My No Picture question


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Founding Member
Nov 23, 1997
Mandeville, LA USA
As I stated this design idea doesn't include a picture. However what I wanted to ask is am I the only one who dislikes Design axioms that state "if you wish to cause the image to look this way or that you must ....."(a paraphraseing)? In Marc's b/w design I read some suggestions that seemed to say this and I couldn't help but wonder if it was just my thoughts or doesn't each image bring with it it's own design needs,depneding on the owners taste? And if so why do we always quote these Axioms as though they were from Sacred Scripture?Why should there be only one accepted concept? Well now that I have established myself as a non-conformist I'll await the consences opinion.Maybe I'm more of an artist then I realize.LOL
You MUST have a picture (rule one)



You probably do have the soul of an artist. I believe I have the soul of an engineer. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I did not have the grades of an engineer while in college, so I became a geology major which, of course, ultimately led to a career in framing.

I like to quantify things. I like to imagine that I should normally add 1/4" to the bottom border of a horizontal mat and 1/2" to this bottom of a vertical mat. It isn't so much that I want to follow the rules. It's more a case of making up my own rules as I go along and then programming them into my POP software. It gives me a comfortable starting point from which to deviate if I choose to.

Design rules can be useful if you don't become a slave to them, but the most dramatic designs are the ones that seem to ignore at least some of the rules.
I seldom think about "rules" in framing (except for structural). When a customer lays a piece on the design table, that piece is alone in the world, and we start on what's best for it. Taking in to account of course where it's going to hang, the customer's "style" of living, etc.

I don't like mats that "jump out at ya". I LOVE mats (combinations) that make the picture jump out at ya!

(A teenager's mantra "Of course I look like all my friends, I want to be different" :rolleyes: )
Quote from Betty's post:

When a customer lays a piece on the design table, that piece is alone in the world, and we start on what's best for it.


I think that is a very thoughtful and poignant approach to a customer's possession. To us it may be a beat up torn old photo of somebody we don't know or care about but, to that customer, that photo or piece of memorbilia may be the most cherished memory he/she has of somebody who has touched their life and made a difference.

Thank you for that perspective.

Framerguy, that's exactly how I deal with every customer and every piece that comes in the shop. I've framed everything from de chirico originals to baby footprints and work hard to make my customer feel that their artwork/mementos/fun stuff is the most important. Thanks to you too Betty for phrasing it so well.
One very useful thing about "rules of framing" is that you can quote them at customers, and they will take your word for it. After many years of helping customers pick out a frame/mat/picture combination they will like, I have found that many of them are more confident about their choices if they have some guidlines. (I tell them that the only real rule is if they like it, but they still act like they are afraid to get it "wrong")
For this kind of customer, if I tell them that a two inch mat, with a quarter inch of bottom mat is nicely proportional with their picture, for some reason, they aren't happy. If I tell them that "this size of mat is traditional with the proportions of your piece", they are satisfied. I used to think that they didn't trust my judgement, and then realized that they just need "rules" to follow. They probably buy the "right" clothes, and go to the "right" schools. At least the pictures on their walls will be creative and interesting.

Some, however, will still insist on an incredibly distracting mat, and then, when the piece is completed, complain. Then the "rules" are way of saying "I told you so" without gloating.

(sorry if I sound a little cranky today, I've been dealing with one of those who just isn't happy, no matter what you do)