Exploring New Windows of Opportunity in Wide-Format Printing
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Exploring New Windows of Opportunity in Wide-Format Printing

Once upon a time, before the advent of wide format printing and fade resistant inks, window treatment manufacturers were confined to offering single colors and replicated patterns, but today the sky can be the limit.

By Bill Lee, DesignsbySpirit.com

Today, with wide format printing inks offering five years fade resistance and beyond.

Clarke Systems Architectural Signage Systems Wayfinding ADA

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  • Once upon a time, before the advent of wide format printing and fade resistant inks, window treatment manufacturers were confined to offering single colors and replicated patterns. Today, with wide format printing inks offering five years fade resistance and beyond, coupled with an increasing variety of roll-fed substrates, including; vinyl, cotton and polyester fabrics as well as conventional and recycled solar screen, major window treatment manufactures/distributors, such as; Hunter Douglas, Newell Rubbermaid, Comfortex and Budget Blinds, to name just a few, are now exploring the virtually infinite possibilities associated with wide format printing.

    With virtually infinite selection possibilities, ranging from customer submitted digital photos/files and millions of selections available through online image libraries, to color visualization programs, which allow customers to custom colorize replicated patterns, the rush is on to revolutionize the way window treatments are viewed.

    However, the success of custom printed window treatments will invariably depend upon those who can offer wide format printing expertise, factory direct pricing and who keep abreast of the latest fade resistant technologies and substrates.

    Meaning, companies directly involved in fade resistant wide format printing.

    With millions of windows to cover and exceptionally high volume square footage potential, those willing to learn the basic fundamentals associated with roller shade fabrication (a relatively simple process) or partner with those already familiar with window treatment manufacture/distribution, will be able to fully explore an increasingly growing new window of opportunity.

    However, it's important to remember, unlike wall art, which is framed to fit the selection, custom printed window treatments require selections fit to pre-existing frames and, although a waterfall may seem like a good idea, when partially open or installed in more than one window, the idea may fall short of expectations. A photo of a favorite pet may look adorable with the shade closed but, when partially opened, the same adorable animal may lose its' head and, with legs and tail dangling in mid-air, that can cast a surrealistic pall over an entire room.

    Although 'virtually infinite' selections offer significant advantages over conventional window treatments, you may also find, asking customers what they'd like in their window frame, not unlike asking what they'd like on their pizza, without offering a basic menu. If they've never tasted pizza before, it can become a long, drawn out, and often unpalatable process.

    Of course, taste is subjective, but you may wish to consider complimenting virtually infinite selection possibilities by also offering a small library of finite probabilities. A menu of toppings, if you will, designed to compliment the widest variety of window frame orientations while keeping in mind the basic fundamentals by also offering an aesthetic appeal both closed and upon opening.

    When it comes to presentation, window treatment and interior design professionals often spend tens of thousands of dollars on showroom displays, carry-along displays, swatch books and product catalogues. That's because customers expect to see color accurate representations, prior to purchase. After all, what you view is important and window treatments are often a major focal point in interior design consideration.

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    Color accurate swatch samples are just one more reason to explore the finite probabilities associated with offering a small yet conducive library and, in the long run, printing a few color accurate swatches may save you both time and money.

    In addition to color accurate swatch samples, one of the most effective ways to both test and showcase selections is to incorporate a variety of room templates. These templates can be used to offer close representations how selections will appear both closed and upon opening as well as within a variety of window frame orientations.

    Once you develop these templates, you may be surprised. What might have seemed an ideal selection may visually appear to shift an entire room to one side or what may have seemed an unobvious choice may transform a room into an oasis of beauty, balance and harmony.

    When it comes to choosing selections, symmetrical design, also known as the 'flower of life', is just one, amongst several design possibilities, you might wish to explore.

    Whether closed or partially open, symmetrical design can promote a balanced environment and, when installed in more than one window frame, also flow smoothly from one window to the next. Symmetrical design is also uniquely conducive to resizing selections to fit a wide variety of window frame orientations from square to portrait and landscape, without cropping. Including a few nature elements into your selections, such as; leaves, flowers, hummingbirds and butterflies, will also offer a conducive window into the outdoors.

    Finally, if you really want to dazzle, mesmerize and virtually hypnotize your audience, try incorporating your selections into a large format video presentation using a daylight projector. Although swatch samples can offer a color accurate representation and show off the actual material, large format projector presentations will allow your customers to preview selections in greater detail and also get a better feel for the room-transforming environment your selections offer.

    If you're considering exploring new horizons in wide format printing, custom printed window treatments are definitely worth taking a closer look at. But, you may wish to keep in mind, offering infinite selection possibilities may not offer the most streamlined approach and, although developing your own library may require a bit more thought and exploration, in the long run, it may just be your best choice.

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