My Recap From the Wide-Format Summit
This summer, I was honored to be included as a speaker at the Wide-format Summit in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. My presentation, Diving into Décor, focused on the possibilities for wide-format printers in the interior space. I started by pointing out a trend I've noticed: when printers enter interiors, they all begin with wallcoverings. While this is an easy first step, wallcovering has quickly become saturated. Yet, many other printable products are out there, perfect for commercial and residential markets.
Some of the materials I described are:
- Acoustic solutions such as dividers, walls, and artwork
- Glass and plexiglass for partitions and walls
- Vinyl flooring, carpets, and rugs
- Laminates for tabletop and walls
- Wood for panels, tabletops, and floors
- Dibond for dividers, walls, and tabletops
- Window films for windows and doors
- Ceiling tiles and light lenses
- Tiles for tabletops and walls
I also addressed some of the challenges for printers getting into the market.
Where do printers find artwork?
Printers can find artwork by buying artwork from a designer, licensing a design from a library such as Design Pool, working with a designer to create something original, or using a customer's artwork.
What type of specifications and testing requirements do interior designers require?
Product specs generally include content, installation, cleaning, and warranty information. They will also want to know ACT standards if you're printing textiles.
What information do designers want to know about environmental impact?
Designers want to know what the material is made from and where it was made. Also, if it qualifies for certifications such as LEED, REACH, or Living Building Challenge.
How do I describe pricing?
Pricing should be clearly stated per unit, and make sure it's clear what that unit is. For example, is it a linear yard or a square yard?
Looking into My Crystal Ball
I ended my presentations with predictions about how the industry will grow. I see so much potential for printers to offer better products, more options, and increased customization. I also see more interior designers and architects using customization to put their own branding stamp on projects. Lastly, I see this technology empowering more people to think more creatively. For example, interior designers having their own exclusive line of patterns.
When I wasn't Presenting, I was Listening
The Wide-Format Summit is always informative and a welcoming place to talk and network with others. As an attendee, three themes stood out while listening to printers.
Sustainability is hardly a new trend, but I was struck by the reason so many printers were talking about it. It's because their customers are pushing it. And they're pushing it in some interesting ways. It's not enough to say something is made from recycled materials. They want to know more, such as the environmental footprint of their facility, or what ingredients are in the inks.
Printers are all feeling "the Amazon effect." People have gotten used to getting what they want the next day. This is challenging for printers who don't have products on shelves waiting for orders but need to print a product physically. It has them thinking about how they can address the issue of timing without sacrificing quality.
Customers are eager to establish longer term relationships with printers and place a high priority on customer service. This can be a challenge, as they also want speed and sustainability. Yet those printers willing to put in the time to build trust will be rewarded with loyal customers.
Thanks, as always, to the Wide-format Impressions and Printing United Alliance teams for inviting me to speak. I look forward to presenting again at the Printing United Expo in Atlanta this October. Hopefully, I’ll see you there!
Related story: 2023 Wide Format Summit: Recap and Key Takeaways
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.