Big Picture - November/December 2017 - 25
THE CREATIVE MATTERS
What isn't always easy is finding a digital print partner
who truly understands the needs of high-end designers like
Creative Matters. "It's not somebody that is going to receive
the file and press a button and print," says Cunningham.
"They have to have design flair to understand our digital file
and how it's translated when it gets to their machine."
A wallcovering for The Westside, a California-inspired
luxury clothing store, was the perfect example of how such a
relationship can work perfectly. The interior designer, Janson
Goldstein, sent Creative Matters an image of a batiked (a
technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth) piece of
fabric for inspiration. The team of artists immediately held an
"Art Day," using twine, rice paper, and acrylics to create their
own rendition of the design. The art was then digitized and
sent off to DPS.
"We did a sample, and right out the chute, it was more blue
than indigo," says Piach. She anticipated exactly what tweaks
Creative Matters would want, and the team said, "You nailed it."
Samples were then printed on a number of different
substrate options for Goldstein's review. The final version was
printed on DreamScape's Mystical material on an HP Latex
360. Piach says DPS initially bought their first latex printer for
their work with Creative Matters.
Piach says DPS' portfolio of work for design-minded
clients like Creative Matters has helped garner clients even on
the BSC side of the business, adding, "We probably wouldn't
have had [our last few contracts] if we wouldn't have shown
that we take it one notch above just being a sign company."
Cunningham says, "The Westside project is a clear
indication that people are not afraid to go a little deeper as
far as really honing in on the kind of look that they're after."
With careful precision and an innovative frame of mind,
PSPs ready to help clients take that next step further are
sure to be poised for success.
I N T E R I O R D E S I G N B Y J A N S O N G O L D S T E I N . P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y M I K I K O K I K U YA M A .
hen Ana Cunningham came on board at
Creative Matters nearly two decades ago, every
bit of the high-end floor-covering design firm's
work was hand-painted. The VP's first order of business was
to move the company into the digital space, teaching the
artists to design in Illustrator and Photoshop, working with
textile mills to nail down a process, learning how to match
colors, and more. The transition was gradual, spanning a few
years, but as the firm settled in, the improvement in turnaround time at every step of the process was dramatic.
About five years ago, the company added wallcovering
design to its service offerings and began working with Detroitbased Digital Print Specialties (DPS, digitalprintspecialties.
com). DPS is an offshoot of Banner Sign Company (BSC,
bannersignco.com), launched to provide custom applications
for artists, designers, and architects after the Great Recession
ate up the budgets of many of BSC's corporate clients.
"We didn't have the money to invest in diversification
as far as equipment," says co-owner (and 2016 Big Picture
Women in Print Award winner) Nicole Piach. "It was, 'What
can we do with the equipment that we have to keep going?'"
Over the years, DPS and Creative Matters have grown
together as the demand for customization has taken off.
"Everybody wants to be an individual," says Piach, "and now
they know how easy it can be."