Digital Imaginarium

Think It. Make It. Live It.

Whether you’re a digital veteran or new to the digital world, the D.L.Couch Digital Team will guide you through every stage of the process, from the design concept to the installation. The Digital ImaginariumTM is a place where the imagination has no boundaries. Where structure and the ordinary become playful and unpredictable. 

Get started by filling out a Digital Request Form:

Get Started

WHY DIGITAL WALLCOVERING?

Ease of adaptability to design needs

  • Developed electronically versus creating new silk screens or rollers
  • Time and cost for true customs greatly decreased ­
  • No minimums, no inventory
  • Walls can be used as marketing tools
  • Digital designs can be printed to order
  • Digitally printed wallcoverings used across all market segments

View Portfolio

Digital Four Step Process

There are two preferred program types in large scale printing

  • Photoshop (Raster Files)
  • Illustrator (Vector Files) 

A raster graphic is an image made up of hundreds (thousands/millions) of tiny squares of color information, referred to as either PIXELS (when referenced on-screen / ppi) or DOTS (when referenced in printing / dpi).

  • Common Type – Photographs
  • Program Preferred – Photoshop
  • File Formats - .jpg/.jpeg, .psd, .png, .tiff, .bmp, .gif

Pros of Raster Graphics

  • Rich Detail
  • Precise Editing

Cons of Raster Graphics

  • Blurry when enlarged
  • Large file sizes

We always recommend high resolution images (300+ppi is ideal)

  • Success also depends on the size of the mural. A small hi-res image may still look pixelated when blown up 35 times its size.
  • Pixelated = creating unclear pixel-like patches, blurry, unclear
  • Also consider mural viewing distances.
  • The closer people will be to the mural the less pixelated the image must be.
  • Minimum dpi based on viewing distances
    • 15 dpi @ 25’
    • 25 dpi @ 20’
    • 50 dpi @ 6’
    • 75 dpi @ 4’
    • 100 dpi @ 3’
    • 300 dpi @ 1’

A vector graphic uses math to draw shapes using points, lines and curves. A vector image will only contain four points, one for each corner. The computer will use math to “connect the dots” and fill in all the missing information.

  • Common Type – fonts, logos, line art
  • Program Preferred – Illustrator
  • File Formats - .eps, .ai, .pdf

Pros of Vector Graphics

  • Infinitely scalable
  • Small file size
  • Edibility

Cons of Vector Graphics

  • Limited details
  • Limited effects

Click Here for Image Resolution Guidelines

Artwork Guidelines:
The D.L.Couch digital process allows clients to either submit an image/artwork to be produced or have our Digital Team find/create original artwork to be printed (based on inspiration and direction from the client).

  • Artwork setup in CMYK mode
  • Files should be between 75-150ppi at final output size (ppi = pixels per inch)
  • Fonts should be embedded or converted to outlines – if not package fonts with file
  • All art elements should be embedded or packaged within the file
  • Indicate scale at which art is created (if applicable)
  • Purge all unused elements or layers from files to reduce size
  • Include a minimum 3” bleed on all sides
  • Provide low res PDF for printer preview purposes
  • When creating artwork, plan artwork around obstructions on the wall such as lighting, speakers, thermostats, doors and windows

Media Files Accepted

  • Adobe Photoshop (.psd or .tif)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.ai or .eps)
  • Adobe InDesign (.indd)
  • Adobe Acrobat (.pdf – uncompressed)
  • CorelDraw (.cdr)
  • Macromedia Freehand MX (.fh)
  • Other accepted file types (transparencies, original artwork, high resolution scans)

Click Here for Artwork Requirements Guidelines

What is a bleed?

  • A bleed is the extra amount of image that is printed beyond the intended shown image.
  • Panels are overlapped and double cut. A little extra image needs to be repeated on the edges of each panel in order to match.
  • The most important reason for a bleed is because walls, floors, and ceilings are rarely perfectly square. The bleed at the top and bottom of each panel allows installers the ability to compensate for these discrepancies.

How much bleed is necessary?

