What the World Would Look Like Without Wide Format Printing

I had some family come to visit me and my wife close to a month ago and we were driving around trying to find a restaurant we could all agree on. As we were driving and recommending ideas, I started looking at all of the signs and advertising. The more I purposefully looked, the more I realized how much wide format printing impacts our everyday lives. This started me down a road of thought: "What would the world look like without wide format printing?" Could it really be that different?

What would the world look like without wide format printing
"cracks knuckles".....let's begin...

I mentally made a note to visit this thought while working and see what I could come up with. Well now I am finally revisiting this! The first of many steps down this process was to really observe all forms of wide format printing that I interacted with daily on my commute or on tv. Easy...not. For such a niche industry the impact and results of our work are everywhere! Street signs, billboards, car wraps, window vinyl, banners, gas station signs, and so much more. I couldn’t believe it. How can one industry shape the way we look for businesses, direct traffic, and advertise?

Ok so next step: how can I show just how much different the world would look?

What would the world look like without wide format printing
enter sub-par photoshop skills

After many hours of looking for the perfect images and then even more hours of photoshop (too many to honestly be proud of) I had 3 images that would represent what the world looks like with and 3 images without wide format printing. I could feel it in my bones: this master plan and vision was coming together. But wait...I don’t want these images just side by side. The drastic effect wouldn’t do it justice.

What would the world look like without wide format printing
ugh...why do I always go the difficult way...

I remembered I saw this webpage with a screen shot from an Avengers movie that had a slider to show with and without green screen effects. Honestly it was a cool way to show what happens with the video graphics team ← I’ll save this rant for another day.


After more hours of trial and error with coding and looking through resources I had it. I finally found the best way to showcase how drastically different the world looks without wide format graphics. My master plan is finally coming together.

What would the world look like without wide format printing
I love it when a plan comes together

Now for the results...

A World With Wide Format Printing A World Without Wide Format Printing

Here is an image of a racecar that has countless decals and advertisements that were likely produced using a wide format vinyl cutter and/or a wide format printer. Many large businesses use racecars to advertise various styles to help their client reach. I know this one isn’t an everyday visual, but you can correlate this to even your commute to work. I don’t know how many trucks, vans, and semi’s that have decals and graphics all over their vehicles to advertise their businesses. In one morning commute I counted 23 different vehicles that had some form or another of wide format graphics. That is one highway, one 20-minute commute, at 6:30 am; that alone is proof that car wraps and decals work. I can’t even image what that amounts to with every commuter, all hours, all highways, for one month. I’m sure the numbers are very high.

Still this is just one form. Car vinyl’s and graphics aren’t everything. Fine. How about this...

A World With Wide Format Printing A World Without Wide Format Printing

This is an MLB stadium. This was one I really wanted to do. I was thinking back to when my friends and I went to a Houston Texans game (not a sponsor in any way) last year. The overwhelming amount of graphics, banners, decals, and signs was unbelievable. I’m pretty sure my wife was tired of me pointing out the different techniques and materials to my friends. I mean come on, how often are we surrounded by what we do for a living? This image doesn’t do the amount of banners justice, but it was one of the few stock images I could find. The amount of money advertisers pay to get some form of image on the field is beyond belief. But you have to think of the amount of people who are going to be in the stadium and the people watching on tv. It pays for itself easily.

Still not impressed? Car vinyls and graphics aren’t everything. How about this...

A World With Wide Format Printing A World Without Wide Format Printing

Let me remind you again that I am not an expert at photoshop in any way. I do not want to disclose the number of hours I spent just editing these 3 graphics.

This image shows a street side view of some businesses and advertisements. If you take away the wide format prints and graphics, you are left with a fairly boring street. Without wide format printing it would be easy to walk past businesses without knowing what it was or what specials they had.

After this purposeful observation of wide format printing and how it shapes our world, I am left in awe at the impact it has. Seriously, even after over 9 years in this industry, I had never realized the impact this business has on the way we view the world. It is easy to see the impact if you work in the cell phone industry, beverage industry, or food industry, but I just never thought about the one industry I work in. I think it is safe to assume that our world is made better by wide format printing.

Whether you work in the wide format printing industry, know someone who does, or even if this was your first intro it is easy to see just how much wide format printing is used daily. This is what we do. This is how we shape the world and our future. Let me know your thoughts on this topic or if you have other ways that wide format printing has shaped your life.


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  • Absolutely fantastic analysis. Advertising has really grown over the years. We shape how information is disseminated truly. Our world without Graphic Designing will be a boring one. 😄👩🏽‍🎨👨🏾‍🎨

  • Awesome Blog Post Nathaniel — Love what you did with the interactive images.

  • You geek! lol My husband gets tired of me pointing out the GIS in everyone’s world. I mean everyone has a map in their pocket for goodness sake :D


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