Foot Race

by Katie Lee

Custom, digitally printed carpets: Transform blank floor space into a canvas for powerful visual branding, marketing and promotion.

By Del Williams

Designers, event planners and marketers looking to visually brand, market or promote a product or organization at trade shows, special events or building entrances can now transform floor space into their attention-getting canvas with custom, digitally printed dye-sublimated carpets.

While posters, banners and other display media have long been used to reach out to prospects in interior spaces, traditional wall space is often over cluttered. Not only is scarce wall space full of structural elements like doors, windows, light switches and fire extinguishers, but also signs, paintings and other visual distractions.

In contrast, interior floor space is uncluttered by design.

Now savvy designers and event planners are taking advantage of the new “blank canvas” they have found in custom digitally printed dye-sublimated carpets to powerfully, visually brand, market and promote products or organizations as far as their imaginations will take them.

“The floor is a huge empty space that can be transformed into your personal advertising medium with custom digitally printed carpets, which represent an exciting new promotional channel,” says Ilene Haber, creative director at the Marketing Project, a New York City-based marketing specialist of healthcare and nonprofit organizations. “Customers interact with your visual brand — your logo, your message, your mascot — because in this novel format it draws the eye in; they walk over it and they touch it. The surface becomes an event in itself.”

Retail spaces are just some of the venues where custom, digitally printed carpets have been used for branding, marketing and promotion.

Enhance a Colour TargetDesigners are actively exploring the new display and branding possibilities that digitally printed carpet provides. “Today digital dye-sublimation printed carpets can be printed in the full color spectrum from any electronic image in sizes and shapes limited only by the designers imagination,” says Jim O’Connor, CEO of Enhance a Colour, an innovator in the large format digital printing industry. “If a designer can create an image on the computer screen, we can create and color match it perfectly in a variety of carpet grades.”

Heavier carpet, designed for corporate settings, museums, schools, retail spaces and anywhere requiring longer term use, can be created in 10’x12’ sections and “tiled” for larger displays. Available as 16 oz. and 30 oz. carpet, this thicker carpet with jute backing is good for 5-plus years.

“From portable to permanent, the branding opportunities available with custom digitally printed carpets are wide open,” says Haber. “Logos and visual detail pop with photorealism. They’ve done great work for not only Tiffany’s and Macy’s, but also Nintendo, and the medium is inexpensive enough to be used for trade shows, pop-up stores and special events.”

While promotional carpet was available to designers previously, it was limited in size, function and color matching capability. In the past, for instance, some vendors printed in solvent ink, which could not be walked on, and was not color fast or washable. UV inks were a little better, but still not washable.

In digitally printed dye-sublimated carpets, however, the carpet colors are actually transferred into the fibers of the carpet using extreme heat and pressure during printing. This means that the carpet colors are color fast. The carpet can be shampooed, machine washed or steam cleaned and still look picture perfect — even in high-use areas.

When looking to transform a blank floor into a dramatic branding statement, custom inlay carpets are particularly effective. They appear in everything from red carpet Hollywood events and Broadway theater to architect and design settings and beyond.

Yet traditional carpet inlay that was sewn together in several pieces seldom matched colors well. In contrast, carpet inlay using dye-sublimated printing can exactly color match even a one-of-a-kind logo, mascot or insignia.

“If you’re looking at a four-color product like a logo, you can color print it right on point in one piece with dye-sublimated printing,” says O’Connor, who says the process can create full color logos up to 8’x10’. “So if you’re doing a 6-foot logo in your waiting area entry, the colors will match your logo perfectly and you can cut it into your existing carpet.”

Now that designers and marketers have a versatile new creative branding tool in custom, digitally printed carpets, the only question that remains is how far their imaginations will take them and their clients.


— Del Williams is a marketing and technical writer based in Torrance, California. For more information, call (866) 628-3791 or visit

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