Small vs Large Format Print: Which Has the Bigger Impact?

When it comes to marketing and promotion, there are many different approaches you can take. One of the biggest debates is between small and large format print.

Large format print examples

Would a well-targeted small printed product like a brochure or a leaflet have more impact than one, huge building wrap or billboard? Here’s an evaluation of both print products to help you decide.

We’ll be covering these main points:

  • Small Format Print
    • Provides Information in More Detail
    • Creates Things for Audiences to Take Away and Read
    • Can Be More Cost Effective for Short Term or Small Scale Projects 


  • Large Format Print
    • High Visibility and Instant Impact
    • More Visually Stimulating
    • Potentially More Unique and Memorable

Small Format Print

As the name suggests, small format print refers to any printed product that’s one the smaller scale in terms of size. This can include leaflets, brochures, magazines, prospectuses and catalogues. Anything that can be held in your hand.

Provides Information in More Detail

Unlike large prints, small printed products like leaflets and brochures can provide the audience with information in detail. You can include more detailed content in a leaflet than you can on a large banner, for example. People don’t usually have time to stand and read reams of text on a billboard, but they do often have time to read a leaflet.

This means small format print products allow you to provide your audience with more information, whether it’s going into the specifics about a product or the terms and conditions. Large prints are limited in terms of written content messaging – although, they can take advantage of the space they have for imagery and after all, one picture can tell a thousand words.

Creates Things for Audiences to Take Away and Read

Because small printed products are smaller in size, people can pick them up and take them away to read at a later time. This can result in long lasting exposure for your brand, as long as the person keeps the leaflet (for example) in their possession.

This also means that you can then put in more content, whether it’s more detailed or simply more of it, to help promote your product or service further. After all, people can take away your leaflet to read at their own convenience and absorb information at their own pace.

In contrast, large products like building wraps can’t be picked up and taken away in the same manner. Although they stand out and provide instant visibility, it can be hard for people to make sense of a large printed product’s message in a split second.

Can Be More Cost Effective for Short Term or Small Scale Projects

Small printed products often require less maintenance and set-up time than their large counterparts. In contrast, large printed products like free standing banners need to be properly erected so they’re stable and won’t collapse, then correctly dismantled and stored to avoid damage. Plus, transport costs can add up because they’re huge and bulky.

Small printed products like magazines, however, only need to be stacked, attractively laid out on a surface or placed into stands. Storing and transporting them is also relatively easy. This often makes them a much more cost-effective and less time-consuming option – especially for short-term, small scale projects.

Large Format Print

Large format print covers any oversized visual display. The maximum size varies between print firms, but the products can range from posters, banners, flags and even building wraps. They can even be more creative and extend to floor graphics, furniture and 3D projections.

High Visibility and Instant Impact

As the name suggests, these products are anything large and super large. Because of their size, they are highly noticeable and provide instant visual impact. Large products like roller banners and flags stand out and provide 24 hour exposure, regardless of where they might be placed.

Small printed products don’t have the same effect. They need to have attractive, eye-catching front covers to entice people to pick them up and read inside. Banners and flags, on the other hand, promote and boost awareness regardless.

More Visually Stimulating

Large printed products are extremely visual and this is exacerbated even more by their sheer size. It’s difficult to ignore a huge billboard and even in busy surroundings, you can add lights or turn the image into a slideshow or video to attract attention.

With small printed products like brochures, potential for visual stimulation lies with the design, typography and the images used. But with billboards, you have so much more potential and opportunities to catch the eyes of even the most distracted passersby.

Potentially More Unique and Memorable

Generally, businesses can be more creative with their large printed products than they can with small. You can always design a leaflet in an imaginative way or use an unusual font and while these still make an impact, they can’t provide as dramatic of an impact as a 3D projection, for example.

If someone was reading a leaflet and a 3D projection show started in front of them, they will almost always stop reading and watch. They might even take their phone out and start recording a video to share on social media later (boosting your brand exposure). Large format products are nearly always more distracting, more attention-grabbing and absorbing than small format, regardless of how interesting the content or attractive the design might be of the latter.

As well as this, you have almost unlimited options as there are many things you can produce with large format printing. You don’t have to choose a building wrap or a billboard. You can have flags, signs and banners. You can have crowd barriers and marquees. You can have projections. You can even have furniture like podiums, stands and displays – anything you need to make your promotion more unique and have more impact.

In short, large format print ensures that your brand makes the huge, dramatic and memorable splash that you need.

But Which is Better?

Truthfully, the real answer is whether big or small is better is that there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. Small and large printed products have their own benefits and limitations. Ultimately, it depends on your business needs and the impact you want to make.

For example, low key events would benefit from smaller products like leaflets and small displays. But huge campaigns would be better off having billboards, projections and building wraps to promote them. And then there’s every other event size in between. It just depends on your own requirements, from the level of impact you want to make to the amount of space you’re allowed to physically occupy.

The best approach is to use a combination of both. Use huge products like building wraps to maintain 24 hour external exposure, large products like banners to attract attention and small products like brochures and business cards for information that your audience can take away.

Want to Find Out More About Large Format Printing?

There’s so much more to large format printing. The examples we mentioned in the blog aren’t the only types you might encounter. In fact, we haven’t got round to discussing light boxes and window graphics, for example.

If you’d like to read more about large format printing, from the different types and their benefits to what they can bring to your company, visit our inspiration page by clicking on the button below.