Spotlight: The tile industry in 2003

A contemporary Ceramic Tile Inkjet Printing Technology (photo courtesy of Quality Flooring 4 Less) 
This week we continue our celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Coverings with another trip down memory lane in the tile + stone industry. We sat down with ceramic tile and stone writer, speaker, blogger, product designer, and consultant Ryan Fasan to talk about how the industry has changed over the years, stopping this week in 2003.
The millennium was just as momentous for our industry as the Y2K scare wasn’t for the banking sector. According to Fasan that change lay in the 2003 debut of Inkjet decoration techniques.. For the first time in the history of ceramics, decoration could be taken directly from high-resolution photography. This innovation opened up the possibility of working with a proficient and talented design-pool from the desktop publishing industry to create new and different tile designs that up to this point were not technologically feasible. Additionally, inkjet’s drop on demand delivery of pigments meant that any textured and molded surface could be decorated in mass-production with patterned finishes like those replicating wood or stone. This hadn’t been possible with screen-printing style decoration.
The height of the building boom around the world during this time meant demand was at an all-time high and tile was being produced as fast as possible. The preference was for flashy styles – often with the addition of Swarovski crystals, gold & platinum accents, exclusive woods like wengé or zebrawood, and stones like Porto Oro and Cema Marfil Select. Accent pieces began to move away from traditional listelos and molduras in favor of complimentary or contrasting mosaics. These new trends resulted in new production innovations that informed the industry for years to come.
Look out for our next post soon, as we jump forward to 2008.
Please join us at Coverings’ 25th show coming up April 29 – May 2 (with a bonus day of education on April 28) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Register now for free!