Window mount sizes query

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Window mount sizes query

Post by fitz » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 7:37 am

Hi all, I recently had an issue with a customer who challenged the fact that I cut the window mount (as agreed with said customer) to 8cm all round rather than having a 1cm wider gap to the bottom.(ie 9cm) I explained the ‘theory’ around this but just wondered what the general practice/thought on this is. Is it something that should always be a consideration or does it depend on the piece to be framed etc? Customer is an artist and advised that her previous framer always made the bottom bit around 1 cm wider than the rest. :?: cheers. fitz

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Abacus » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 7:49 am

We always load the bottom unless specifically asked not to. As we make the mount a couple of mm smaller than the frame to allow for expansion, if we were to cut the mount even all round them the bottom would appear smaller at the bottom as the expansion gap would obviously be at the top.

We vary the loading a bit. On 50mm we’d do 55 bottom. By 80mm we’d be at 90mm.

Hope this helps

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by pramsay13 » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 8:30 am

I never load the bottom mount unless specifically asked for it although when discussing mount sizes I always say it will be the same width all the way around.

My understanding is that the practice of bottom loading the mount dates back to the days of higher rooms where paintings were hung from picture rails higher up the walls so there was an optical illusion that meant the bottom of the mount looked skinnier.

Obviously we hang pictures differently nowadays so an even mount all round looks best in my opinion.

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Tudor Rose » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 8:49 am

We're probably split 50:50 on weighting the bottom border for bespoke orders and have the conversation with each customer at the design desk. Some prefer it, some hate it and adamantly won't have it done. For many though, there will be a presumption that you WILL do it, which is why it is always worth asking what they'd prefer. We have examples on the wall showing the difference.

We have one gallery owner who buys prints ready mounted by the publisher. Before framing we are instructed to even up all the borders because she doesn't like it any other way :shock:

The Fine Art Trade Guild advice in the GCF Study Guide is that if you are weighting the bottom border then it should be between 10% and 20% wider than the other 3 borders. But of course there are situations where you would go outside of the recommended percentage. The 10-20% range is an easy rule of thumb to work to though and one we tend to use in most situations.

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by prospero » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 10:24 am

The reason for bottom-weighting is to make the window appear to be central. :D

The amount of weighting depends on a lot of factors - mount margin/overall size/mount colour and not least the nature
of the image itself. Portrait formats typically have more weighting.

Basically, if it looks right it is right. Forget mathematical formulas. :P It's a question of the subconscious perception of stability.
An image that is placed dead centre will always look as though the top margin is wider and therefore has slipped or worse, is slipping.
This creates a tension in the mind even if it's not overt. It's like driving behind a high-sided lorry. :roll: A small increase in the bottom
margin compensates and restores harmony to the Universe. :clap:

I only use an equal border on mounts that are narrower than the frame. They relate more to the frame than the image, almost a liner.

** Ask someone to draw you a triangle. They will nearly always draw it apex up with all the weight at the bottom. It's instinctive.
It can't actually fall over on the page, but if it looks as though it could it makes you feel slightly uncomfortable. :?
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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Rainbow » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 10:45 am

^ What prospero said.

I've never asked a customer about weighting the bottom. I use my own judgement when I come to do the job as to what looks right. Nearly always I add at least a few mm, sometimes more depending on the overall size. I think the only time I might not increase the bottom border is if the painting is top-weighted, but even then, it would depend on my judgement. The end result is that the picture looks balanced, such that the customer doesn't notice that the bottom is slightly weighted.

If the customer wanted a visually deeper border at the bottom, they would have to ask for it. Nobody ever has done.

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by David » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 11:10 am

What Prospero said which is pretty much what I was going to say.

I add a bias to almost every mount, except very narrow mounts, circles and squares, because it's good design and it works - in my opinion. I could go into design theory, psychology and architectural practice through the ages but basically it looks better that way. It has to be done with subtlety though, too much and it becomes intrusive and distracting, ideally you shouldn't be aware of it you just know the end result looks good. It needs to be fine tuned with the sizes and colours involved.

Generally I add 5mm, maybe 3/4mm for a 30mm mount, I wouldn't usually go larger until I'm over 100mm unless I'm making a point in which case I'm probably going loads bigger.

Also I don't give the customer a choice on this, I consider this comes under the finer points of design and I think I'm a better judge as to what works than someone who maybe hasn't done this before. They just want it to look good, which is where I come in. It saves time too.

Likewise I don't ask the customer whether they want a 2.5, 3.0 or 4.0mm step on a double mount, with some colour combinations I may ask a preference, but I think I know what is going to work best and I have the final say.

