Chicago, IL-based Andrés Imaging & Graphics, Inc. began producing digital wallcoverings in the early 1990s using an electrostatic four-color print process on canvas media. Evolving with the industry, the shop soon started using solvent ink on artist canvas. After 35 years in business, the company continues to adopt and excel at wallcoverings as well other applications thanks to advancements in UV technology and media composition.
As discussed in previous installments of this series on digital wallcoverings, methods involving UV printing simplify the production of wallcoverings due to more flexible inks and greater adhesion. Additionally, media suppliers continue to develop products featuring advanced repositionability for easy installation.
Andrés Imaging originated as a commercial, custom photo lab, which produced prints and backlit transparencies for Chicago, IL-based advertising agencies. In 2001 the shop moved to a 44,000 square foot facility to encompass large format display and signage production. Today the shop employs 65 technicians, digital artists, and support employees. In 2007, Andrés Imaging acquired a 68,000 square foot building for warehousing finished goods and materials.
Approximately 15 to 20 percent of the shop’s output consists of wallcoverings. "Custom wallcoverings for both retail and corporate are far more attractive and applicable to business models than off-the-shelf wallpaper," explains Richard Cappelletti, president, Andrés Imaging.
Cappelletti believes that wallcoverings provide affordable, custom branded products on a large format scale in a retail environment. Custom branding also applies on a corporate scale, "a company can display a message or create an attractive working environment for its employees," he adds.
High-profile clients such as Harley Davidson Motor Co., Levi Strauss & Co., Macy’s, and Old Navy request wallcoverings from Andrés Imaging.
The shop utilizes EFI VUTEk large format roll-to-roll printers with EFI UV-curable ink for wallcoverings. Material is dependent on the application. Andrés Imaging uses media from 3M Graphics Market Center, Avery Dennison, Catalina Graphic Films, Inc., DreamScape, Fisher Textiles Inc., KoroGraphics, LexJet Corporation, and Neschen Americas.
Andrés Imaging recently completed a job for The Warranty Group’s global headquarters in Chicago, IL. The company wanted to remodel its workspace by adding warmth, color, and contemporary design without distraction while matching the company’s PMS logo colors. Cappelletti refers to it as corporate branding; a trend occurring locally and globally.
The shop used its EFI VUTEk printers with UV-curable ink to produce a variety of wallcoverings and cut plexi, acrylic, and vinyl. Several elements were placed throughout the offices to create a pleasant working environment. The company logo appears throughout individual associates’ cubicles, plexiglas dividers also showcase the logo, building columns are wrapped with white opaque cut vinyl icons, and vending machines are decorated with logos as well.
Cappelletti reports that the branding project received such a positive response, the above floor adopted new décor as well. The Warranty Group has offices in 33 countries, and this first project is the beginning of a worldwide corporate branding effort.
Tricks of the Trade
Andrés Imaging is an innovative leader in digital wallcoverings, as evident from its list of high-profile clients and the success of The Warranty Group project. Creating countless wallcoverings translates to years of experience, and places Cappelletti in the position to dole out quality advice to any print shop provider looking to offer wallcoverings for the first time.
Cappelletti suggests surveying sites prior to installation. "The biggest challenge associated with installing wallcoverings is new construction. Site surveys conducted later in the construction process alert installers to any conditions that may affect image placement, wall condition, or interruptions from on-going construction," he explains.
Wall condition is critical to a successful wallcovering installation. To gain more advice from end users such as Cappelletti and media manufacturers read our full feature article on wallcoverings in the August print issue of Digital Output.