Textile media options are expanding for the digital wide format printing space. In addition to the characteristics and product highlights, specific trends fuel continued growth in this market. Tendencies toward environmentally friendly media are consistent as client demands often encourage the use of eco-friendly solutions.
“There is no one trend that is dominate in the market today,” notes Jeff Sanders, digital fabrics sales manager, Pacific Coast Fabrics. He explains that as print machinery and inks continue to improve and become increasingly versatile, they open up a range of new printing possibilities that in years past were dominated by rigid substrates.
“The hottest trend that we’ve embraced is environmentally friendly materials. Why? It’s the right thing to do and it’s available now,” suggests Matt Devlin, VP, business development, North America, NatureWoven, Natural AdCampaign. He notes that other trends are typically hinged on unique applications and quality. “There are some very savvy print vendors out there creating wonderful and unique signage—and any of these call for sustainable materials, and recently this demand has been increasing,” he adds.
Fabrics for use in a channel framing system are hot right now, states Mike Richardson, director of sales/marketing – print media, Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc. This is because it provides a lightweight system that is easy to transport and install. “A silicone or PVC strip is sewn into the fabric and inserted into the frame. These are being used for both frontlit and backlit applications in retail and exhibit displays,” he adds.
The use of textiles for trade show graphics presents a lighter weight option, helping to reduce shipping and rigging costs, notes Matt Myers, business development manager, media, Neschen Americas. “Many printable textiles also provide wrinkle resistance, making it easier to install graphics and taking less time to repair since wrinkles don’t need to be steamed out,” he adds.
Scott Fisher, president, Fisher Textiles, Inc., notices a trend toward backlit fabrics for light boxes. “This application has recently moved into retail advertising, a new market,” he explains. Light boxes are traditionally used in trade show environments, and are fairly new to the retail scene. Benefits include easy install, enhanced visual appearance, and flame retardancy.
The indoor décor market is also a target for textiles. Lorna D’Alessio, director of print media sales, Top Value Fabrics, notes that the top two trends in printable textile media are self-adhesive wallcovering and textiles for canvas printing. “Advancements make these textiles an affordable luxury for boardrooms, skyboxes, and museums,” she notes. A boom in residential applications is also apparent, especially due to the availability of non-toxic, PVC-free wallcovering media.
For retail-based décor, the magnetic-receptive system from Visual Magnetics Ltd. is a trendy option. “Using magnetic-receptive printable textiles is very popular for wallcoverings and point of sale displays, as fabrics create a luxurious look and feel and the image can be matched to the print media to bring a life-like experience to any type of printed graphic,” says Dan Halkyard, director of marketing and product management, Visual Magnetics.