Customize. Personalize. Have it your own way. Digital printing allows print service providers to give their customers exactly what they want, every time. No wonder décor printing is an area highly attractive to print service providers.
Because it provides an opportunity to decorate bottom lines with profit, the décor market can tempt many PSPs into serving this growing marketplace. Still, those already meeting the needs of décor clients come to the debate with wide-ranging thoughts on trends, opportunities, and pitfalls in interior décor printing.
This month, we’re out to give you a cross section of their thinking on the kinds of interior décor clients that make sense, the equipment strategies best suited to novices, and trends to consider in this swiftly-evolving market niche.
Asked if décor printing is a market that should be considered by print service providers, DeAnn Strenke, marketing manager for Stillwater, MN-based Modernistic, responds with a qualified yes. Some pluses include a movement toward repeatability and sustainability, as well as the pop-up store trend.
“Many retail chains are going to repeatability, so the stores can use decor elements across the chain, both nationwide and throughout the world, to provide each location with a consistent look and feel,” says Strenke, whose company is a third-generation, family-owned wide-format graphics supplier that primarily serves the retail market with point-of-sale items and branded décor.
As a subset of the national and worldwide repeatability, many store chains want regional graphics and décor items for more local store groupings, she says.
Interest in sustainable materials and inks is another trend that may make this the right market niche for PSPs with green inclinations. “People are looking for sustainable substrates, recyclable plastics,” Strenke says. “Sustainable design is one of the fastest growing trends in the decor market. The LEED certification is encouraging use of recyclable materials and earth-friendly inks...For instance, there is a wallpaper that’s paper-based and uses a potato starch for the paste part, as opposed to non-environmentally friendly vinyl.”
One big factor weighing in favor of entering the décor printing market is the growth of the pop-up store concept, in which retail operations designed to be in business only for a few weeks pop up shortly before holidays. “Because regular stores have folded, they can get good space,” she says. “They need décor items they can use to quickly fill up that space. This is a prime market.”
Other trends to be aware of in the décor market include an increasing level of customization and the use of larger sizes, says Debbie Green, owner of Pittsburgh’s Perspectives in Print, a 30-year-old firm that started as a T-shirt printer, then later segued into banners. Perspectives in Print now produces everything from wallpaper to pillows, lampshades, ottomans, and tablecloths for department stores across the country. “That’s our niche,” says Green, who has been working in the décor printing field for perhaps 10 or 12 years.
Green believes clients and customers are seeing décor printing as a way to differentiate themselves and boost their brand. “It’s more custom,” she says.
In addition, wallpaper that is digitally produced “is getting very big,” Green says, noting traditional wallpaper comes in 27-inch wide rolls, while digital can be as wide as 54 inches, making changing out an interior faster and easier.
One décor printing development just now gaining momentum is custom “do it yourself” wallpaper, says Paul Kranabetter, partner in Surrey, BC’s Tower Graphics. “Up to this point, production costs, difficult installation, and trying to find proper high-quality images have made it almost impossible for a DIY home owner or business owner to do a custom wall mural,” he says.