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The History of Wide Format Print

by Nathan Swinson-Bullough

Team member operating Vutek printer

Wide-format printing is a relatively new process, with demand only rising at the end of the last century. We use print for a wide variety of cases, from exhibitions and hoardings, to POS, and wall coverings! But we’re wanting to have a little look into print history.

Traditionally the first wide-format printers used a form of Electrostatic technology, whereby printers use a positively charged toner/inks that are attracted to the paper which in turn is negatively charged. The paper is moved through a digital ink bath where positively charged particles in the ink stick to the negative charge on the paper.

These naturally rendered images were blurry and of a much lower quality than the high-resolution printers that we use at Imageco today, such as our impressive Efi Vutek GS3250LX Ultradrop Pro.


It was not until the 2000’s that inkjet technology became popular, hence the slightly short print history available, which was jointly developed by the leading print companies at the time HP, Durst, and Canon. Inkjet technology prints an image by propelling droplets of ink onto a canvas or onto plastic substrates. It has become incredibly popular due to its low-price barrier and exceptional value for money. Imageco were one of the first in the UK to purchase the Durst Lambda printer when it was released in 2001, followed by the Durst Rho 160, and then later that decade the when HP Scitex machines were introduced we switched again.


High-quality wide format print accelerated during this period, developments in speed, resolution, and productivity took huge steps, year on year developments were made to improve functionality and quality. Durst, HP and EFI led the way in this regard. Imageco made several huge investments during this period, most noticeable the Durst Rho 320 then in 2016 came the Efi Vutek Ultradrop pro and HP Latex machines. Both of which now are the driving force at Imageco and helped us set new standards in terms of production, versatility, and quality.


In the last few years, wide-format print development has skyrocketed. The new focus is on sustainability, as well as high quality. This suits us down to the ground. HP’s Latex inks are revolutionary and are placed in high regard by the best wide format printers around. The new technology uses 70% water content in its ink, it’s non-hazardous to the environment and non-toxic to our customers. That’s why we love it. We have our eye on developments in the wide-format print market and we are excited for what the future holds.


If you need the best print quality, without compromising on sustainability...  then get in touch with our team today.