Astek Infuses Artistry into Digitally Printed Wallcoverings

Kamakura in the Devote colorway from the Ukiyo Collection, which is based on the traditional form of Japanese marbling called suminagashi. Photography courtesy of Astek.

Digital printing may be barely three decades old, but today it’s ubiquitous. Coinciding with the launch of publicly accessible Internet, digital printing has completely changed the way we reproduce information and art. Its effects have touched the design industry as well. Wallcovering is a major product category that has exploded in creative potential thanks to this technology’s ability to quickly reproduce rich and varied imagery.

Reverie in the colorway Billow from the Micrographia collection, which draws inspiration from the world beyond what our eyes can see. Photography courtesy of Astek.

One company that has consistently been at the forefront of the digital printing revolution is Astek. Based in Los Angeles, Astek has been a leading provider of digitally printed and specialty wallcoverings for about as long as the technology has been around. The brand recently went through a major rebranding effort, responding to both client needs and an overall drive for rejuvenation within the company. To that end, they've launched an intuitive and vibrant redesigned website and done away with their logo in favor of a sophisticated wordmark. 

An Astek designer uses a potato to create a unique pattern through material exploration. Photography courtesy of Astek.

Astek's rebranding and relaunched website embody the brand's core values: innovative design, outstanding quality, and excellent service. Those values are integral to the relationship between Astek and their clients, from initial concept through production to final product.

Astek is a creative powerhouse—their design team brings eclectic new designs to the marketplace with astounding regularity. The company has 12 creatives on the team who have extensive training in fine arts, graphic design, textile design, photography, videography, and illustration. "We prize creativity and give our designers opportunities to showcase their unique perspectives,” says Sarah LaVoie, creative director at Astek. 

An Astek designer using a traditional marbling technique. Photography courtesy of Astek. 

When it comes time to produce the collections, Astek relies on its large portfolio of grand format digital printers. These printers are capable of printing on a wide variety of substrates including glass, wood, PVC-free vinyl, acoustical material, and, of course, paper. They are also capable of printing white ink on metallic materials in varying degrees of opacity to create subtle or bold shine to the final print. No matter the material or look, the final product is consistently beautiful, durable, and delivered within an industry-leading turnaround time. 

The brand is also at the forefront of high-tech printing trends. Astek is the first major U.S. wallcovering manufacturer to offer haptic printing. Through building up layers of ink, haptic printing creates dimensional wallcoverings that can mimic subtle textural looks like embossed patterns or even fine brushstrokes.  

A member of Astek's production team preparing samples for a client. Photography courtesy of Astek.

Because of their robust human and technological capabilities, Astek prides itself on being a customization leader.  When working with Astek, the client gets to be the art director. They can bring the company an original idea, work with the design team to develop a concept, or edit a pre-existing collection to match whatever color or material requirements a project demands. Astek also can color match to almost any Pantone, paint swatch, or material with a high degree of accuracy, which is particularly useful when designing a customized wallcovering for a workplace or commercial space. 

The Drunk Monkeys pattern in the colorway Blackout, from the Utopia collection. Photography courtesy of Astek. 

Thanks to Astek’s unique positioning in the industry, they can execute even the most complex projects and have outfitted a multitude of spaces in the hospitality, retail, commercial, and high-end residential markets. “Our multifaceted abilities enable us to provide unrivaled print and design services to clientele worldwide,” says LaVoie.

The Yume pattern from the Natsukashii collection. This collection looks at another form of traditional Japanese craft called shibori, or resist dyeing. Photography courtesy of Astek.

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