Based on the wall width

  • < 8’ = 1” each side
  • <20’ = 2”-3” each side
  • <50’ = 5”-6” each side
  • <100’ = 12” each side

Where Do You Find Images?
Not every image can be printed to the wall
Hi-res images available from stock photography sites

  • gettyimages.com (items for resell license)
  • istockphoto.com (items for resell license)
  • shutterstock.com (enhanced tiff commercial license)
  • Henry Domke Images (http://www.henrydomke.com/)
  • Many other photo sites

Click here for a full list of stock photography sites

There are many material options available from the traditional vinyl wallcovering to acrylic panels, window films, panels, wood, standoffs and accessories, etc. To view our standard wallcovering substrate listing click here. Contact our Digital Team for information about additional alternative substrates.
 
To order digital substrate samples click here.
 
Strike-offs
We provide two options for the approval to print.

  1. We send an electronic version of your digital to approve. This is usually in PDF form. Here you can review the imagery and color for accuracy before final production.
  2. A strike-off is a printed portion of the digital, to size, on the substrate selected. We recommend doing a strike off before proceeding to production. This is the most accurate method for reviewing the digital before final production. Full panel strike-offs available upon request.

 
Color Charts
Color charts are recommended when trying to match specific colors (i.e. paint swatches).
 
Lead Times
Lead times are dependent on the complexity of the project and the substrate on which it is being printed. In general, lead times for strike-offs and color charts take 5-7 business days to produce while full murals take 10-14 business days to produce.
 
Protective Coating for High Traffic Areas
If your murals require extra protection, ask about our liquid laminate coating that can be applied to your project. The coating is applied on location by the installer. This coating provides:

UV Protection

  • Scratch-resistance
  • Protection from harsh cleaners
  • Protection from graffiti and vandalism

Click Here to Submit Digital Quote Request Form 

Note: Measurements need to be confirmed by site supervisor prior to the mural being produced. D.L.Couch will not interpret architectural drawings and is not responsible for incorrect measurements.
 
Panel Maps
A panel map is created by the printer and included with the mural at the time of shipment.
The panel map tells installers what panels go where. All panels my not be the same size depending on obstacles on the wall. Panels need to be organized and inspected by the installer prior to installation
 
Wall Preparation
The degree of preparation in terms of wall smoothness depends on substrate being used. Some substrates (Mylars, smooth vinyls, etc.) require ultra-smooth walls. Level 5 wall preparation will be noted on the quote. Some substrates require very specific preparation process which must be heeded.
 
Primers
Walls with a high-quality flat paint should be primed with drywall repair primer (low-quality flat paint requires 2 coats of primer) Semi-gloss and gloss-finished walls need to be sanded first and then primed.
 
Adhesives
Generally, drier adhesives such strippable clay perform better, as less adhesive can be used to achieve optimum adhesion. Some substrates require either a longer open time or a fuller wet-out, and in those cases a pre-mixed clay is the better choice. However, beware that clay adhesive is more difficult to get off of the face of the mural and digital inks are more likely to burnish if installer scrubs the surface.
 
Layout
Selection of where to start the installation is specific to the installer and the image being installed. In single wall installations, starting points may be either corner (usually not best option), or if the image is a centered image, starting at center may be the best option.
 
Installation
Digital images may come to the installer with a blank selvedge on both sides. In this case, the selvedge would need to be removed on the side of the wallcovering lapping the edge of the previous panel in order to set the match. With most substrates this can be done after the panel is pasted and booked. With paper-like and eco-friendly substrates care must be taken to not paste and book the material too long. They will tend to stretch and expand in length. They may stretch under their own weight, creating a mismatch.
 
Printing substrates and inks used in digital printing are improving rapidly but there are still many delicate inks and substrates Care needs to be taken to avoid scratching inks, including the use of motorized paste machines. The top roller on motorized machines is capable of abrading the inks on some digital images. Sweep material with a standard plastic smoother. Some inks require a rubber roller or the smoother to be wrapped with a chamois. Wetting the face of the material before sweeping can help prevent scratching. DO NOT sweep the overlapped area with any pressure. Doing so will abrade the lapped area creating unintended stripes throughout your mural at all the seams.
 
THE PLACEMENT OF THE FIRST PANEL SETS THE PLACEMENT OF THE ENTIRE IMAGE. Precision is critical for first panel. The panel should be placed exactly per the plans. Matching subsequent panels is much the same as with standard wallcovering. Look for matching elements all the way down the side of the panel. With photographic images, look for unique pixels and line them up. Alignment must be exact. If pixels are too close there is going to be an unintended stripe effect at the seams. Some problems that cannot be seen close up are more visible as you move away from the wall.
 
