Humans have been using artwork to enhance and beautify their surroundings for thousands of years. In fact, the earliest wall art was found in Europe over 40,000 years ago within caves discovered in Cantabria, Spain.
Early wall art, beautiful but primitive by today’s standards was clearly personal to those who inhabited the caves and was intended to reproduce events and moments important to the inhabitants lives. Fresco’s, better known as murals were created later on throughout antiquity with the use of pigments that were mixed before being painted onto plaster.
The passage of time has provided many innovations and new methods of print production thus providing people with the ability to personalize their own living spaces in ways that are easier than ever before.
In recent years, the development of large format digital printing devices has lead to an explosion of personalized art culminating in a range of digitally printable papers and textiles for use in the home or the office. Being a digital printing process there are no traditional set up costs associated with production, thus one-off commissions are both practical and affordable.
Digitally printable display products are available in a variety of textures and finishes and so they can be equally at home in a wide variety of different environments ranging from shops, exhibition stands, restaurants and offices.
From a practical perspective, the prospect of hanging wallpaper may not be appealing to the un-initiated or for those with a lack of basic DIY skills, however thanks to a new range of self adhesive products this may not be as daunting as one would first imagine. Modern printed display graphics can be output onto textile based fabrics that are all but impossible to tear and thanks to a re-positionable self adhesive backing can be removed and re-applied countless times for the perfect fit.
The ability to self-install printed display graphics such as self-adhesive textile prints has made the prospect of printing and installing such products affordable to all. This has lead to a greater number of people turning to personalized wall coverings as a viable alternative to off the shelf products for use in homes as well as within larger businesses.
In terms of the variety of designs that can be reproduced, this is only limited by ones imagination. For those looking to create their own, unique environment the sky really is the limit. Scenic landscapes, abstract art or traditional designs can be translated into display graphics by using either commercially available stock photographs or perhaps by contracting a professional illustrator or graphic designer to produce a unique commission.
As well as providing rich, vibrant colours and high levels of graphical detail, modern print processes are also providing high levels of durability that perhaps only a few years ago were not possible. New latex printing technology as pioneered by Hewlett Packard utilizes durable, polymer based ink that when cured is resistant to UV fading and moisture. When printed using such technologies, printable display graphics can be cared for easily by wiping the material over with a soft, damp cloth thus making them suitable for use in areas such as restaurants or children’s bedrooms where accidental damage is more likely to occur.
With a greater number people in a growing world, the need to stand out and be recognized is growing ever more important to businesses and individuals alike and so over the course of the coming years it is inevitable therefore that the penetration of personalized products is going to become increasingly prevalent within our lives.
Perhaps in the not too distant future we may even see ‘off the shelf’ wall coverings disappear altogether?