a UV-protective spray for long-lasting quality. We do not offer framing services at this time.

Converting Paper to Digital

Our printers can scan blueprints and other wide-format projects and convert them to a digital file, making them easy to store and share. Our wide-format scanners are sheet-fed which means we cannot run a framed portrait through it. Please check with us about your specific scanning needs.

Take it to the next level. Go big with wide-format printing! Click here to upload your artwork, or contact us for more information.