Matboard Width is Crucial in Overall Design
Allow me to set the scene:
I’m working with a customer at the design counter, helping select mat colors and frame choices and we are going back and forth between this combo and that combo. I line the two or three matboards up each time, with the proper amount of each subsequent color showing. I place them on the counter around the corner of the customer’s piece, slide the frame choice up to the mat boards with the “standard” 3 inches showing and then step back. The first thing most customers do? Move that frame right on in so that only an inch or so of matboard is showing. The next combo comes along, I place everything in the same spot, and the same thing happens all over again. Most customers even chuckle when I slide it back again so more matboard shows. “It just seems like a lot” they say. Three whole inches of plain matboard showing on all sides of such a small piece? That can seem excessive. Until they see the side by side comparison.
Once they see these two frames on our gallery wall, it all makes sense. The one on the left is 1.5 inches and the one on the right is a full 3 inches. The kicker? The size of the photo is the same in both samples.
Whaaaaat? No, I promise, I’m not lying.
Changing the size of the matboard has such a huge effect on the overall design of a custom framed piece. I try to explain to customers that a reason we go bigger with the matboard is that it beefs it up a bit. The smaller mat size is less impressive and makes it look as though you fit your artwork into a store-bought frame and said “close enough”. The larger size feels more custom and as if there was a distinct design followed to make the piece look its best.
So next time you’re at our design counter making mat and frame selections and we lay the options out with that full 3 inches, you’ll now know why!