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John Mark drives digital revolution of wallpaper industry

Print Solutions IndPrint

Wallpaper manufacturer John Mark Ltd has taken delivery of its fifth HP Latex 1500 3.2 metre printer.

John Mark Watson, managing director, is a fourth generation expert in wall coverings and has been in the sector since his early 20s, when he developed innovative analogue techniques such as producing flocked and embossed effects.

When he left the family business to launch his own company, digital technology for wallpaper printing was in its infancy. However, in 2012 John Mark's ambition took him to the Sign & Digital to explore HP Latex printers, which a colleague from the paper sector had recommended for meeting the demands of high end interior brands.

His subsequent investment paid off, as he explained: ‘I printed samples for my existing customers and their response was, ‘Wow, this is amazing’. The print isn't glossy like magazine pages as I had expected, and by experimenting and manipulating files I was able to achieve work that the market wants: high quality output that is accurately colour matched to co-ordinate with interior decor fabrics. Digital print is flawless.

‘HP Latex 3.2 metre wide printers make it possible to print panels, rather than standard wallpaper lengths. This creates a story, a conversation, which is what people are looking for these days.’

He added, ‘I have had great support from my customers from the outset. Everyone has recognised the potential of digital print and that has led to more and more work.’

John Mark Watson has dedicated his time to transferring his production techniques to digital methods, developing pass rates and ink densities that are compatible with high quality printing onto a wide range of materials – from standard non-woven papers to grass cloth, silk, linen, faux suede and foils.

‘People want to touch wall coverings, as well as having the visual element. Being able to print onto textural materials allows people to feel the design too,’ he said.

Since the company's initial investment in HP Latex systems, John Mark Ltd has installed a total of five HP Latex 1500 3.2m printers at its Leyland premises – the latest delivered in late October 2019 by Papergraphics – and John Mark Watson has worked with HP to push the boundaries of the technology for this market.

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