Big Picture - November/December 2017 - 22
INTERIOR DÉCOR & TEXTILES
Beyond the Image
How digital wallcoverings create an experience.
he wallcoverings market continues to grow
approximately five percent each year, and the
digital wallcoverings sector is helping fuel that
growth. Wallcoverings have the distinct ability
not only to depict a visual, but also to harness
imagery to create an experience and evoke an emotional
response. This experiential capability makes it a powerful tool
for designers of commercial and residential spaces.
THE NEXT LEVEL
Digital printing technologies take wallcoverings to the next
level by providing myriad opportunities for personalization.
Companies using traditional rotogravure printing may do 80
to 90 percent of their business through their standard product
offering, with custom designs making up the remainder. It's
just the opposite for digital wallcovering businesses, which
may generate 80 percent of their sales through custom
designs concepted from scratch by the company's in-house
designer working in collaboration with the client.
Hospitality applications continue to expand, with digital
wallcoverings now dipping into the budget typically
allocated to artwork and other surface materials. Most
four- and five-star hotels use digital wallcoverings somewhere within their property. But even midrange hotel
brands are projecting higher-end aesthetics with digital
wallcoverings on headwalls of guest rooms and on focal
points in reception areas, elevator lobbies, and restaurants.
Ceilings are even being used as a "fifth wall."
MATT BRUNO is executive director of the Wallcoverings
Association (wallcoverings.org), a member-based,
distribution, and overall sales within the wallcoverings
AESTHETICS IN DEMAND
What other interior design element has the ability to transport
you to a sunny beach, panoramic vista, or colorful garden?
Healthcare designers leverage digital media to bring the
outdoors inside with healing aesthetics suggestive of forests,
water, and animal life.
Hotels often use digital imagery to ground the property
in its locale and further enhance the destination experience.
A property in Arizona might showcase a rustic canyon, while
an urban hotel might depict the city skyline or images of
Retailers and corporations brand their walls, sometimes
literally with their logo, but more often subtly with colors,
patterns, and textures that convey their brand essence.
Wide-format printing allows for uninterrupted floor-to-ceiling
artistic expression, and designers can use the full expanse to
engage the occupant in the brand experience.
not-for-profit organization focused on manufacturing,
industry. The association provides a vehicle for
communication across segments of the wallcoverings
industry, while educating consumers, specifiers, and
related industries about the use of wallcoverings in the
commercial and residential markets.
Retail stores and corporations are embracing the brand
capabilities of digital wallcoverings, communicating their look
and message through engaging visuals that draw the viewer
into the brand experience. Healthcare is more cost-conscious
but uses this digital design vehicle to create therapeutic
visuals in patient and visitor areas.
Residential markets may be the next frontier. Interior
designers often work with digital wallcoverings to create
large-scale graphics and murals for home décor. But what
about DIY consumers who want to transfer photography from
their smartphones to the wall? Has your print shop considered
tapping into this growth opportunity?
Wallcoverings must conform to a host of standards regulating performance, fire safety, and environmental and health
impacts. Wallcovering providers bring this expertise to the
table. They also recognize what types of wallcoverings are
best suited to various environments and can recommend
and provide substrates that will perform under specific
conditions. There are a multitude of constructions available,
and wallcovering companies know which are best suited to
For printers looking to collaborate with wallcovering
companies, the Wallcoverings Association website
(wallcoverings.org) may be a helpful resource. The Product
Performance tab offers information about product standards
as well as links to leading wallcovering companies.