On-Demand Printing is Entering the World of Interior Design
As on-demand, digital printing technology has improved, its possibilities for use have grown exponentially. What used to be reserved for DIY-ers and small projects is now available for commercial and residential interior markets. Printing capabilities now encompass performance materials that pass all necessary tests for commercial applications. These developments make it an exciting time to be both a pattern designer and an interior designer.
From a pattern design perspective, this technology opens up a world of creative opportunity. Designs are no longer limited to established repeat sizes, or any repeats at all, nor are they limited to a set number of colors in a design. No limits on the number of colors allow a designer to create shaded and watercolor effects, or add interesting texture rather than depending on flat areas of color.
Interior designers also have more creative freedom. With the restriction of high minimums or added costs removed, designers instantly have the freedom to make a project truly one-of-a-kind. They can customize projects, no matter the project’s size or budget, or work directly with pattern designers to match a color exactly or change the scale of a design.
Where is On-Demand Printing in Interior Design?
Upholstery selection in a space is a critical element of any interior design project. Whether it will be used in a home or a hotel, there are performance requirements for its use. Interior designers chose materials based on how it needs to perform in a space first. Next, they make selections based on pattern, color, and texture. For example, a restaurant needs upholstery to withstand the frequent turnover of bodies sitting down and standing up, while a healthcare facility needs upholstery to withstand rigorous cleaning and disinfecting. Printers such as New Hampshire-based LDI Interiors digitally print on PVC-free faux leathers that perform for all commercial needs. Interior designers customize projects with fabric printed just for their project, in the exact color they need.
Office spaces were already undergoing a significant shift in style and function before COVID hit. Now, as people begin to go back to offices, new requirements are popping up. Offices need to be adaptable to changing circumstances. Acoustic panels have a wide range of uses for commercial interiors. First, they help reduce noise levels. More than that though, they can also be used as moveable walls to section off areas for privacy or social distancing. Digitally printing on these panels, such as those printed by Arizona printer Image Craft, makes them aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.
Flooring in commercial interiors was historically much more difficult to customize with design interest. Digital printers such as Graphic Image Flooring in Wisconsin print directly onto vinyl flooring. Interior designers order specific sizes and incorporate design interest into spaces previously overlooked, such as a small bathroom. They also open the door to more creativity in temporary spaces such as trade show booths or seasonal pop-up shops.
And with any application, there is also the added benefit of branding.
Not all commercial spaces need branding in every design element, but having the flexibility to add it when appropriate is a major benefit. Maybe it would be perfect for an accent wall in a lobby, or flooring near an entrance. On-demand printing makes that easy and affordable to do.
As this technology continues to grow, one thing is for sure. The printers who will stand out in the interior design market will be the printers who invest in high-quality design and skilled designers. That means working with designs and colors that are on-trend, and created with a knowledge of the needs of the industry.
Kristen Dettoni is the founder and CEO of Design Pool LLC, the only pattern library created exclusively for interior designers. Since 1996, Kristen has worked for mills throughout North America, designing fabrics for automobiles, furniture, and home furnishings. She developed the first sustainable upholstery fabric for office interiors, the first sustainable upholstery fabric for automotive interiors, and was awarded a patent for automotive suspension seating. Kristen believes strongly in the power of good design to transform our environments and experiences.