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(May 2012) posted on Thu May 03, 2012

Digitally produced wallcoverings are transforming empty spaces into a venue for marketing, rebranding, and self-expression.

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By Mike Antoniak

“When the recession hit, a lot of marketing budgets took a hit, and people started looking at some less-expensive things they could do,” observes Matt Myers, business development manager for Neschen America. “Many realized that today’s digital printers, and wallcovering materials offer a very cost-effective option for rebranding, or changing the interior of a location without the expense of entirely redoing it,” Myers continues.

In fact, the visibility given digitally-printed wallcoverings is now seeding and feeding demand for these print services. “With more printers now offering wallcoverings, more customers see the possibilities,” points out Peter Spotto, sales manager for Dreamscape. “They recognize how easy and affordable it is to come up with a unique look, whether for the redesign of a store, displaying the company logo on the wall of the lobby at headquarters, or updating the theme of a restaurant.”

Customization is the key to this market growth, says John Coyne, sales manager for Lintec of America. “Print service providers may inventory only a few different textures (in wall media) yet offer hundreds of styles and designs to their customers.”

Jodi Sawyer, product manager for the product branding team of FlexCon, perhaps sums it up best: “Walls are becoming prime interior billboards for powerful messaging and imagery.”

And while most wallcovering work is for commercial applications, a sub-niche is also developing – in digitally printed custom wallpapers and graphics for installation inside homes, schools, churches, and other non-commercial spaces. “Home décor is another environment where consumers can order ‘one-off’ digital prints to create personalized custom wall graphics for their home,” notes Sawyer.

“We are in a world where individualism is the new opportunity,” adds Sean McLaughlin, president of Converd. “This is your wallpaper and it can be anything you want it to be.” As an example, he says walls of digital prints helped remake his own young son’s room into a Hawaiian beach. “This is where the imagination meets the road. What we have to do is make it more obvious and even easier for the masses to understand and access.”

Products for every project
Before print-service providers can do that, however, suppliers maintain they must make themselves aware of the full range of specialized media now available. “There isn’t a one-size-fits-all wall solution,” notes Sawyer. “Wall surface, graphic size, and print methods vary.”