May 22, 2024
Digitally Printed Wallpaper

Innovative Design Solutions: The Rise of Digitally Printed Wallpaper

The Advent of Digital Printing

Over the past decade, digital printing technology has advanced rapidly, allowing for highly detailed and customizable designs that were previously impossible with traditional printing methods. Where wallpaper was once limited to repeating patterns, digital printing has opened up new possibilities for one-of-a-kind murals, photorealistic scenes, and custom artwork. Instead of cylinders, digital printers use inkjet cartridges to deposit microscopic droplets of ink with photo-realistic quality onto a wide variety of surfaces. This allows digital wallpaper to be printed on traditional non-woven backing for traditional wallpaper installation or alternative surfaces like vinyl suitable for commercial applications.

More Design Freedom and Customization

The digitization of the printing process means designers have almost unlimited freedom when it comes to creating Digitally Printed Wallpaper designs. Complex photographic scenes, bespoke patterns, collaborations with artists—all can be reproduced with pin-point precision at large scale. Digital wallpapers can also be customized for specific spaces. Homeowners can work with designers to incorporate personal photos, artwork or influences unique to their home. Digital printing even allows for versioning, so the same base design can be subtly adapted for different rooms or design schemes within a home. This level of customization was unheard of just a decade ago.

Commercial Applications are Growing

While digitally printed wallpaper was initially focused on the residential, its applications are rapidly expanding into commercial spaces. Hotels, restaurants, retailers and office spaces are drawn to the dynamic, eye-catching designs and ability to match custom branding. Further, digital wallpaper is more durable than traditional paper-based wallcoverings and ideal for high-traffic environments where wall surfaces take a daily beating. Some wallpapers are printed on thin, flexible vinyl suitable for application around complex architectural features like columns or curved walls. They are easily cleaned and resistant to stains, peeling, and fading even in humid or wet areas like bathrooms. As such, architects, designers and facility managers are increasingly specifying digitally printed wallpaper for commercial interiors.

New Techniques Develop Continually

Technological progress in the digital printing field continues at a rapid pace. New inks, printheads, and multi-pass printing are allowing for even more realistic textures and tactile qualities in wallpaper. Some techniques mimic the appearance of materials like stone, metal or wood while remaining completely flat for easy installation. Interactive wallpapers with embedded technology are in development, including designs with changeable colors, lighting, or ambient sound capabilities. The applications are diverse, from wayfinding to sensory experiences. Sustainable digitally printed wallpapers using botanical inks are also emerging. By leveraging ongoing developments in digital materials and assembly, new techniques will further push the boundaries of what can be achieved through digitally printed wallpaper design.

Wider Adoption in the Design Community

As digital printing technology improves, designers and specifiers are recognizing Digitally Printed Wallpaper as a strong interior design element rather than something to avoid. Architects like Rogers Stirk Harbour are embracing its scale, texture and visual impact within high-end residential and workplace projects. Design publications now regularly feature digitally printed wall coverings as a focal point rather than background element. Leading commercial wallpaper companies like Graham & Brown have digitized their operations and opened vast online design libraries. E-commerce offers an easy purchasing process for one-offs or multi-room installations. With greater exposure and availability through these channels, digitally printed wallpaper adoption will likely accelerate across all sectors in coming years.

Sustainable and Local Production Trends

The digitization of wallpaper printing inherently reduces material waste compared to traditional surface design. However, companies recognize an opportunity to further optimize production processes and supply chains for sustainability. Some are investing in local manufacturing to eliminate long-distance freight transportation. Others emphasize renewable resources like botanical inks, FSC-certified paper backings, recyclable vinyl, and quick-degrading adhesives. Digital production also allows on-demand printing to create only what is needed and avoid over-production and storage of surplus stock—another efficiency. As consumer focus on sustainability intensifies, these eco-conscious production strategies will be crucial for wallpaper companies to remain competitive and offer responsible design solutions.

Increasingly Versatile and Impactful Designs

From large-scale photomurals to intricate bespoke patterns, the rise of digitally printed wallpaper has expanded design potential exponentially. No longer limited to repeating motifs, these coverings can transform a space through immersive visual storytelling or textural details. Further technological strides continue pushing the envelope on realistic simulations and multi-sensory experiences. Whether subtly enhancing residential interiors or boldly expressing architectural vision and branding, digitally printed wallpaper is establishing itself as a leading surface design medium. Its high-resolution, customizable nature positions it well to deepen engagement across diverse design applications into the future.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it