By Courtney Saba
Businesses large and small benefit from a touch of personalization. Digitally printed wallcoverings are one way to achieve this. Today’s print service providers (PSPs) recognize the appeal of this application as both a design element and a way to positively promote a brand. Typically found in environments from retail to trade shows, home décor and hospitality, wallcoverings are an option wherever there is a wall.
Christopher Fragala, owner, Dolce Design New York, began his first business in 1996. It was a sign company where the majority of the work was done with paint and plotter cut vinyl, specializing in vehicle branding and custom signs.
In 2005 he decided to take the business in the direction of digital wide format, graphic design, and sign and banners. At the time, Fragala purchased his first digital printer, a 54-inch Roland DGA Corporation VersaCAMM VP-540.
Today the 100 percent digital business is located in Farmingdale, NY—the heart of Long Island—which provides the company with easy access to clients in New York City, as well as locally on Long Island. Working out of a 3,500 square foot facility with three full time and one part time employee, its services include vehicle and marine wraps, logo branding, custom signs and banners, print collateral, interior/exterior wrap applications, and vehicle color changes.
In addition to the Roland VersaCAMM VP-540, which is still in operation, the shop also utilizes an Applikator 2R 1420 laminator from Australian manufacturer, EMSeal Pty. Ltd. This is a 56-inch pressure-sensitive device. Design software used in house includes CADlink Technology Corporation’s SignLab Version 8 and Adobe System Incorporated’s Creative Suite 6. For 2016, Fragala has his eye on acquiring a Hewlett-Packard Latex printer.
With recent advancements in media and printing technologies, Dolce Design continues to expand its service offerings. One of these additions is wallcoverings, which are becoming popular for companies of all sizes and backgrounds.
“We’re noticing interior digital wallcoverings aren’t just for the big retailer. More small businesses are investing marketing dollars to display their brand and dress up brick and mortar locations. They are everywhere from conference rooms to lobbies, showrooms, and even in warehouse workspaces to build employee morale,” explains Fragala.
Wallcoverings for Show
Dolce Design recently designed, printed, and installed wallcoverings for six walls in the Long Island Ferrari/Maserati (LIFM) pre-owned showroom. The project took six days from start to finish with approximately 14,000 square feet of media.
“We spoke to the LIFM marketing director and asked her to describe the look and feel they were trying to achieve. Once we understood that, they left us fully in charge of design and concept,” says Fragala.
After the graphics were approved, the project was put into production. One of its go-to choices, the print provider used Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions’ MPI 2611 Wall film with a matching DOL matte overlaminate. A calendered film, Avery Dennison MPI 2611 features 100 percent opacity, covering whatever is underneath the print. A matte finish provides ideal image quality and color pop. It is specifically developed for use as a wall mural, point of purchase, and in trade show environments and carries an ASTM E84 Class 1 or A rating.
ASTM E84 is a test method used to evaluate a material’s flammability characteristics. A Class 1 or A rating calls for a flame spread index of zero to 25 and a smoke-developed value of zero to 450.
According to Fragala, Dolce Design chose to use this specific media for the LIFM project for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it prints well with its Roland VersaCAMM VP-540 using Roland Eco-Sol Max ink, which was used for this job.
“With our interior wallcoverings portfolio growing every quarter, and quality being a very important component, we love the output Roland gives us day in and day out,” explains Fragala.
The PSP also favored Avery Dennison MPI 2611 for this particular application because the adhesive backing makes it easy for installers to reposition and apply the panels in a timely manner. Two technicians installed the wallcoverings in ten hours. The client was pleased with the final product and has since contacted Dolce Design for additional work.
The greatest challenge was finding high-resolution photos of exotic cars that were large enough to print clearly. Luckily, Dolce Design successfully discovered what it was looking for thanks to a local photographer. In addition, the high-quality graphics that were eventually chosen made an impact on the Internet, giving Dolce Design a notable presence on social media.
In 2005, when Dolce Design began, Fragala made the decision to go 100 percent digital. His decision paved the way for him to learn and eventually offer customizable, cost-effective applications such as wallcoverings in addition to more traditional services like automotive customization and graphics design.
Investments in wide format digital printers and media allow this PSP to branch out and offer unique graphics to businesses of all sizes. The work done for many of its clients has resulted in getting the Dolce Design name out there thanks to promotion on social media. High-profile projects like LIFM attract attention. Working with quality media, printers, and partners secures success that can go a long way.
Jan2016, Digital Output