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Thread: Matting prints centered

  1. #1

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    Matting prints centered

    When I mat prints, I float mat borderless dry-mounted prints. I leave ~ 3/8 inch of space between the print edge and the window mat on 3 sides and a slightly larger gap of 1/2 inch on the bottom of the print to sign the matboard. I center the print horizontally (of course) but position it slightly upward vertically so that the bottom margin of the window mat is larger than the top margin.

    That works well, but is a bit tedious in practice. Also, it means different dimensions for vertical vs. horizontal prints. I am preparing for a large frame order so I have been toying with the idea of ordering pre-cut mat windows such that the print would be centered and the "float" margin between the print and the window mat would be the same all around. That way, I could use the same mats for horizontal or vertical prints and I could use a single jig for positioning/centering the print for dry-mounting.

    Good idea or bad idea? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Re: Matting prints centered

    I think it is a bad idea. Some images will look like they are falling out the bottom of the frame.

  3. #3

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    Re: Matting prints centered

    That's how i've always done it and none of my customers have complained of any prints falling out. The instructor who told me we should make the bottom margin thicker was a horrible teacher and I never understood the "falling out of the bottom of the frame" theory. Who came up with that anyway?

  4. #4

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    Re: Matting prints centered

    I originally matted like you do now, later decided to center everything just like you're considering. I didn't see any problem with centering, nobody ever commented or said anything was falling out of the bottom of the frame. It looked fine to me.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  5. #5

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    Re: Matting prints centered

    I know I will have to mount one that way, horizontal and vertical, to see what I think before I spend a lot of money but it helps me to know what others are thinking/doing.

  6. #6
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Matting prints centered

    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    That's how i've always done it and none of my customers have complained of any prints falling out. The instructor who told me we should make the bottom margin thicker was a horrible teacher and I never understood the "falling out of the bottom of the frame" theory. Who came up with that anyway?
    I don't know who came up with it, but I find it to be true IME. Centering the image for whatever reason always looks like the print is below center. I tried not doing it once for an exhibit and hated the look. It didn't matter whether any one else noticed it-I noticed it. I have always found my criteria to be higher than 99% of my audience and like it that way.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  7. #7
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Matting prints centered

    Well, there are no rules, and while understand your desire to speed the process, I see no reason to change your present mounting scheme. IMO it is artistically lazy to center mount. True, some may not notice or care.

    The precut center cut mats seem to be aimed at students, or at the most, portfolio use. Is that the message you want to convey to your audience? Ask yourself if ease of process is what LF is all about. Why not just digitally point and shoot and inkjet the images? I don't mean to be cavalier in this last suggestion either. If all you care about is the image itself, and not the physical end product, what's the difference?

    I keep notes on all my mount sizes and orientations. They're easy to refer to and I don't use a "jig". While the process is not automatic, it does reflect some artistic decisions and care.

  8. #8
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Matting prints centered

    To my eye, centered prints seem to be slightly lower than centered. An optical illusion that I have to measure to be sure of. Just does not feel right to me.

    I mount my silver prints in a similar way as the OP, tho the window is up about 1/2 inch from center, and a little more space around the print (1/2 on top/sides and 3/4 on bottom). It is what I feel looks the best, and thus is worth the extra effort. Buyers of my work just have to put up with it.

  9. #9
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Matting prints centered

    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter View Post
    ...the "float" margin between the print and the window mat would be the same all around.
    Also...

    FWIW, I standardized on a 1/2 inch float margin all around, as it does simplify mounting calculations quite a bit, and by my eye looks the same or better than the slightly larger width bottom margin prescribed by Adams in The Print. The reason given for the enlarged bottom margin was to accommodate a signature more easily.

  10. #10

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    Re: Matting prints centered

    Quote Originally Posted by ROL View Post
    Well, there are no rules, and while understand your desire to speed the process, I see no reason to change your present mounting scheme. IMO it is artistically lazy to center mount. True, some may not notice or care.

    The precut center cut mats seem to be aimed at students, or at the most, portfolio use. Is that the message you want to convey to your audience? Ask yourself if ease of process is what LF is all about. Why not just digitally point and shoot and inkjet the images? I don't mean to be cavalier in this last suggestion either. If all you care about is the image itself, and not the physical end product, what's the difference?

    I keep notes on all my mount sizes and orientations. They're easy to refer to and I don't use a "jig". While the process is not automatic, it does reflect some artistic decisions and care.
    Excellent website and video.

    Although I understand that every print is a unique bit of wonderment that deserves unique treatment...nevertheless 90% of my prints end up a standard size: 7x9, 11x13, or 15x19. Most are horizontal orientation, some vertical. Given the time and expense involved in framing, the amount of space and degree of organization required to stock different frame sizes, significant bulk discounts, etc. I was wondering about standardizing to a single window size for each of my 3 frame sizes. Further, I could have the supplier cut the 8ply board for me and life would be good. More time printing.

    As I look at examples though, I think my eye favors the slightly upwardly displaced option. So I can still standardize to 6 frame/window sizes, 3 for vertical and 3 for horizontal. Then I can manually cut the odd ducks.

    I think I will keep all 4 float margins equal.

    I like using jigs because they also serve as my notes. I can easily center and align prints and often frame multiple copies of the same print. On a recent project, I matted 100 7x9 prints so I appreciated the jig.

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