How do you deal with mat samples

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Nov 16, 2002
Lafayette, NJ
I posted this in another thread, but it might lead to an interesting discussion on its own:

"I have racks of Bainbridge, Crescent, Artique and Tru-vue - rag and alpha only - all stored in numerical order. I do my designing from memory and from specifiers, pulling the samples as required from the racks. I use them all (with a temporary hold on the Tru-vue's until The Crescent sample merge is complete). I do minimize how many basic colors I show during the design process so as not to overwhelm the customer, but, for final selection I wish that there were even more choices than my present suppliers provide to get the right color balance. I would carry more if I had the room. Storing samples by the number makes them easy to find and easy to put back.

I am often working with antique pieces (I'm in an antique center, after all) and I can't begin to imagine satisfying the nuances of matching antique papers with a lesser number of suppliers. In fact, there is one rosy shade that is common with antique paper that nobody matches, even with white core. That issue is magnified when dealing with more colorful art.

For the record I do not Stock any mat inventory except leftover pieces."

Pat :D
We try to keep the corners separated by manufacture. But I fell that many designs happen by accident and that combinations are missed by this narrow design technique.

First, I only offer mats from two vendors.
Second, we have them organized with divider tabs by color and texture.
etc, etc

Crescent and Bainbridge.
By color.
If they don't have it, I don't need it.

If numerically works for you great.

I rather look at the color choices grouped by color in one rack then going back and forth to other racks or specifiers.

Basically I like what framemakers said.
By color, all textures included among them.
My employee learned in a Kaye Evans class. He does everything by the color wheel - works strictly with hues, tints and tones - very scientific. Funny thing is - it works great. (Bainbridge is, of course, set up for this very thing.)

Me? I'm "old school..."

"Hey, let's see how this looks! (or in redneck terms... "watch this!)

He is much faster than I am...
Artique, Bainbridge, Cresent, sorted so there's little color overlap - all on 1 long rack in whatever order they were picked up off the design table, and often they are in various piles on the table. We put them back on the rack a few times a day. When I'm designing I deal them like cards across the art looking for colors that are interesting going through them all every time - sometimes going through them all a number of times until I have a good selection that seems to work with the art. Then I work with this selection trying to make the customer and myself happy with a design. If I can't I start going through the entire mat selection again.

I've shopped many other shops and I hate it when the frame designer goes to the greens and pulls one out and then to the whites and pulls out one more and then perhaps a third color and then announces "doesn't that look great!" I want to see all the colors - mats are so subtle and sometimes there are wonderfull surprises to found if you have an open mind and really look.

We do try to keep the whites separate but I don't use them much anyway - I like color!
we have our mats and mouldings displayed so customer can play with them. So they can also handle the Bainbridge mats we carry. We also use the Bainbridge color system but a bit modified--like all the fabric mats are in the FRONT of the dividers.

So what normally happens is the customer picks the fabric mats first, over the non-fabric. And once they put a fabric mat on the piece, usually they won't go back to anything less.

Happy customer, higher profit margin, we both win.