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How To Choose Specific Substrates For Your Digital Mural Image

Posted on January 10 2019


At Prime Walls, we offer designers an unprecedented amount of choice when it comes to customizing digital murals. If you’ve read our other guides in the All You Need To Know About Murals section, then you’ll already have a good understanding of the types of customization you can make when designing a custom digital mural for your own residential or commercial project. In one of our first articles, we gave designers a brief look at 50 different types of digital substrates (designers can take a look at Everything You Need To Know About Prime Wall’s Digital Substrates to learn more).

In this article, we’ll be going into more in-depth details on how designers can pair specific substrates with their images in order to create an even more stunning digital wallpaper mural.

Prime Wall’s Digital Substrates

With over 50 different substrates to choose from, designers may feel like they’ll have issues with choice paralysis when it comes time to customizing their mural. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what you’re looking for and the types of digital substrates to help you accomplish that! First, let’s discuss the general features of the digital substrates in more detail.

If you’ve given our other article a read, you’ll notice some visual differences between the various substrates we offer. Some have a high-gloss, shiny appearance; others have an extremely textured surface (a tactile finish that would rival even grasscloth or natural wallpaper!), some have a matte look – there are a lot of options to take in.


If we look to the examples above, the images printed on the substrates take up most of the letter-sized example. It’s there to serve as an example of how the finished image may look like. The bottom 20% shows the substrate mostly uncovered (other than some text and identification). This is where designers can get a feel for what the substrate looks and feels like, and how it interacts with the images. Some substrates have a color that shines through the image, and provides a subtle metallic look, while others are purely about adding a tactile textured finish.

What Designers Need To Consider

With so many options, let’s work on how designers can find the perfect digital substrate for their mural.


Most of the time, designers will have their image for the digital mural ready before they’ve selected a substrate. This is definitely a useful step, so we encourage designers to have an image selected beforehand. The image theme is one of the best ways to help designers narrow down their list of substrates.


The Honourable Mrs. Graham 2001096

For example, geometric images will require a substrate that is not heavily textured, especially if the image features a lot of straight or precise lines. Since textured substrates tend to cause minor color bleeding along the edges of the images, the clean-cut lines of a geometric print would be loss during the printing process. On the other hand, if you have a more traditional or classic themed image, you may want to use a textured substrate as the “blurry” edges will add a painterly look. This adds to the overall appeal of the image as it contributes to the realistic representation.


Of course, that’s not to say that textured substrates can “only” be used with traditional images. Some of our substrates, such as Canvas (shown above), feature a more subtle textured surface that is still suitable for images that have straighter lines. While it’s not as textured as Linen, designers get the best of both worlds – crisp lines when the image is printed and a subtle tactile finish that adds a sense of character to the wall.


Next up is image color. Some of our substrates feature their own base color that may interact with your chosen digital print image. For example, with the Gold example below, tiny flecks of the golden background show through the image, creating a very slight metallic look that catches the light.


The second one features a glossy black finish, which makes the dark colors of the image look even darker. It really adds to the richness of the original image, doesn't it?


We’ve already mentioned some aesthetic differences between the various substrates, but let’s go into them in more detail. If we look at all the different substrates, some categories are apparent. There are substrates that have a high-gloss finish, those with a more matte look, substrates that have a textured surface, and those that are completely smooth. In terms of color, two other categories appear: substrates that have a colored surface and those that are white. By understanding the different pros and cons of each category, designers can make a more informed decision regarding which substrate is best for their image.


Textured substrates, such as Plaster, add a tactile element to the digital wallpaper mural. It’s a different visual flavor that may or may not work with your chosen image. For example, our Concrete substrate can help amplify the realistic look of faux effect designs, such as concrete and brick. If your image falls within the category of faux effects, it’s worth checking this textured substrate as it’ll help bring your image to life.


If your image has sections that are cut out or are transparent, choosing a substrate with a colored or more visually interesting background is definitely an option. For example, the Aluminum substrate not only features a highly textured surface, but a reflective one as well. Though it may be a bit hard to tell from the image above, the floral image has a few sections that are completely devoid of ink. These empty sections showcase the plain substrate backing. Because the substrate itself is already stylish, this adds a different visual element to the wallpaper mural.

Why Choosing the right substrate matters

While it may be easy to write off substrate choices as unimportant, designers who want to get the most out of their digital murals should definitely consider their options. These digital substrates help designers realize their custom digital murals to the fullest potential so that when the image is printed, it comes out looking absolutely stunning. Also, designers who are working on a commercial project know the importance of selecting not only the right style and image, but also the right materials as well. Many of the substrates in our collection are type II wallcovering products, suitable for use in commercial applications. Our digital substrates opens up a new level of wall customization, one that truly makes a wallpaper mural one of a kind!


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