Another décor printing provider, Point Imaging of Hobart, IN, has found that while customers may know more about décor printing these days, they still have to be educated to its full potential. “It’s not just logos,” said Patrick Rose, account manager of the 20-year-old company.
“You have colors, messages, murals and photography. It opens up a lot of creative areas. As an account manager, I can tell you a lot of clients don’t realize the possibilities. You talk to them and then you see the light bulb go on.”
Devil in the Details
Performing décor printing correctly and with flair is not something that’s achieved overnight. Because jobs are custom printed, providers must ensure the panels can be put together in a way suiting the customer’s needs.
For example, if a client wants four-foot-wide sheets and doesn’t want seams showing, “we’ll overlap it by an inch,” Buckley said. “That way, they cut in the overlap, and even if it’s not cut a perfectly straight line, it still matches.”
Another concern of which providers much be aware is that walls are never straight and true, he says. If a wall measures eight by 10 feet, an additional couple of inches should be added in each direct to allow for some trim space.
“And even if the walls are straight and true, the installers are not always straight and true,” Buckley added with a laugh.
The comparative permanency of décor graphics as compared with exhibit or point-of-purchase materials also demands that providers ensure they have the right equipment and materials, Krinsky said. The greater permanency of the medium means control of quality, resolution and color is more important.
“If you are printing a trade show booth and there’s a flaw, it’s not a major problem,” Krinsky said. “But a flaw is unacceptable if someone is sitting in a corporate office six feet away from it...It’s very unforgiving. You can’t use equipment with inks that are going to be fading in six months, and you have to have the right protection, whether that’s a liquid laminate, a regular laminate or a material that doesn’t allow something to be scratched off.”
It’s also critical that the print provider know where the printing will be used. If it’s eight feet above the heads of people in a room, no problem, Krinsky said. But if it’s where a cleaning person can mar it, that problem must be addressed.
Buckley reported capturing good color fidelity is one of the things his shop had to master over time. He once printed a nighttime Manhattan skyline on textured paper for a client, but found that the image came out looking grey. Switching to smooth textured paper resulted in the image quality he sought.
“We find the textured wallpapers don’t do well with rich black,” he said. “You have this texture and the surface that tends to reflect light, and it makes it look grey as opposed to a nice black. So we went with smooth wallpaper.”
Buckley doesn’t advise carrying many types of wallpaper, recommending instead one or two. “Ask your vendor what they sell the most of,” he said. “We basically have a textured wallpaper and a smooth wallpaper.”
For her part, Krinsky believes there is no substitute for long experience in this field. “There are a lot of ways to go wrong,” she says. “It’s a minefield out there, so you have to know what you’re doing. It has to be functional, and work in its setting, and has to last as long as it’s needed to last.”