Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Improving my presentation - Part 6: Better Matting

In previous parts of this series, I talked about bigger prints and better framing. The next logical item for improvement would be better matting. As far as better matting is concerned there are 2 ways to approach to topic: the matboard itself, and how the matboard is cut and presented.

Better Matboard

In choosing better matboard, there are 2 aspects to consider: better quality and better appearance.

As far as quality goes, so far I've just been using acid free matbaord for all my work. Acid free matboard, especially from a quality manufacturer like Crescent or Bainbridge, is actually a very good quality product. In fact, it would likely be decades before you ever saw any ill effects from such matboard. However, as good as it is, it's not considered archival. Rag mat, on the other hand, is made from better materials and is rated to be safer for the photo for a much longer timespan. Thus far, acid free matboard has not been a problem for me...no ill effects, and nobody has ever even bothered to ask me about the topic. However, someday someone might ask, and if I'm ready with the answer they are looking for, it might mean the difference between selling and not selling. However, even if nobody ever asks, archival matting can be used as a selling point. People often don't know what to look for as far as details go, and explaining the difference can help make a sale also.

On the topic of appearance, I've been looking for something with a nicer look. So far, almost all of my mats have been untextured, solid colored matboard. However, I do have a textured white and a textured tan in my collection (they have some very subtle raised bumps), as well as 2 speckled pink colors. Those are some of my favorites in my collection. So, what I'd like to do is find something with a more interesting appearance. I've been looking at several options there. A couple of options stand out as being really interesting. The first is the Crescent Michael Graves collection. It has some interesting patterned designs. Another option that I find quite interesting is the Crescent Moorman Suedes collection. However, I've been a bit displeased with the support I've received from Crescent (I'll talk about that some other day), so I'm looking into giving Bainbridge a try instead.

Matting Technique

Aside from just choosing new materials to work with, I thought it would be a good idea to examine options for more interesting matting techniques. So far, I've just done single or double layered mats with a simple rectangular beveled cutout. However, I was thinking about other things I could do. One idea that came to mind was cutting V-Grooves, so I went and ordered a V-Groove addon for my Logan 650. When I received it, I instantly gave it a try right away and made a decent simple rectangular outline groove. Next, I tried to cut a more complex pattern of 2 overlapping rectangles and it worked wonderfully.

Also, to go along with the V-Grooving, I'm planning on cutting my mats with notched corners. I figure that would add another level of interest to the mat. Finally, for some of the prints, I'm considering going with 3 layer matting.

Applying the Changes

One of the issues with these changes is whether or not to use them on all prints. It's not very reasonable to do it on the smallest size prints. V-Grooving and notched corners takes a lot more time to do, and the better matting is more expensive. There isn't a whole lot of profit margin in the smallest prints, and it can be difficult to bump up the price on those prints very much.

However, in the end, I think I might be able to use this all to my advantage. I've been thinking about creating incentives for people to buy larger sized prints. I think a big incentive can be better matting. If I left my medium sized mats as is, downgraded my smallest mats to only white single-layer matting, and introduced these new mats and cutting style for only my largest prints, I think it could convince some people to upgrade to a larger size. If there is a demand for the better matting in smaller sizes, I could always choose to offer a custom made print for an extra fee.

1 comment:

Elliot Lockwood said...

Great ideas on mat styles for specific sizes. Thanks!