The print industry is going through a period of massive disruption as is tries to come to terms with the web, online publishing and rapid advances in print technology.
While some parts of the industry have suffered, there are many examples of innovative print companies who are embracing the possibilities of new technologies and the web to offer print products and services to businesses and consumers that simply weren’t possible a few short years ago.
One such is Reading based Surface View, where they have combined the latest in print technology with some clever use of the web to provide a compelling offering to new markets.
On the face of it, it looks pretty simple… Surface View finds great images, digitises them and makes them available on a variety of printed products.
Ignoring for now the complex process of digitising images – perhaps a story for another day – let’s focus on the print and web technologies that make the kind of work that Surface View does possible.
Industrial inkjet printers have improved tremendously in recent years with advances in image resolution, colour range and consistency, speed and reliability. Combined with developments in ink technology that have given us water-based inks, high pigmented ceramic inks and UV curing inks, it is now possible to provide high-quality, durable images on a wide range of materials.
Having invested in the latest wide-format, flatbed and roll-to-roll inkjet printers, Surface View can print not just on papers and canvas, but also on a variety of fabrics and textiles, films, ceramic tiles and even wood.
Surface View uses a variety of wide format and flatbed equipment and has recently installed a Durst Rho P10 320R roll-to-roll printer, noted for its ‘fine art’ print quality. The Rho P10 320R has the ability to print on two 1.6m rolls side by side with different image data on each roll – a real productivity booster.
It is no longer about hanging a paper poster or canvas picture on the wall. Surface View can now put your images on textile wall hangings, wallpapers, ceramic tiles, window films, blinds and even lampshades.
The Image Collections
By establishing agreements with a number of museums and image collections, Surface View offers a range of images that just can’t be found anywhere else. As well as fine art from institutions like the National Portrait Gallery, the V&A and the Ashmolean museum, you will also find photography from the Getty Images Gallery, designs from the Conran Fabrics Archive and a range of work from designers like Rana Salam, Ella Doran and Michael Angove.
Surface View also seeks out forgotten vintage maps, prints and photography that would otherwise be lost. Over time, they have built up an impressive archive of art, photography, design and print material that is now available to all.
SurfaceView is constantly adding to its collections. One recent addition is a range of nostalgic images from the John Hinde Archive – celebrating one of the great influencers of postcard photography in the 20th century.
The vibrant colours of Hinde’s idyllic landscapes are highly decorative and could transform an otherwise ordinary space.
Extensive though their collection of images and designs is, at Surface View they can even use your own images to create beautiful products unique to you. The only limit is your imagination!
The Surface View team can work with images in a variety of formats – including jpg, psd, tiff and quk – and they are happy to collaborate on bespoke projects large and small.
The Web Site
For the Surface View customer, the image is just the starting point. Having selected an image from one of the collections, the Surface View web site walks the customer through the process of selecting the product, size and crop to provide a truly customised item.
Whether you want to cover a wall, tile a kitchen or improve the view through your window, Surface View lets you select the perfect product, size and shape.
Window films are a great example of how Surface View lets you enhance your environment.
Why not brighten your mood with a blue sky window film with fluffy white clouds to mask the reality of grey clouds and drizzle?
If your views are less than inspiring, you don’t have to live with them anymore.
Change an industrial landscape into the Yorkshire moors (on a sunny day, obviously!) or transform next door’s brick wall into a tropical paradise.
On the Surface View web site you can customise the size and crop of your selected image to get the perfect fit. There is even a choice of clear or frosted film for different levels of privacy.
The vibrant colours of inkjet print on ceramic tiles with a choice of matt or gloss finish means you really can have a Botticelli in the bathroom or a Kandinsky in the kitchen. By combining traditional ceramic techniques with the latest in inkjet print technology, Surface View customers get a stunning image with all the hard-wearing characteristics of fine quality ceramic tiles that meet stringent international standards.
Whether you want a single print or you are designing a room or even the whole house, you really do have the world of art and design – both ancient and modern – at your fingertips.
Channel your inner Linda Barker, Kirstie Allsopp or Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen…the only limit is your imagination – and good taste, obviously!
Of course, print technology and the web don’t make for a successful business by themselves. A lot of hard work and expertise has gone into Surface View to arrive at this point.
SurfaceView is proud of its British heritage and the skilled workforce at its Reading base ensure that every item is finished to the highest standards – and that it arrives at its final destination in perfect condition.
While Surface View images are made in Britain, the power of the web offers a global audience. So whether you are in Doncaster or Dubai, New Malden or New York, Sidmouth or Sydney, you can enjoy the full range of beautiful decorative printed objects to make your home or workplace a unique and special space.
As well as selling directly to consumers from their web site and shipping across the globe, Surface View also works with architects, designers and builders to create unique decorative art in iconic spaces in the UK and overseas. They also have arrangements with selected quality retail outlets to sell specific product ranges.
Surface View works hard to get noticed and they have featured regularly in top lifestyle magazine titles like Good Homes, You Magazine, Living and Good Homes. They also know the value of social media and they are active across the major channels like Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ and Pinterest.
Going forward, Surface View plans to continue to add to its image collections and it will be increasing the range of products available as advances in print technology enable quality printing on different materials.
Of course they will continue to invest in new imaging, print and finishing technologies to stay at the forefront of the industry.
Online assets are now an integral part of the business and Surface View anticipates further investment to enhance the web experience and expand their online footprint. They will be continuing to engage with customers through social media and strategic online and offline advertising and promotional activity.
The Future of Print
Surface View is just one example of the many ways that British print businesses are finding new markets for new products by taking advantage of modern print technologies and the web.
The future of print is in offering products made possible and affordable by advances in print technologies. It is in personalisation and customisation. It is in using the web to take print products to market and create great user experiences online. It is about the efficiencies of production and workflow. It is about hard work, keeping up and delivering great print products and great customer experiences.
Companies like Surface View show that the web doesn’t have to be seen as a threat to the entire print industry. Far from being a battle of online vs print, the web can be a shop window, marketing platform, payment processor and customer relationship manager for many print businesses.
Today there is more content that can be printed by more methods on more materials – and more affordably – than ever before. And the web means you can offer all this to a much bigger audience than has ever been possible.
If the print business isn’t growing the UK, we have only ourselves to blame!
For more information about Surface View, visit http://www.surfaceview.co.uk/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Durst industrial inkjet print solutions, visit http://www.durst-online.co.uk/ or email email@example.com
If your company has a success story about print,. let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Surface View on social media
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/surfaceview
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/surfaceview
Twitter – https://twitter.com/surfaceview
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/105329017290257384778
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/SurfaceView