The Artists Behind Designtex Digital Studio
Our digital studio tool brings the playfulness to custom design, while engaging Maine’s artist community and putting their work at your fingertips.
Part of the Designtex family since 2011, our facility in Portland, Maine has remained at the forefront of digital printing ever since. Its capabilities have enabled us to bring a new dimension to custom design in the shape of Designtex Digital Studio, an online tool that enables designers to play with custom design at their leisure. With a curated collection of over 75 patterns, including a number of specially-created designs by artists that are exclusive to Designtex, designers can customize scales, select color palettes, and visualize designs in real time before ordering samples in just a few clicks. Produced at the Portland facility, which is primarily staffed by working artists, there is a level of craftsmanship and innovation to every design that’s made.
For Karen Gelardi, Designtex’s principal designer and collaborations liaison and who is also an artist, fostering that connection to Maine’s art community is an integral component of the facility that benefits all. “Working with artists connected to Maine honors the natural resource of the arts community here. The facility is essentially a workshop of master printers, so I started with people who could come see the printing process IRL and offer that knowledge to designers using the tool. There’s a real opportunity for artists to start thinking of the technology—both the printing and the customization software—as a medium to potentially expand into, and as another place for their ideas and images to exist. We love that designers will have direct access to this innovation.”
Teamed with the flexibility and ease of digital printing, Gelardi also takes more aesthetic risks when selecting artists to collaborate with. She says, “I identify motifs in their visual language that would be fresh and beautiful to have in an architectural space as a surface pattern. Rather than just be inspired and influenced by what artists are doing, I work with them and draw directly from their library of shapes and forms.”
That integrity flows into the functioning of the Digital Studio tool as well. “The platform has been carefully crafted to provide just the right points of intervention, so the designer can bring their understanding of the specific needs of their project and their voice to the design of the finished product,” Gelardi says. “We offer the goldilocks amount of choices so that the process is fun, easy and dependable. The end results are beautiful, useful products that we have created together, that also connect the work and stories of artists to designers which expands the web of our creative community.’
Photo by Greta Rybus for JUDITH