Art Sizes, Printing and Framing
BULLET POINTS (THE SHORT STORY)
- We currently sell prints unframed and unmatted, in the sizes listed in the details for each product. These are generally standard photographic sizes to allow for easier and less expensive framing.
- Please note that the physical dimensions of the print INCLUDE A FULL BORDER OF APP. 1cm to allow for easier matting. This looks good without a mat too, but matting is recommended for a number of reasons.
- We have, by default, made prints available in the most popular sizes. We typically print these sizes in-house, which allows us to personally quality check and allows for quicker production and dispatch.
- We can often arrange to print at alternative sizes. However, this typically involves outsourcing the printing to trusted external Australian fine-art printers and therefore takes longer and costs more. Printing at significantly different aspect ratios (which will involve cropping the image) or very large sizes is generally not possible/ desirable as it distorts the artwork and can reduce picture quality.
- Whether printed in-house or outsourced, all prints are produced on high-fidelity commercial art printers using specialty pigment inks and top-quality fine-art papers. These factors make a HUGE difference to the quality of reproduction and the longevity of the print.
- Please remember that you will typically mat your prints and will therefore require a frame which is larger than the size of the print. Please see the more detailed explanation below.
- Please also note that the manner in which you store and display your print (eg out of direct sunlight and framed under glass or specialty acrylic) will affect the life of your print. The framing materials and the types of glass/ acrylic used can make a difference.
THE LONGER STORY
Ultimately, wall art comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and can be displayed in any number of ways based upon a host of factors, including personal taste. However, to some extent, convention and common practice have shaped a "classic" look for wall art and framing decisions become easier - and framing costs are often lower - when working to "standard" frame and mat sizes. Unfortunately there is no single standard (for example, A-series ISO216 paper sizes - A3, A2 etc. - are quite commonly used, although I feel that these are better suited to certificate framing).
We have chosen, wherever possible, to adopt TRADITIONAL IMPERIAL PHOTOGRAPHIC/ ART FRAME SIZES, and typically create and prepare each image for print with final sizes in mind. We should add that this is just one of the many reasons why, in our opinion, it is much better to purchase directly from an artist than through intermediary sites where a third party (whom we would expect to be insensitive to the artist's creative vision, often even employing automated processes) will most likely modify (crop, resize or vary the aspect ratio etc.) an artist's work to suit their particular technological and commercial requirements.
Of course, not all artwork looks good at standard sizes (as an example, landscapes can look better designed to a wider than normal aspect ratio), in which case we will make the print available at the size/s for which it was designed to look best, standard sizes or not. We do this only sparingly, as non-standard sizes will require custom matting and/ or framing, which costs more and won't suit everyone.
As a side-note, you will also notice that the standard frame sizes shown below do not necessarily possess identical aspect ratios (which means that we must crop all images slightly when preparing the artwork for printing). As the creators of the work, we design each piece with this in mind, but we do limit the availability of a print to those sizes to which it is best suited.
Maximum Print Sizes
We should stress that fine art printing is NOT the same as poster printing or general commercial printing. Fine art prints are intended to be both art pieces in and of themselves (as opposed to the relatively coarse graphic representations of an image that will often suffice in typical commercial graphic design), and faithful to the vision of the work's creator. This is reflected in design choices such as choice of fine art paper (again, we feel choices best made by the artist) and in considerably more exacting printing standards (such as colour management and print resolution). In my experience, much of the beauty of an artwork is lost if it is not reproduced with sensitivity and precision. This is largely why we prefer to print in-house and choose outsourced fine art printers carefully only after sampling their work.
Some suggest that it is acceptable to reduce print resolution at larger print sizes (as the viewer typically views larger prints from a distance), and this may be true to some extent. We would, however, seek to avoid printing at a resolution at which finer details, such as visual texturing (brushstrokes, for example) are lost. Good fine art printers typically won't work at the lower resolutions that may be acceptable for larger (non-fine art) poster prints.
However, because images cannot be "upsampled" without a loss of quality, there is a tradeoff between print size and resolution. Working at large sizes AND high resolutions becomes impractical beyond a point, and this imposes practical limitations on the maximum size of fine art prints. Depending on the artwork, we can typically arrange for high quality printing somewhat larger than the listed sizes, but within limits, and not always (depending on the work).
Fine art prints are typically matted and framed under glass (or specialty acrylics). Matting not only adds to a print's aesthetic, it provides a physical buffer between the print and the glass (a proper mat keeps the glass away from your print). OBVIOUSLY, BECAUSE A MAT ADDS TO THE OUTER DIMENSIONS OF YOUR PRINT, YOUR FRAME WILL BE LARGER THAN YOUR ART. The outer dimensions of your mat will match your frame size, and the mat's inner dimensions (mat opening) will be based on the size of your print. It is common practice for the mat opening to be 0.5" smaller than your print size, to allow for overlap. For this reason, we leave app. 1cm border around each print (this allows for the above overlap without significantly obscuring your artwork).
Mat width is a personal choice, but a 2"-4" mat border is common. A common strategy is to mat a standard sized print to a frame that is one standard size larger, within a prescribed range of common sizes (larger prints will often be matted differently in non-standard sized frames). So, for example, we could mat a 5" x 7" print to a 8" x 10" frame, a 8" x 10" print to a 11" x 14" frame etc.
A partial list of standard print, frame and mat sizes follows (this is the sizing system that we typically follow, except when non-standard sizes are better suited or required). You may, of course, choose to mat and frame your prints at any size you wish, with a mat opening tailored to the mat outer dimensions tailored to the frame.
|Frame Size||Mat Opening||Image Size|
|8" x 10"||4.5" x 6.5"||5" x 7"|
|11" x 14"||7.5" x 9.5"||8" x 10"|
|16" x 20"||10.5" x 13.5"||11" x 14"|
|20" x 24"||15.5" x 19.5"||16" x 20"|