I find that most customers have no idea what is involved with making a custom frame. This means that they have no idea how to ask for what they want. This becomes increasingly problematic when framing work for artists, photographers, designers, gallerists or collectors who usually have a very specific aesthetic. Unless they bring in a picture of what they want, they tend to be at a loss for words which starts out the whole experience with unnecessary frustration.
Here’s a little diagram to help. Knowing the difference between the mat and the frame and being able to articulate a glazing preference can make a more satisfying experience for the framer and the client.
Frame - the wood or metal enclosure that houses your artwork, as well as the glazing, mats and backing
Glazing - the clear cover (usually glass or acrylic) that protects the artwork from the elements. Not needed for most paintings on canvas
Mat Board - the thick paper border that sits underneath the glazing but on top of the artwork. Not always necessary.
Artwork - most work on paper is attached with a hinged tape method on the top side of the work. Sometimes the artwork is attached directly to the window mat
Mount Board - this is the acid free mat that artwork is attached to that provides protection to the back side of the artwork. Mount boards are not always used - especially if the artwork is attached to the window mat - but they should be for all original fine art prints, original drawing or other sensitive or fragile work.
Back Board/ Foam Core - This is the final backing for the frame. Some framers also tape paper across the back, others just tape around the sides of the foam core.
Framer’s Points/ Staples - (not pictured) these are shot into the insides of the frame to hold everything in tight. Flexible points are available to allow for easy access to change artwork inside.
more in depth definitions to come…