There’s many a way you can go about framing your prints, but there’s also ‘rules of thumb’ used in the framing industry that every artist would do well to know.
Here’s three of them that are each a sure-fire way to get you thinking more about how you frame your prints. Or help you decide if you should consider selling framed prints or unframed.
- Adding signatures
If you’re going to raise your artistic profile, you will want to be adding your signature to your prints. This is one reason to sign your work instead of the mount. However, if you sign at the bottom of your artwork, it’s likely going to be covered by the mount anyway.
Including signed mounts could ensure your signature is on display with your work. Of course, if you’re going to do this, you’ll either need your work custom framed, or at least get custom sized mount boards so you can sign them instead. Having the art signed as well as the mount ensures that there’s a signature there on the art even if the mount is replaced.
That can add to the perceived value.
- Standard mounts don’t conform to composition expectations
Run-of-the-mill mount sizes can really hinder the impact of your work, the reason being that standard sizes don’t allow for a balance of disparity. You get equal widths all the way around. Often is the case, the result is a standard looking framed finish. Not much in the way of increasing the visual appeal of your artwork.
Perception is a wonderful thing, so to increase the visual aesthetics and add appeal to your artwork, it helps to have it displayed off-centre.
A good example of this is using a square print and framing it in a rectangular frame. The small print in a large frame works wonders for many a project. The size of the mount borders adds plenty of real estate to the print and provided you add more weight to the bottom of the mount, it’s even more visibility for a signature.
- Rules don’t always work
If you’re trying to add appeal to your artwork through framing it, you won’t find any solid rules to frame by so don’t waste your time searching, the reason being that people have different tastes. Your customers will want to personalise it to suit their tastes and the home décor.
The only rule there is, is that the frame and the mount should always work to enhance the art in the frame and never diminish it in anyway.
For that reason, if you’re going to experiment with selling framed artwork instead of unframed, be careful what you spend because it can become expensive.
Generally, artists will price their work around four times the cost of production (materials + your labour costs).
The quality of framing materials is variable by supplier. Some are archival quality but even then, your work still needs bonding and that will require acid-free backing board, mount boards and taping or hinging.
Adding your signature to the mount can increase the perceived value of your artwork and also help add to the visual appeal. However, customers can easily change mounts (provided you don’t dry mount it, which would be expensive anyway).
Custom mount sizes may be required to add to the aesthetics of your work because you can then add more weight to the bottom of your prints but more importantly, you can experiment with shapes within shapes. Circles or squares inside a rectangular print, which adds more real estate inside the frame using just the mount boards. It’s an inexpensive way to enhance the artwork by ensuring it captures the eye.
Lastly, don’t expect every project you work on to go the same in terms of the results you get if you do decide to frame your artwork. There are no rules in framing that work for everyone because it is highly personal for your customers. Each project will have different results and will in all likelihood require a different framing technique.
Always experiment and consider whether a finished framed look adds value to the print, because if you feel it draws the eye away from your work and diminishes it in anyway, it may be best to either sell it unframed or consult with framers, or even a framing community online for general framing advice.