By Ginny Mumm
As print technology improves and consumers’ understanding of what is possible in printing expands, print shop owners are increasingly asked to produce graphics and images on canvas. The market for these customized, high-margin products has grown rapidly over the past five years, and printing on canvas is taking up a bigger share of the overall online photo printing market as well.
Clients of every stripe are interested in these distinctive prints. Professional artists and photographers frequently request printing on canvas as a way to produce limited editions of their art and photography. And, increasing numbers of consumers are seeking prints on canvas as a way to display their treasured images and family photos. In addition, business clients are using stylish canvas applications to spice up interior environments. The increase in visibility provided by social media sites has also contributed to the overall rise in interest in these unique custom prints.
There are many good reasons for print shop owners to say “Yes” to requests for prints on canvas. For starters, many shops already have the technology they need to produce such prints in-house. Additionally, since many print shop owners are under pressure to provide a one-stop solution for their customers, offering prints on canvas can be a profitable way to attract and retain clients.
Versatile print technology for printing on canvas
Whether customers are looking for high-volume printing on canvas, or smaller scale production of one-off canvas prints, the easy answer to, “which type of printer is best for printing on canvas?” can often be “the printer you have in-shop.” Many of today’s wide-format inkjet printers, including aqueous, eco-solvent, and ultraviolet (UV) models, can be used to produce prints on canvas. Water-based and eco-solvent printers can print onto several types of canvas media, while UV/light-emitting diode (LED) flatbeds can print directly onto ready-made canvases as well.
According to Daniel Valade, Roland DGA’s product manager for colour printers and cutters, eco-solvent inkjets can offer a few advantages for printing on canvas applications.
“In the mid-level price points, the colour gamut of today’s eco-solvent printers tends to be larger, and there are more types of canvas materials available that are designed and coated specifically for eco-solvent devices,” says Valade.
The market for UV printers is still growing, and Jay Roberts, Roland DGA’s product manager for UV printers adds, “As the UV market matures, we are seeing a wider variety of materials that can be used for canvas prints and other types of prints.”
The advantage of using an advanced UV printer is having the ability to print on almost any substrate while achieving high-quality output. The full range of UV printers, from desktop to benchtop to large-scale UV flatbeds, can all print directly onto ready-made canvases.
Further, Roberts says many of today’s UV printers also offer gloss inks, which allow users to incorporate unique textures, patterns, brush strokes, and other artistic effects to create truly original pieces.
Regardless of which type of inkjet is used for printing on canvas, today’s ink and printer technology combine to help ensure realistic colours, smooth colour transitions, and sharp image definition.