by IPM Staff
A range of prospects from residential interior designers to commercial property managers look for unique designs that reflect their customers’ aesthetics. Digital printing technologies provide cost-effective runs as low as one at high visual quality to meet these new demands.
Above: Graphic Image Flooring uses an EFI VUTEk LX3 Pro to print its flooring. Large rolls of sheet vinyl measuring up to ten feet wide and 50 feet long are run on the device with patterns from Design Pool’s predesigned library.
From wallcoverings to flooring, the personalization capabilities are endless. What do you get when you combine a well-respected and influential design company with a knowledgeable and ahead-of-the-trends manufacturer? A successful partnership that yields custom, digitally printed flooring.
Based in Sheboygan, WI, Graphic Image Flooring celebrates nearly eight years in business. The company manufactures flooring for interior designers and architects, marketing and event companies, property managers, and direct to consumer. These requests are commonly found in commercial properties, residential areas, trade show venues, event spaces, and the marine market throughout North America.
Most of the manufacturer’s work is completed using digital wide format printing with screenprinting as an available alternative. According to Tim Wirtz, founder/CEO, Graphic Image Flooring, digital is the only technology that allows the company to deliver a floor that is ten feet wide before a seam. “It is clean, efficient, and delivers incredible details right down to an eyelash in some cases. There are just no other technologies that can match up while offering a reasonable price point for the end user.”
Graphic Image Flooring uses an EFI VUTEk LX3 Pro. Rolls of sheet vinyl measuring up to ten feet wide and 50 feet long are run on the device. Operating in two shifts, the EFI VUTEk LX3 Pro is equipped with ink that is vibrant, flexible, and opaque—ideal characteristics for custom flooring.
Large, minimally seamless floors are where Graphic Image Flooring excels, however it recently expanded into modular flooring as well as logo and printed floor mats. And just because the EFI VUTEk LX3 Pro’s width caps at ten feet, doesn’t mean wider projects aren’t possible. Seaming or multiple rolls are required in these scenarios, but the final size is infinite.
Wirtz admits that while digital printing is the dominant technology, substrate or quantity are key factors when determining a decorative method. He cites savings to the end user as a driving consideration and always favors more cost-effective production.
Fresh Flooring Designs
In July 2020, Graphic Image Flooring expanded its reach further through a lucrative partnership with East Hampstead, NH-based Design Pool, LLC—a company offering an extensive library of original, licensable patterns for interior design. It connects interior designers, architects, and product designers with manufacturers like Graphic Image Flooring to create a seamless, print on demand experience that yields low minimums and less waste.
Kristen Dettoni, founder/president, Design Pool, recognizes the advantages wide format digital print brings to interior design. “It’s made possible the ability to use print on demand technology for products requiring wide width materials, such as flooring, fabrics, or wallpaper. Without size restrictions, interior designers can use this technology to its fullest and customize products in any type of residential or commercial interior space.”
For Wirtz, partnering with Design Pool was a no brainer, as his customers had noted a desire to utilize predesigned patterns. “The goal is easy. Leverage a leader in design to introduce and satisfy the countless customers in North America yearning for fresh designs for their floors.”
“We believe the best partnerships exist when both parties see value and support each other. We felt that with Graphic Image Flooring from the very beginning and are so excited to work together. We think their customers are excited to have access to designs from our extensive library,” adds Dettoni.
Thanks to Design Pools’ library of vector files, customers are able to choose from a large catalog of predesigned patterns each offered in five colorways that are available in unlimited sizes without modifications. Graphic Image Flooring’s designers do not have to waste valuable time and resources re-sizing images.
An added bonus, vector-based designs translate well to other elements besides floors like walls and furniture. “We believe this provides the widest level of designed products that can be used with a single coordinated design. We are not aware of anyone else doing this today,” notes Wirtz.
“Design Pool allows us to provide consumers with cutting edge designs that are personal to their space. Large flooring producers do not offer customers the ability to personalize or customize. With modern designs to choose from we can constantly update and bring fresh options,” he explains.
A typical order involving Design Pool begins with the customer selecting a design—both pattern and color. Graphic Image Flooring reviews the dimensions of the customer’s space, adjusting elements to meet the customer’s wishes. Lastly, the type of vinyl used is determined. There are typically two choices—a 1.3 millimeter (mm) thick residential grade or a 1.9 mm thick commercial grade.
Setting Graphic Image Flooring apart from the competition is its ability to print up to ten feet wide and the vinyl material used. Other finished floors are just under five feet wide and 33 feet long before a seam, whereas Graphic Image Flooring offers up to ten feet wide and 50 feet long.
The print is on the underside of the vinyl, providing a thick, durable wear layer. The wear layer, according to Wirtz, is nearly three times thicker for residential grade and four times thicker for commercial grade. “Wear layer is the critical element to the lifespan of a vinyl floor, so we feel we offer the consumer the best combination of durability and size for a quick and successful installation,” he adds.
With a combination of efficient in-house digital printing technology and Design Pool’s vast selection of vector-based patterns, Graphic Image Flooring offers its customers fast turnaround times. Production is usually five to ten business days on all projects.
A Successful Partnership
Print on demand drives interior design. Buyers from all backgrounds want something one-of-a-kind in their space. Graphic Image Flooring leverages this demand with specialized vinyl flooring. It upped the ante by partnering with Design Pool, a provider of predesigned patterns. IPM
Nov2020, Industrial Print Magazine