Product Evolution and Diversity
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Written by Jake Markey

When consulting, not a week goes by where you don’t hear the phrase, “I wish we could put some graphics there” or “It would be great if they made a product that could do this.”; Even “I wonder if my idea is even possible”; will frequently be heard. Thankfully, with the massive variety of materials available today, manufacturers are making these wishes a reality.

In the past, products like regular adhesive vinyl or standard scrim vinyl were tailored and “rigged to work”; for all kinds of applications. While it’s great to have an all-purpose product, the uses were very limited when it came to highly specific and technical projects. Today, the one-size-fits-all model has been eliminated and there is now a material for most every application.

Some of the most common new needs for these specialized materials are high end interior wall décor and rugged slip-resistant floor materials. These projects demand specialized materials that can handle the wear and tear associated with walls and floors subjected to heavy traffic, while still delivering the message in a vivid, creative, and engaging way.

High end wall décor was originally reserved for massive wallpaper manufacturers who had to churn out millions (yes, millions) of linear feet per order to produce any kind of customization. Thankfully, new printing technologies (such as latex) and a large new selection of printable wallpaper materials makes printing short-run custom areas affordable and highly adaptable to a designer’s needs.

Marathons, hotel pool sides, and mall entrances are just some examples of locations with high volumes of foot traffic. Because of the high volumes of foot traffic, these locations demand slip resistance for any marketing or creative design to be placed on the floors. A few years back, only laminates and permanent paints existed to coat these surfaces so that they would be safe enough for people to walk on. Recently, a product called Asphalt Art has emerged to combat this problem. This product allows for simple print applications and removal to any solid floor surface. Asphalt Art will even manufacture more permanent or temporary products based on your needs.

The development of these products for specific applications is continuously growing and evolving. Make sure not to settle for a work around for your next design print project. Be sure to contact your local Thomas Printworks to help you find the right product for your specific needs today.

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