Should you add Borders on Art Prints?

Should you add borders on art prints or not? This is something I’ve puzzled over for years!! I’d like to say that I have ‘solved’ this conundrum but I haven’t – I have come up with a good workaround…

Should you add Borders on Art Prints - when you should add borders on art prints

What’s the problem with borders on art prints?

So what’s the problem with adding a borders on art prints I hear you ask? I started off with adding a default small white border around all of my 5×7″/8×10″/11×14″/16×20″ prints; My thinking was a border was a great idea beacause : 

  • if framing with a mount (mat for my USA readers) a white border gives you a space to attach the picture to the mount – so that you can tape the print to the back of the mount and see the full image. 
  • it also gives you handling space i.e. so that you don’t touch the front of the print and get oils from your hand onto the print. 
  • it also gives a little space to sign/number the print if you are doing a limited edition print set.

However the issue is that not all frames/mounts are the same and that not everyone uses a mount. Some mounts come with a picture size (image size in the centre i.e. hole) that is slightly smaller than the advertised size so an 8×10″ mount might actually have a picture size that is 7.75″x9.75″; But others might have a mount that is exactly 8×10″; Now you don’t want to obscure the image too much but equally you may not want a white edge around the centre. As well as this if the customer is framing without a mount then a white edge might make the print too large to fit inside the actual frame opening which means that the customer has to trim the border off – and at times they are not happy about having to do this (I have had complaints!). It is therefore tricky to try and work out what to do for the best. 

So what is the solution?

Well my solution is not 100% perfect however I’ve found that it has mostly solved any issues that I’ve had since I implemented it!

This is what I do :

If I am creating 5×7″/8×10″/11×14″/16×20″ prints that don’t require a proof I do add the border – my prints are printed on sheet of A4 so I leave a border of approx 5mm all around the print. I also add this information into the print size area in my etsy/amazon and website store so people can refer to it if they need to.

If I am creating 5×7″/8×10″/11×14″/16×20″ prints that do require a proof I ask the customer when sending the proof what they prefer – and actually I find that half of the people do prefer a border and half don’t (which makes me think that there isn’t a ‘perfect’ solution to this issue anyway!)

For A5/A4/A3 prints I don’t add a border and they are printed in borderless manner i.e. edge to edge on a sheet of A4/A3; My thinking is that people know exactly what they are getting with this print size and expect to have an edge to edge print (though I’m sure at some point there will be an exception to this rule!). A4 frames similarly come in a selection of different sizes – some are exactly A4 size and some have the frame very slightly obscure the image. So again there is no ‘perfect’ solution. I find that most A4 frames don’t come with a mount but having said that I’m sure that there are some out there!

What you must remember

When designing bear in mind that some mounts/frames obscure the edge of the image so it is best to keep all ‘important’ areas of your image and text out of this area. I try and keep any key design elements roughly 1/2″ / 1 cm away from the edge. But I wish I had known this at the beginning when I started designing!!!

Do you have any questions about this article or what I’ve said? Why not contact me via the facebook group/page 🙂

You can find the facebook page here :

How To Sell Prints Online Facebook Page

And here is the facebook group :

How To Sell Prints Online Facebook Group

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