The Rabbit Hole Where Interior & Textile Designers Intersect

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Posted by: Daniela Venezia Category: Interiors Tags: , , Comments: 0

The Rabbit Hole Where Interior & Textile Designers Intersect

Designers Today is a digital and print magazine that promotes itself as the link between interior designers and the home furnishings industry. As part of their goal in pushing the envelope to make the interior design profession stronger and more transparent, they are hosting a yearlong webinar series that interviews experts on their business practices. I urge everyone to check out their upcoming editions.

I was lucky to come across their April 21st webinar entitled “Soft Focus: How to Create a Textile Collection” which is geared towards interior designers who wish to start their own textile lines. It was fascinating to me as a textile designer to have this window into what goes on behind the scenes of residential textile showrooms.

The Points of View

Among the three experts who exchanged ideas were:

And, as an eye-opening discovery for me,

  •  Saana Baker who ghost-designs (yes, it is a thing!) textile lines for interior designers, while also publishing The Textile Eye, a gorgeous print and digital magazine devoted to high-end textiles for residential markets as inspired by the European shows.

The whole exchange covered many absorbing considerations and it is still available for viewing via the recording-on-demand. However, for the purposes of our readers, I would like to focus on the topic of digital printing, which was discussed in detail. The three participants were asked by their Designers Today hosts, Jane Dagmi and Andrea Lillo, about their views on the perceived value of digital printing versus screen or rotary printing.

The Perceived Value of Digital Printing for Interior Design

Lisa Peck emphasized that before she started her textile line as a side passion to her interior design business, she cold-called what she called her design heroes (another theme of the webinar; reach out, people want to help each other!) in a fact-finding mission that took around a year. It was through this process that she discussed printing techniques with a printer who told her that print-on-demand digital printing was perfect for her needs. 

  • Her water-color technique lent itself better for digital printing versus screen printing,
  • As a start-up, she could not afford the large inventories that rotary printing imposes.

Anderson Sommerville is a digital printing evangelist who says he has had this discussion with many of his partners.  He loves digital printing because you can capture all those little details that you can’t with screen printing. He emphasized that

  • Digital printing can be perceived as high value depending on how intricate it is as the ink components are expensive.
  • The value comes from both the quality of the digital print and the quality and construction of the ground cloth. 

He also gave a shout out to Jenny San Martin  (from my hometown of Montreal!) as an example of someone whose intricate watercolor techniques would be lost via screen printing. 

Saana Baker filled in with some technical considerations comparing the three techniques.  She said that

  • While it is true that digital printing is better for color degradations or ombres, if you are looking for light ink on dark backgrounds or metallic inks, then screen would be better. 
  • Scalability also has to be considered.  The printing costs are reduced for large rotary runs while digital or screen-printing costs remain static no matter how many yards you are ordering. 

And, as fitting for someone keeping her eye on the latest trends in luxury home textiles, she tantalized us with rumors of digital warp printing going on in India.


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