Choosing the Right Media, Part 1

How do you decide which media would be the best for your graphic? Before you can go about trying to decide the type of media you want to print your image on, it is important to understand exactly what we mean when we use the word ‘media’. In this blog post we will start by defining the word ‘media’, and then we will discuss how to go about choosing the correct media for your project.


The word ‘media’ can have many different meanings. Some people when they hear or see the word ‘media’ will automatically think about channels of communication, such as radio stations, newspapers, television, and magazines. Others might think more on the lines of ‘social media’, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In the Fine Arts, however, ‘media’ is referred to as the material on which an artist chooses to do their work. In the SpeedPro Imaging world, our definition of ‘media’ more or less matches the Fine Arts definition of ‘media’. Media, to us, is merely the material you use to print your graphics. Different media has different textures and finishes, which is why it is so important to understand the media you wish to work with before you begin printing.


To get started, we have generated a list of four questions that will better help you determine the right media for your project. After answering these four questions, you can decisively choose the best media for your graphic, and then we can get to printing!


The Four Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Media:


Question One: Where is the graphic going to be placed?

The placement of a graphic can determine many things. Where you place a graphic can affect such things as the size and the lifetime of the image. Is the graphic going indoors or outdoors? Simply determining where the graphic is going can help you decide on the durability of the media. Is there a certain space that the graphic must fit in? Certain media is better for certain sized graphics. It can also help with determining the finish of the media.  Gloss finish is usually used outdoors and matte finish is usually used indoors.


Question Two: How long do you need the graphic?

Do you need the large format image for short or long term usage? Temporary materials often use less expensive media, since they will not be needed for long periods of time. We do not want you to spend too much money on a product that you do not need. We want to make sure you get the most use out of your graphic, so knowing how long you need an image helps determine the material that is best suited for the time period it is needed.


Question Three: What surface will your graphic be mounted on?

Is the surface rough, smooth, flat, or curved? The surface you mount your graphics onto is crucial, since some materials are more movable than others. If you have a surface that is curved, you want to make sure you get material that can curve with the surface. Vehicles are usually always curved (see the cast vs calendered blog I posted last week). If you are just thinking about a poster, it is still important to know on what surface you wish to hang it.


Question Four: What are you trying to achieve?

Is the graphic only for decoration, are you trying to bring in new clientele, or are you promoting an event or sale? These questions are important because if you need a picture for decoration, for example, there is media that is better suited for photo realistic images and fine art.


Some of these questions can also be interrelated to one another. For example, knowing what you want to achieve can also help you answer the question of how long you need a graphic. Certain types of graphics promoting sales or events are only needed for short amounts of time, so you want to make sure you choose a media that will be good for such occasions.


Once you have all these questions answered, you are now better prepared to pick out the media that is right for your graphic! Now all that is left is having us at SpeedPro print your graphic out on the media of your choice and enjoying the view. The next blog post will cover what types of media to use in each situation.  Stay tuned!!


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