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John Mark and HP drive a digital revolution

John Mark and HP drive a digital revolution

Wallpaper manufacturer John Mark has taken delivery of its fifth HP Latex 1500 3.2m printer, thus continuing a relationship with HP that has helped it to become Europe’s largest digital print company for wall coverings and helped to drive the digitalisation of the industry.

John Mark Watson, Managing Director of John Mark is a fourth-generation expert in wall coverings and has been working 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, the use of digital technology for wallpaper printing was in its infancy. However, in 2012 John Mark’s ambition took him to the Sign and Digital UK trade event 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 in HP Latex 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’d expected, and by experimenting and manipulating files I was able to achieve work that the market demands – namely high-quality output that is accurately colour-matched to co-ordinate with interior decor fabrics. Digital print is flawless.

“The HP Latex 3.2m-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’ve 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.

He observed: “People want to touch wall coverings, as well as having the visual element. Being able to print onto textural materials enables people to feel the design too.”

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

The company now employs a staff of eleven with machines running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with John Mark Watson himself very much hands-on.

He concluded: “I’m far happier now than when I was working with analogue printing, which, in comparison, is very labour intensive. I’m extremely proud of what I’ve achieved. I enjoy it and get a real buzz from it.”

For further information on John Mark, visit: www.johnmark.co.uk

For further information on HP Latex printers, visit: www.hp.com

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