Double cutting the seams with polycarbonate tape or coating the wall with a heavy duty sealer is recommended. This protects the wall from being scored and the image pulling apart due to the paper face on the drywall being split. With digital, the double cut is best placed within ¼” of the edge of the overlap due to the fact the match can be more easily seen.

Process

Digital Four Step Process

File Types

There are two preferred program types in large scale printing

  • Photoshop (Raster Files)
  • Illustrator (Vector Files) 

A raster graphic is an image made up of hundreds (thousands/millions) of tiny squares of color information, referred to as either PIXELS (when referenced on-screen / ppi) or DOTS (when referenced in printing / dpi).

  • Common Type – Photographs
  • Program Preferred – Photoshop
  • File Formats - .jpg/.jpeg, .psd, .png, .tiff, .bmp, .gif

Pros of Raster Graphics

  • Rich Detail
  • Precise Editing

Cons of Raster Graphics

  • Blurry when enlarged
  • Large file sizes

We always recommend high resolution images (300+ppi is ideal)

  • Success also depends on the size of the mural. A small hi-res image may still look pixelated when blown up 35 times its size.
  • Pixelated = creating unclear pixel-like patches, blurry, unclear
  • Also consider mural viewing distances.
  • The closer people will be to the mural the less pixelated the image must be.
  • Minimum dpi based on viewing distances
    • 15 dpi @ 25’
    • 25 dpi @ 20’
    • 50 dpi @ 6’
    • 75 dpi @ 4’
    • 100 dpi @ 3’
    • 300 dpi @ 1’

A vector graphic uses math to draw shapes using points, lines and curves. A vector image will only contain four points, one for each corner. The computer will use math to “connect the dots” and fill in all the missing information.

  • Common Type – fonts, logos, line art
  • Program Preferred – Illustrator
  • File Formats - .eps, .ai, .pdf

Pros of Vector Graphics

  • Infinitely scalable
  • Small file size
  • Edibility

Cons of Vector Graphics

  • Limited details
  • Limited effects

Click Here for Image Resolution Guidelines

Artwork Guidelines:
The D.L.Couch digital process allows clients to either submit an image/artwork to be produced or have our Digital Team find/create original artwork to be printed (based on inspiration and direction from the client).

File Setup
  • Artwork setup in CMYK mode
  • Files should be between 75-150ppi at final output size (ppi = pixels per inch)
  • Fonts should be embedded or converted to outlines – if not package fonts with file
  • All art elements should be embedded or packaged within the file
  • Indicate scale at which art is created (if applicable)
  • Purge all unused elements or layers from files to reduce size
  • Include a minimum 3” bleed on all sides
  • Provide low res PDF for printer preview purposes
  • When creating artwork, plan artwork around obstructions on the wall such as lighting, speakers, thermostats, doors and windows

Media Files Accepted

  • Adobe Photoshop (.psd or .tif)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.ai or .eps)
  • Adobe InDesign (.indd)
  • Adobe Acrobat (.pdf – uncompressed)
  • CorelDraw (.cdr)
  • Macromedia Freehand MX (.fh)
  • Other accepted file types (transparencies, original artwork, high resolution scans)

Click Here for Artwork Requirements Guidelines

Bleeds

What is a bleed?

  • A bleed is the extra amount of image that is printed beyond the intended shown image.
  • Panels are overlapped and double cut. A little extra image needs to be repeated on the edges of each panel in order to match.
  • The most important reason for a bleed is because walls, floors, and ceilings are rarely perfectly square. The bleed at the top and bottom of each panel allows installers the ability to compensate for these discrepancies.

How much bleed is necessary?

Based on the wall width

  • < 8’ = 1” each side
  • <20’ = 2”-3” each side
  • <50’ = 5”-6” each side
  • <100’ = 12” each side
Images

Where Do You Find Images?
Not every image can be printed to the wall
Hi-res images available from stock photography sites

  • gettyimages.com (items for resell license)
  • istockphoto.com (items for resell license)
  • shutterstock.com (enhanced tiff commercial license)
  • Henry Domke Images (http://www.henrydomke.com/)
  • Many other photo sites

Click here for a full list of stock photography sites

Substrates

There are many material options available from the traditional vinyl wallcovering to acrylic panels, window films, panels, wood, standoffs and accessories, etc. To view our standard wallcovering substrate listing click here. Contact our Digital Team for information about additional alternative substrates.
 
