The 5 Ws (and 1 H) are a fundamental lesson we’re taught early on in our formal education – and it’s usually related to research or writing. The thought behind it is, if you can answer each of these questions, you’ll know the complete story or have a comprehensive understanding of the topic at hand.
So, why not apply this to technology? By asking the 5 Ws and 1 H questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) – and simultaneously answering them – you’ll come to a solid conclusion about the technology at hand and if it's right for your organization in terms of costs, benefits and overall value.
Below I’ve answered the five questions I recommend asking if you are considering a new or updated wide format printer:
Who Benefits from Wide Format Printing?
I’ve found that most often, wide format printing is a good fit for architects, engineers, contractors, educators, advertising and marketing professionals, corporate print centers, commercial and sign printers, retailers, lumberyards and home builders – to name a few.
However, the benefits of wide format services are definitely not limited to who I’ve noted above. Generally, if you have recurring printing demands higher than 2,000 square feet a month, you may want to consider a wide format printer for your organization. If your organization is running between 2,000-5,000 square feet a month, an inkjet plotter is the best type of device for you. If you print more than 5,000 square feet a month, then the dry-toner plotters are a better option.
What Value Does Wide format printing Provide for My Organization?
Wide format printers allow you to create large, clear images right within your office. A typical wide format printer (WFP) supports print widths between 18” and 100” while maintaining high quality and print speed. From the fine-detailed architectural drawings to bold advertising banners, wide format printers can do the trick.
Enhanced digital technology allows wide format printers to produce large, high-quality prints with extreme detail, clarity and precision. Businesses who own a wide format printer are able to do more work in-house without the cost of outsourcing these types of print projects. Because of this, companies often see increased productivity and cost savings.
Where Should I Buy a Wide Format Printer?
Local print providers with experience in wide format printing are your best option; and if they have underlying business technology knowledge and expertise – that’s even better. Believe it or not, I’m not just saying that because that’s what Marco provides. There are specific reasons all of these qualifications are important (and you can read about them in detail here); in a nutshell:
- Local providers can offer timely support (remote or on-site) when needed
- Technology experts wtih diverse experience can identify unknown errors or issues, whether or not they are tied to your wide format printer specifically
- Experienced providers offer insight into wide format industry trends, keeping your technology up to speed and on target with your business needs
When Should I Buy / Upgrade?
The answer to this question truly depends on your unique situation. Questions I would ask you in return to better understand your needs would be:
- Do you have a current wide format printer that is aging or not meeting your print demand – or are you buying the first wide format printer for your office?
- Do you feel you have an immediate need for a wide format printer (I’d use this answer to provide you a recommendation based on the industry trends, equipment currently on the market and new technology becoming available)?
- Do you plan to purchase or lease your WFP (see more on this under the HOW question)?
Unfortunately I can’t provide a blanket answer to this question, but if you’d like me to help you assess your specific needs – please reach out and we’ll get something on the calendar.
Why Do I Need Wide Format Printing?
This has been partially answered in the WHAT question, but I want to share a less technical belief of mine. The world is much bigger than 8.5x11, and so are your projects. So, whether you’re a photographer, designer, architect, engineer, geospatial analyst or a construction professional, a wide format printer provides an output solution large enough to accommodate your big ideas.
How Can I Pay for My Wide Format Printer?
You have three options:
- Buy it
- Lease it
- Enter a cost-per-square-foot program with your provider (it’s the managed print services for wide format printing)
I expound on the pros and cons of each payment option in this blog: 3 Options for Investing in a Wide Format Digital Printer
And that’s it. I hope this gives you a better understanding of wide format printing, and if/when it is a good investment for your organization. If you have any remaining questions, I’m available to answer those for you. Let me know how I can help.