“Print everything” takes off
You can decorate your living room with your best photo, make a 3D doll out of your child’s drawing, or decorate a door, a sofa, your curtains or shower tiles with any image you want, and you can get it done quickly and at a reasonable price. The latest advances in digital printing and the versatility of the materials used make virtually anything possible. The notion that you can “print whatever you want wherever you are” has come of age.
Printing and image come together in Fira de Barcelona with the joint celebration of graphispag.digital and Sonimagfoto & Multimedia. Both fairs, which were held in April, showcase printing technology, innovative materials and systems for capturing, treating and editing images, and the combination of these processes have created a wealth of new products and applications for visual and graphic communication for professionals and industry, but also for individual consumers.
Daniel Pérez, from the interior design studio Egue & Seta, says that “digital printing offers impressive solutions at a very interesting price”. This fall in prices has been a crucial factor, according to César Díaz, the sales and production manager at Sabaté: “In the past, graphics applications were basically for fairs and exhibitions. Today, interior designers, architects and window-dressers have become important clients for our products.” That explains why Sabaté is focusing on 3D graphics, offering clients the choice of customizing new pieces, such as chairs, tables and shelf units.
Clorofiladigital, a company with 30 years’ experience in the sector, is also expanding into this area. José Luís Cano, its director, azures us that “technology makes it easy to apply our artistic abilities to more and more support materials”. There are no limits to your imagination: washing machines with the New York skyline, headboards with photos of Marilyn, walls with a realistic autumn landscape, or floors with a map of the city metro.
Others, such as Pixartprinting, allow you to design your own armchair online, which they then print and deliver to your house within a few days for a modest sum. There are countless examples, some of which are really original, like the Crayon Creatures, which make 3D prints of kids’ drawings, giving the suns, giraffes, children and houses drawn by children a “three-dimensional life” .
Forever.us has livened up the funeral sector with its offer of personal gravestones that can be ordered online, complete with photos, images, drawings and epitaphs, and a QR code that links to a biography of the deceased.
Opportunities in the textile trade
Among the many supports available, the rapid expansion of the use of textiles stands out because there are many entrepreneurs who see business opportunities there. This is the case of stikets.com, a small company based in Igualada which prints personal labels to identify children’s clothes. Stephanie Marko, one of the two founders, says, “there is a market for companies of clients that want small runs of personal, affordable products”.
Another start-up which is growing with digital textile printing is La Fibra Creativa, founded by France Buyle. The webpage of this patchwork fanatic offers to print exclusive photos, drawings and designs on silk, cotton or linen scarves, with no minimum order. Buyle firmly believes that ” its flexibility will ensure that part of the screen printing trade will switch to digital printing” and “we will see the resurgence of part of the local textile activity which has disappeared in the last few decades”.
Printing photos to give as mementos
We accumulate thousands of photos on our smartphones, laptops and in social networks… But, which ones do we print? Traditional paper printing has been in steep decline for years, but there are other ways to print our photos and offer them as keepsakes.
Hofmann, Fotoprix, Kodak and Fann are only a few of the companies that offer thousands of possibilities on their websites: photo albums, mugs, canvases, calendars, posters, tote bags or even mobile phone cases. According to HP, this market is growing strongly in Europe and will generate more than €780M in 2015. It’s a business that is growing more and more online. According to InfoTrends, in 2013 75% of photo products will be purchased online.