Our Frame of Mind

A collection of tips, framing techniques and artist insights.

Matting: Why It Matters

It can contribute greatly to virtually every framing project both artistically and functionally. Custom mats for frames aren't always needed but they’re always worth serious consideration, for a number of reasons.

  • Matting separates artwork from glazing – the glass or acrylic that serves as the window to your art –thereby preventing potentially harmful humidity/condensation from building up and marring your artwork. 
  • Matting also keeps "fugitive media" – colors or media that can change significantly in appearance and makeup over time, like charcoal and pastels – from making contact with glass or acrylic.
  • Matting hides hinges, corner pockets and art edges that are better kept out of sight.  
  • Matting provides a resting place for the eyes, and can create a visually pleasing separation between artwork and its surroundings.
  • Matting can highlight secondary and tertiary colors, and other visual elements within your art.
  • Matting can be coordinated nicely with a room's decor.

Note:  Picture frame mats should always be wider than the frame mouldings surrounding them. 
The Golden Ratio: A centuries-old artistic precept 
For centuries, the Golden Ratio has led to incredibly beautiful results. First discovered in nature’s design of flower petals, pine cones, and sea shells, the Golden Ratio was applied in the Pyramids of Giza, the Parthenon in Greece, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, even in today’s Pepsi logo. 
Mathematically speaking, the ratio is 1:1.618. 
In framing, the Golden Ratio suggests that for the most visually appealing results, a frame’s dimensions should be 1.618 times the size of the artwork it holds.
Example: For 11" x 14" artwork, multiply the length and width by 1.618, for a frame size of 17.8" x 22.7". Round up to 18" x 23" (or get even more exact, thanks to our PrecisionCut™ technology) and you have the ideal dimensions of a frame for an 11" x 14" image. 

Golden Ratio: an example
 Mat styles: You’ve got choices
For your consideration:

  • Even mat borders create a classic look, by centering the artwork so that the frame-and-mat combination is the same width on all four sides.
  • Weighted bottom mats are oftentimes used in galleries, with the mat wider on the bottom than the other three sides. This style is particularly attractive when the artwork’s focal point is in the lower half. This style is also advantageous because it accommodates the artist's signature. 

Extra wide mats defy the Golden Ratio and create pinpoint focus on smaller artwork, allowing it to fill a significant wall space dramatically.

March 1, 2020
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