I’ve always said that the magic of the large format inkjet printers is in the media. Each medium has its own use and application, allowing you to sell products into different vertical markets. So it’s important to understand what inkjet media can do in order to determine what markets you can go after. Quite often a printing business can develop a whole new customer base by understanding inkjet media. I’d like to look at some of the new and unique inkjet media being used in the marketplace.
Custom Décor Sells
For many print companies, custom wall graphics is a good, profitable business that caters to the home and office décor market. Wall murals and custom wallpaper are among the most obvious examples of custom décor treatments, and there are many inkjet media manufacturers coming to the market with innovative products. Perception Wide Format Media has released a repositionable wall graphic fabric made of 100 percent-recycled water bottles. “We’ve had an overwhelming response to this new product, particularly from the major retailers and high-end interior designers,” said Jim Tufts, Business Unit Manager, Perception Wide Format Media. “Its greater opacity virtually eliminates any see-through of the surface to which it’s applied,” he added. “Retailers and end users looking for an upscale look and feel will appreciate the high print density which provides photo realistic imaging and fine line details.”
The nice thing is, the ability to produce these custom décor products may already be in your shop if you own a large format inkjet printer. Laura Reynolds, owner of Print Write Now in Ruidoso, N.M., knew she had an unusual and exciting large format printing project ahead of her when a company looking for decoration of a new Irish pub and restaurant approached her. Reynolds printed eighteen 40 in. x 40 in. panels on LexJet Water-Resistant Polypropylene with her Canon large format printer, which was applied with wallpaper paste to the ceilings and the customer loved it. The key is letting your customers know about the capabilities of your large format inkjet printer and its media.
Metallic Papers and Canvas
Aqueous based inkjet printers still play a big role when it comes to fine art printing. Serious photographers and artists choose pigmented ink printers, for the simple fact that the pigment ink has a long archival life. Pigment inks perform beautifully on the new metallic papers and canvas. In hopes of recreating the popular look of Kodak Endura Metallic papers, many inkjet media manufacturers have now developed a line of metallic paper and canvas media. Images produced using HDR techniques look superb when printed on the new metallic media.
New to the market as of last year is the Hahnemuehle Metallic Canvas. It is a groundbreaking new inkjet medium with a depth and the vibrancy of colour that is simply breathtaking. The right image printed on this metallic canvas is outstanding. The surface has a white pearl appearance with a fairly subtle canvas texture. Landscape and nature photography can greatly benefit from this metallic canvas as well as architectural images and brightly coloured abstract work. It is more expensive to print on compared to regular inkjet canvas, but the results are worth it and it provides another unique way for you to distinguish yourself from the competitors.
Attempting to influence drivers with eye-catching visuals and marketing messages is nothing new. Today we find more and more businesses are using the bodies of cars, vans and trucks as the advertising medium of choice. It’s a great way to have a travelling billboard with your message on it. However, solid colour vehicle wraps are also now becoming popular and we predict that their popularity will continue into 2015 as wrap vinyl manufacturers continue to innovate and bring out new inkjet media products. Solid colour wraps such as trendy matte black will continue to be popular, as well as new colours such as matte orange, blue, green, pink. Car dealers have picked up on this idea and are now starting to offer solid colour wraps even on brand new vehicles. A study by Mountain View, California based analysis and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has estimated that the vehicle wrap industry generated $220 to $250 million at the retail level. The same study also projected 10 percent year-over-year vehicle wrap market growth over the next several years.
We could say so much more about the exciting new inkjet media coming to the market, but my space has run out and we’ll have to leave this for a follow-up article in the near future. Until then, happy printing!