Thursday, May 10, 2007

Improving my presentation - Part 5: Nicer Frames

In parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 I talked about deciding on print sizes, evaluating online print services, the advantages of purchasing a wide format pigment printer, and the process of evaluating and choosing which printer to buy. Now, I finally turn my attention away from printing and back to other topics a little more directly applicable to whats in my booth. Todays topic....frames.

Last year, my booth was adorned with prints in some very basic frames. Having spent so much money on other things getting ready for my first year of shows, when it came to frames I bought the most basic ones I could find. They were very inexpensive (less than $10 each with a coupon), metal frames in silver and black. They had a very thin profile...maybe 1/2" wide. In a way, they were nice because they were very simple and focused all of the attention on my picture (well...the matting too). However, if that's all I really wanted to do, I could accomplish it by just hanging up some matted prints on the wall. Instead, the framed prints serve an important secondary purpose: demonstrating the total package.

A framed print is a "total package" in 2 ways. First, some people just want to buy something and throw it right on their wall. They don't want to have to mess around with framing. In fact, they are willing to pay a premium just to have a finished product they can take home and hang up right away. The other way is by showing the customer "this is how good this print could look in a really nice frame". For these people, the frame needs to present the photo in the best way possible.

Now, in both cases, you always have to account for taste. Some people like wood and some like metal. Some like plain while others prefer elaborate. Some want black and other want woodgrain. I could go on, but the point is that there is no universal frame that would please every potential customer. What I have to do is choose the frame that I think would please most people, displease the least, and leave everyone else neutral.

In looking around at what is in people homes, what the style is in magazines, and so on, I've determined that the metal frame doesn't really cut it. Very few people hang works of art in basic metal frames. Those frames are mostly used for framing family photos and stuff of the sort. Works of art are predominantly framed in wood. What style and color of frame is used varies greatly, so from there I have to pick and choose for myself, but at least it gives me a starting point to work from.

So, in my quest for wood frames, I needed to pick out some suppliers. I looked around at a large number of vendors, comparing their available styles and colors. I've chosen 2 distributors as potential sources for my frames for this year (and perhaps longer). is a distributor I have dealt with in the past. They do an excellent job of providing great products, pricing, and service. I've been very happy with them thus far. Recently they started carrying some very basic stained wood frames...about 1" wide, real stained wood, simple squares with no curves or intricate detail. I've ordered some corner samples from them, but haven't yet received them. They should be arriving soon.

For anything more elaborate than those basic frames, I've chosen as a second supplier. I have no past experience with them, so they were chosen only because they had the best selection of frames that appealed to me. I've already ordered a number of samples from them and received most of them. Their service so far leaves a bit to be desired. However, that's a story for another blog post.

So thats where I am now. I've got some samples, some of which definitely stand out as favorites, and I'm waiting for more samples to arrive. After that, I need to pick out some mat and frame combinations that go together and then place an order.

1 comment:

Con Daily said...

A framer once told me, "It's all about presentation. Mat, frame, the whole package should compliment the photo."

Taking her advice, I have upgraded my framing over the past year. Sales of framed photos have increased even though my prices had to increase a bit, too.

Good luck with your new frames!

And, thanks for taking the time to blog about your experiences in the art fair biz. Your articles are interesting and relevant. As a beginning blogger, I admire your efforts.

Con Daily