Framing Guide


In Summary:

FRAME: Standard 1.5-2” “Exhibition Line” frame (Black, White, or Brushed Silver).

MAT: “Spanish/Exhibition Line” mat, 2” for Open Run Giclées, 3” for Limited Edition Giclées, equivalent or none necessary (typically exceeds factory standard width) for “Special Edition” pieces. Mounting Required for XL works. All mats should be Archival and Acid Free*

In Full:

You’re ready for the SECOND most exciting part, since the FIRST is obviously choosing your Fine Art Print for your favourite wall.

Framing can be overwhelming, so here is a brief guide to make sure you cover all of your bases in the most stylish way possible. Proper framing is key to ensuring the quality and safety of your artwork for years to come!

MATS

A mat is a great and traditional way to showcase your new art piece. Not every painting-turned-print “calls for it”. What do I mean? I mean most mats are made to separate the work from the frame, especially if it’s signed and numbered - you don’t want it to stick - but not to worry, professionals use “spacers” now to prevent this. Make sure you’re working with a professional! Mats also help the viewer draw their eye into the centre of the work (hence the buffer inside the frame which contains it). 

Many mats are only made up to a certain size, therefore, for many of my oversized “Special Edition” prints, you may not be able to source a mat for these magical measurements, but don’t fret… it’s just as beautiful and striking as-is. Which leads me to “Mounting”. 

*Noun: Mounting - a backing, setting, or support for something (i.e. adhering a print to a backboard). There are three main techniques: 1) the print is completely adhered to the board using the dry-mount process; 2) the print is held in place on the board with photo corners; and 3) the print is held into place at points with corner hinge-mounts.*

A select few of my prints may require “mounting” after they’ve exceeded a certain size.

There are divided camps on whether mounting affects the print’s long-term value.

Here is how I feel:

No one wants to see their artwork “buckling” under the light.

To avoid this - we use the finest papers and print quality, however, sometimes buckling can occur on extremely large prints if the paper cannot withstand the weight of the ink. Our Epson Fine Art Printers can produce tens of thousands of colour variants, in order to obtain your artwork’s most authentic colour-quality. Therefore, you absolutely want to ensure your framer uses an “archival” mounting process and corner hinge-mounts, no “dry-mounting” and no gluing onto “non-archival” foam core - which could eat away at your artwork over time. This mounting advice is also solely for Fine Art Giclee Prints (Inkjet Reproductions), and never something I would do for on-canvas works.

 Other age-old reasons for avoiding mounting - often photographers and the-like would sign their work on the back, but you’re in luck - this is not an issue you will run into - my handwriting and signature (in Faber-Castell’s finest “Archival” and “Acid-Free” India ink) are the opposite of the popular term “En Verso”. I had to say it. Sounds cool.

Therefore - Mount if necessary (but do it right!). My signature, and the prints limited-nature still apply (with industry comparisons from Galen Rowell’s landscape works to the Ansel Adams print Gallery).

Again, all of the above from the mat to mounting must be “Archival” and “Acid Free” to preserve your work’s authentic nature. Don’t mess around or you’ll be singing Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” before you know it.

GLASS

The case for Plexiglass (also known as Acrylic)… 

Comparable to glass - Plexiglass is: more shatter resistant, lighter, less expensive and in some cases (depending on thickness) it is clearer! I know… I was shocked, too.

.Plexiglass is great when your artwork is simply “too big” and you want to keep it lighter for transportation and to be cost effective. However, the lesser evil (and not just my personal preference, but for the preservation of your new artwork) is to make sure it is UV resistant. While Plexiglass can be considered a factory-style “low end” option, there is still a “high-end” version, and whatever protects your print best...is best.

The case for real Glass - if it’s not Museum- Non-Reflective glass - Why bother? 

Sure it is less susceptible to scratching than Plexiglass (this is true and not mentioned above, but if you’re still reading, then you pass the test! Lol). It’s heavier, and can shatter more easily… but what on earth would you be doing with your artwork, other than handling it with care? My goodness, gracious! So it’s up to you… if you’re old school.

If you’re new school

I would select Museum-Grade Non-Reflective, UV “Tru Vue” Glass (where available).

It’s expensive to sit with the cool kids (aka art Galleries and Museum Archivists!), and not always that appealing, except in this case. It is anti-glare and has 99% UV Protection. And it let’s those colours’ “freak flags fly” by safely accepting any lightsource, directly shining onto your fine art print, leaving the colours to POP and amaze you daily.

FRAMING

This is the most personal choice of all.

It’s the feather in your cap, the cherry on your sundae, the… come on you’re next!

Family, friends and collectors alike, constantly deliberate whether they should “choose a Black Frame, or a White one? How about Gold?” and the list goes on… Metal, Plastic, Silver-Leafing? The world is your oyster. I’m short on expressions today, but here is another and I am actually unsure if it applies, but stay with me… “dance with the one who brought you”. Perhaps this is too broad for now, but at least I get it, lol.

What I am trying to say is: If you do what is right for the artwork, not for the room you’re “decorating” it around (wink) then I truly believe you can’t go wrong.

Circumstances change, and of course, you can always change your frame, but it is great when your frame stands the test of time, because you have in-fact selected a beautiful, timeless option, that best suits the colours and composition of the artwork, and you’ll rest easy.

IN CONCLUSION 

You’ve spent a pretty penny thus far, now is not the time to “cheap out”. You’re so close to Contemporary Art glory, why stop now?

Framing style is truly subjective, and I trust you have good taste, or you wouldn’t be reading this document (wink). Fun over everything… so have fun with it! Take care of your “goods” and follow my advice with regards to UV protection, Archival and Acid-Free materials where possible. It’s up to you, and I know it’s in good hands!

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting my work. Please send photos when it’s up to studio@samshuter.com or tag @samshuter on Instagram #samshuter. 

I look forward to connecting soon.

Sam