To order digital substrate samples click here.
 
Strike-offs
We provide two options for the approval to print.

  1. We send an electronic version of your digital to approve. This is usually in PDF form. Here you can review the imagery and color for accuracy before final production.
  2. A strike-off is a printed portion of the digital, to size, on the substrate selected. We recommend doing a strike off before proceeding to production. This is the most accurate method for reviewing the digital before final production. Full panel strike-offs available upon request.

 
Color Charts
Color charts are recommended when trying to match specific colors (i.e. paint swatches).
 
Lead Times
Lead times are dependent on the complexity of the project and the substrate on which it is being printed. In general, lead times for strike-offs and color charts take 5-7 business days to produce while full murals take 10-14 business days to produce.
 
Protective Coating for High Traffic Areas
If your murals require extra protection, ask about our liquid laminate coating that can be applied to your project. The coating is applied on location by the installer. This coating provides:

UV Protection

  • Scratch-resistance
  • Protection from harsh cleaners
  • Protection from graffiti and vandalism

Click Here to Submit Digital Quote Request Form 

admin

Note: Measurements need to be confirmed by site supervisor prior to the mural being produced. D.L.Couch will not interpret architectural drawings and is not responsible for incorrect measurements.
 
Panel Maps
A panel map is created by the printer and included with the mural at the time of shipment.
The panel map tells installers what panels go where. All panels my not be the same size depending on obstacles on the wall. Panels need to be organized and inspected by the installer prior to installation
 
Wall Preparation
The degree of preparation in terms of wall smoothness depends on substrate being used. Some substrates (Mylars, smooth vinyls, etc.) require ultra-smooth walls. Level 5 wall preparation will be noted on the quote. Some substrates require very specific preparation process which must be heeded.
 
Primers
Walls with a high-quality flat paint should be primed with drywall repair primer (low-quality flat paint requires 2 coats of primer) Semi-gloss and gloss-finished walls need to be sanded first and then primed.
 
Adhesives
Generally, drier adhesives such strippable clay perform better, as less adhesive can be used to achieve optimum adhesion. Some substrates require either a longer open time or a fuller wet-out, and in those cases a pre-mixed clay is the better choice. However, beware that clay adhesive is more difficult to get off of the face of the mural and digital inks are more likely to burnish if installer scrubs the surface.
 
Layout
Selection of where to start the installation is specific to the installer and the image being installed. In single wall installations, starting points may be either corner (usually not best option), or if the image is a centered image, starting at center may be the best option.
 
Installation
Digital images may come to the installer with a blank selvedge on both sides. In this case, the selvedge would need to be removed on the side of the wallcovering lapping the edge of the previous panel in order to set the match. With most substrates this can be done after the panel is pasted and booked. With paper-like and eco-friendly substrates care must be taken to not paste and book the material too long. They will tend to stretch and expand in length. They may stretch under their own weight, creating a mismatch.
 
Printing substrates and inks used in digital printing are improving rapidly but there are still many delicate inks and substrates Care needs to be taken to avoid scratching inks, including the use of motorized paste machines. The top roller on motorized machines is capable of abrading the inks on some digital images. Sweep material with a standard plastic smoother. Some inks require a rubber roller or the smoother to be wrapped with a chamois. Wetting the face of the material before sweeping can help prevent scratching. DO NOT sweep the overlapped area with any pressure. Doing so will abrade the lapped area creating unintended stripes throughout your mural at all the seams.
 
THE PLACEMENT OF THE FIRST PANEL SETS THE PLACEMENT OF THE ENTIRE IMAGE. Precision is critical for first panel. The panel should be placed exactly per the plans. Matching subsequent panels is much the same as with standard wallcovering. Look for matching elements all the way down the side of the panel. With photographic images, look for unique pixels and line them up. Alignment must be exact. If pixels are too close there is going to be an unintended stripe effect at the seams. Some problems that cannot be seen close up are more visible as you move away from the wall.
 
Double cutting the seams with polycarbonate tape or coating the wall with a heavy duty sealer is recommended. This protects the wall from being scored and the image pulling apart due to the paper face on the drywall being split. With digital, the double cut is best placed within ¼” of the edge of the overlap due to the fact the match can be more easily seen.