What's the difference between wall graphics and wallpaper? Both are good options for digital printing
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By Sophie Matthews-Paul
10 January 2012
HP's latex printing technology is proving popular for all kinds of wall covering
Viewed very much as a growing market for wide-format digital print, wall coverings in all their guises are now moving out of a purely niche sector and more into the mainstream for users of ink-jet devices. As a natural adjunct to more conventional displays, the potential remains considerable for covering offices and, indeed, domestic environments with graphics and customised wallpapers.
This type of job can also carry the benefits that, by not representing run-of-mill display applications which are based so often on square-metre price, those ordering specific wall coverings are often happy to pay the deserved premium. Non-repetitive, and frequently unique, a personalised wall decoration performs aesthetic duties as well as filling an interior designer's criteria or, even, meeting architectural requirements. Additionally, there is nothing to stop a homeowner using digitally produced print to cover a blank space with something a little different.
Wall graphics in display terminology lend one to think of signs, posters and other adornments which are designed to promote goods or services, or to provide information. With decorative elements now moving more into wide-format, there's no reason why a photograph or fine art print cannot be reproduced up to mural size. There's a good range of media including canvases as well as more typical gloss, matte and satin papers, currently available in large sizes. And all these lend themselves to be used as wall graphics, either behind glass or stretched over a frame. Other benefits mean that photographers and artists can now print to order, instead of having to calculate the right run length for a limited edition, and purchasers of prints normally have a choice of material, size and finish.
Wallpaper is the stuff many homes are made of, in terms of interior coverings. Again, now that wide-format digital print is making in-roads into more eclectic segments, potential purchasers are no longer just restricted to rummaging through sample books and choosing from a manufacturer's often limited range. Search the internet, and there's a broad choice available with many companies offering to reproduce individual designs rather than merely standard patterns, thus broadening options.
Wall graphics and wallpapers have evolved into the world of personalisation, thanks to digital print. Whereas the former tend to be a movable feast, coverings tend to have a greater permanence yet, these days, they're straightforward to replace and this increases their appeal for commercial premises and residential interiors.
Many sign-makers and display producers looking to find new production areas are, not surprisingly, investigating the whole segment for wall coverings ever more closely. This is yet another specialist arena whose doors have been opened by the versatility of digital print.
Click here to read Laurel Brunner's response to the Question of the Week, What's the difference between wall graphics and wallpaper? What do you think? Use the comments form below to give your opinion.
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