Why canvas prints always define personalized wall art
Once seen as vulnerable to its more showy luxury competitors, the canvas has defended its end of the bespoke wall decor market with its forward-thinking approach to traditionalism.
Several decades ago we entered the era of ‘mass customization’ of printed interior design, and the fiercely competitive industry thrives on innovation more than most.
But canvas prints have been one area of the photo wall art market where changes to the base formula have not been welcome. And predictions that the web would lose its position as the cornerstone of the industry have turned out to be wrong.
The New Buyer Custom Wall Art
The rise of mass customization has opened up a new customer profile for the custom wall art market. Once the individual digital images could be uploaded online and incorporated into a (almost) fully automated mass printing process, overheads plummeted as production speeds steadily improved.
So, rather than targeting the luxury market, vendors like CanvasDiscount.com can now ensure healthy profits by attracting the kind of buyer who might have shopped on Main Street before.
Reliable quality is certainly always a priority for this new consumer, but speed of execution, convenience and, of course, value for money are no less important.
And the canvas has always been well placed to meet these requirements. Easy to process and relatively inexpensive to produce, canvas can be priced and marketed as a mid-market option while retaining the cachet of a high-end line.
The canvas finds the right balance
Gvido Grube, specialist at CanvasDiscount.com, explained that part of the canvas’s appeal lies in its rather intangible qualities.
“Even in this very modern industry, canvas is still considered a traditional choice. The surface of the canvas is left bare and has a unique tactile quality. The interior frame is made of real wood. And our artisans wrap the canvas on its frame by hand – so some of the underlying techniques really haven’t changed much in hundreds of years.
With its long history as a foundation for wall art – dating back to an era not only before mass customization, but before commercial printing itself – the canvas offers a sense of continuity with the past.
That’s not to say that innovation has no place in this part of the custom printing industry.
Synthetic fabrics have long supplanted hemp and other natural fibers in the production of the canvas itself. New solutions based on polyester and other materials retain the excellent ink absorption of traditional canvas but provide more consistency in appearance and stiffness.
Meanwhile, solvent-based inks are losing popularity as non-toxic alternatives are developed in response to changing consumer priorities. Latex inks, for example, offer the chemical stability of their solvent-based counterparts, but contain no VOCs and are non-combustible and environmentally friendly.
And while the web has always been quick to work, it is increasingly becoming a selling point in itself as production processes become more and more streamlined. The 24 hour delay that CanvasDiscount.com offers on canvas orders would have been unthinkable not so long ago.
The new challengers have resisted – for now
Of course, the custom wall art industry caters to the luxury sector as well. And newer products introduced by major vendors have posed at least a moderate challenge to the primacy of the web.
Premium custom wall art solutions – photos laminated behind acrylic glass, for example, or displayed on aluminum composite panels – provide a different aesthetic. They’re sleeker, thinner, and deliver the razor-sharp definition that professional-grade photo paper provides.
Meanwhile, canvas prints are also facing competition from below: custom poster printing has been a brave upstart in the budget category.
But for now at least, its appeal to the “premium economy” means Canvas has eliminated all threats to its market dominance. Seen as combining the best of modern and traditional, and available at still surprisingly low prices for an individualized product, canvas will be personalized wall art printing for quite some time to come.