Wide Format Printing—A Brief Color History

History of Wide Format Printing

With a price tag of $126,000, one of the earliest wide format color printers was the Iris Graphics Model 3047. Intended as an avenue for printing direct-digital graphic arts proofs, color and clarity was paramount. But since proofs are not intended for long term use, there was no reason to address the issue of color stability and permanency.

Nash Meets Disney

It wasn't until Graham Nash (of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame) became interested in the IRIS that its potential for color photography came into play. Nash, a talented photographer, teamed up with tour manager Mac Holbert and Disney colorist David Coons. Using software and a high-resolution scanner Coons had developed, they were soon achieving good results. In 1990, their showing of fifty of Nash's 3'x4' celebrity portraits printed on the IRIS wide format printer was a huge success. In July of the following year, Nash Editions, the first fine art digital printing company, opened its doors in Manhattan Beach, California.

Realizing other artists and photographers were interested in having their work printed on wide format printers, others in the industry soon followed suit. All were concerned about stability and permanence in color printing, and demand brought about innovation.With the onset of better ink stability came the flexibility to print on new media like thick, textured papers and canvas.

The Digital Revolution

With the onset of the 21st century and the digital revolution, new technology made wide format printers affordable and user-friendly. With their rich traditions of being involved in the creative process via the darkroom, photographers could once again control their images through advanced image editing software and superior results from wide format printers. Artists also saw benefit through the ability to print limited editions on-demand without sacrificing quality.

A Gift for Our Future

Photographers and artists expect their work to endure without fading, and society values the intrinsic value of the role color prints play in our lives. The wide format printing industry has recognized this need and responded with technologies delivering both stability and permanence in absolutely stunning living color.

To learn more about the advantages of today's wide format printers, contact Proven Business Systems today!