Quirky designs on unique poster prints are one thing… framing them though, that’s an entirely different ball game.
Poster prints by independent artists are big business. Printing them is where problems occur for you – the buyer - because the prints are mass produced, which means they’re printed on a commercial printer.
These machines print to sizes that you’ll rarely, if ever be dealing with using a traditional printer. The difference is the size of the printed poster and that’s because commercial printers do not print edge-to-edge. The outer of each design has a border around it. It’s that border that makes it difficult to frame a commercially printed poster.
Printed Poster sizes you need to know:
- A3 sizes are 297mm x 420mm
- SRA3 sizes are 320mm x 450mm
SRA Printing Explained
SRA printing stands for Supplementary Raw Format. It’s used for many larger prints used for commercial purposes, which also includes poster prints of the A3 size. The size differential makes it difficult, if not near impossible to frame a poster printed in SRA3 format.
Qwertee Prints, which are a unique marketplace brimmed full of Pop Art prints from artists globally are only one example of poster prints being sold to consumers at the SRA3 original size. It’s not only a problem for the UK either, as over in Australia, RedBubble are another example offering non-standard print sizes. The result is that when consumers buy the print, they can’t find a frame sized at 320mm x 450mm, which is SRA3 size. Since the prints are budget friendly, custom frame sizes push the prices up too far to justify the cost of framing.
To get a custom size frame to fit SRA3 print format is more expensive. The alternative is to have the white area surrounding the print trimmed, so that your final size is the A3 print size, at which stage you’ll be able to use a standard A3 sized picture frame of 297mm x 420mm.
Always check the dimensions of the frame before ordering because it’s the aperture size that needs to fit the A3 size, and not the frame dimensions. The outer frame size will be larger as that accounts for the frame size. If you’re ordering your frame online, you can find the difference of the frame size significantly larger if you were to choose a wide frame mould.
To give you an example from our black frames, we stock Ayous wood frames with a frame mould width of 15mm and a rebate depth of 7mm, an ideal size for posters. On the larger size range, there’s the Jelutung Wood frame with a width of 61mm and a rebate depth of 8mm. Both frames are A3 size, but the Ayous frame would give you an outer frame size of 365 X 488mm, whilst the Jelutung Wood frame size overall is 419 X 542mm.
For a poster print, a thinner mould is better. In particular, for framing Pop Art.
Also, note that for poster sizes of A3, the A3 sizes fit exactly to the trimmed print of an SRA3 poster. If you want to include a mount to protect the print, you’ll need a bigger frame. This is when you’ll likely need to be looking at custom sized frames.
When you find yourself seeing a poster design you like, find out first if the poster is sent to you in SRA3 size or A3. You can buy an A3 sized frame from most suppliers, but SRA3 is not a traditional size and therefore finding a frame to fit the print will be difficult.
The two options you have are to:
- Trim the outer edges to remove the white borders leaving only the design
- Order a custom sized frame to fit a print size of 320mm x 450mm - larger if you want to include a mount
The budget friendly option is to trim the edges. The more expensive approach is to have the print custom framed. Given that a lot of poster prints are done on a budget, it’s unlikely you’ll want to invest in an expensive framing option, unless it’s a vintage or collectable piece of art.
An off-the-cuff suggestion would be to ask the company selling the print if they can have the poster trimmed down to the standard A3 size so you can fit it into a frame that’s priced within your budget. The alternative is being left with a poster that remains in the tube it’s delivered in; then forgotten about at the back of a cupboard.