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Steve N » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 12:02 pm

Unless the customer ask for bottom weighted, then it's the same all round :sweating:
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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Not your average framer » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 12:08 pm

A lot of customers seem to prefer equal borders all round, which allows for the fact that they can choose to use the same mount in either landscape, or portrait orientation. I have some customers, who always use the same size paper for their artworks and there is little interest in even having the conversation. I find that it is often unwise to produce mounts to customers own dimensions, which they have scribbled on to a scrap of paper, as the often come back complaining that the mount is the wrong size, although it was cut to their dimensions, their dimensions are often very wrong. There are also occasions when they quote the frame dimensions from the frame manufactures display lable and not all manufactures are following the same way of specifyng frame sizes.

I am talking about some frames being made to the exact size and others being made with a small clearance to allow a mount which is cut exact to size to easily be fitted into the frame. Many mass produced ready made frames do not allow suficient clearance for the flexible tabs to flod back enough to allow the mount to be fitted in to the frame. If possible, I like to see both the frame and artwork, so I can make everything fit properly, so as to avoid problems for the customer, when the want to put it all together. Customers can somettimes cut themselves on the edge of the cut bevel and end up with blood on the mount. I am very happy to hinge the customers artwork to the mount, add a basic piece of backing behind the mount to protect both the mount and the artwork while they take it home and wrap it in a paper bag at no cost.

I buy packs of Simon BACK/0001 backing board, which s a very cheap and basic backing board. It is not alkaline buffered, or any thing like that, but it makes excellent board for providing protective packing for mounts. I only intend this board as some very basic protection and it is only held in place by folding the paper bag around it and tapping the folded over part of the bag to the outside of the bag. It prevents any question of any damage and I ask the customers to examine the condition of the mounts, before I do the packing. This might sound over the top, but experience has shown that customers can be less than careful with just about anything and then insist it was nothing to do with them, so It must be your fault, not theirs!
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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by David » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 12:12 pm

Emoji's can be so expressive :Slap: (Steve :D )

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by cleaver » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 12:28 pm

It's a thorny old chestnut (if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor). All framers (the experts customers trust) are trying to do is deliver the best, most aesthetically pleasing and visually 'correct' job.

I suppose, ultimately, if a customer notices the bottom weighting, it's been overdone (that's a generic comment, NOT any reference to the fitz's specific job/decision).

If nothing else, bottom weighting negates the issue of the mount/sandwich settling lower down in the frame (due to gravity)....and looking skinnier than the top, and therefore odd.

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Not your average framer » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 12:52 pm

I have a box of mounts cut from left over scraps, these are all cut with equal width mount boarders. Ready made mounts are not a very lucrative sales item and they sell for peanuts in places like the Range, so customers will rarely consider paying anymore. In terms of their viability in terms of business, they are something, or nothing. I would not bother, if it was not using up left over scraps. Cutting these with equal width mount borders is the only option which makes any sense at all.

Displaying some samples packaged in crystal clear bags with prices on view in the corner of a shop window let people know that I have some which are ready to go, but sales figures are scarcely worth the bother. I guess that something is better that nothing, but only just. I often cut mounts from waste to nclude in ready made frames, hoping that it give me a bit of edge over ready made frames from elsewhere where mount are not included. Ready made frames, do sell and they help to bring customers in to the shop, but you can't make too much of a living out of ready made frames alone!

It does actually pay me to produce some ready made frames from specifially bought in factory finished mouldings. I can get a usefully worthwhile profit out of selling these and they particulrly come in to their own, when customers want to buy a set of matching frames, which is not always an option when producing ready made frames from left over scraps. I have never really worked out which items and sizes are the best sellers for ready made frames, as it all seems a bit too random to identify any particular pattern.

Artist's will buy bare wood obeche frames if the price is suitably attractive, but it's a very competitive area of the market and less easy to make a really decent profit. I find the cost of the glass on larger frames can be quite problematic.
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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Gesso&Bole » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 1:04 pm

What they said.

I always add weight to the bottom, and always explain that to the customer. I don't 'ask' the customer about those sort of details (like David mentioned the size of the reveal on a double mount), or where they would like me to place the hinges etc etc, because that's my job to make those decisions for the best.

I do, however, cut mounts with even borders on ready made frames!
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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by fitz » Fri 10 Sep, 2021 2:41 pm

Thanks everyone. I have studied all of the responses which are all hugely helpful. Thanks for taking to time to respond. Not sure where I picked it up but I thought you would raise this issue with customers when framing a piece of art with a horizon line that was perhaps midway up the piece and you would suggest a weighted bottom :giggle: to prevent foreshortening from taking place. Cheers all. fitz 😊

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Justintime » Sun 12 Sep, 2021 4:04 pm

Sandwiching the package with tape, as well as the other benefits, stops it from dropping down and maintains the even visible mount imo.

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by vintage frames » Tue 21 Sep, 2021 4:52 pm

Further to the the discussion on weighting the bottom border, here's something I noticed on instagram -

The Fine Art Society (@thefineartsoc) • Instagram photos and videos - Google Chrome 9212021 45657 PM.bmp.jpg
It's taken from The Fine Art Society.
Anyone care to comment?
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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by pramsay13 » Wed 22 Sep, 2021 8:11 am

Looks okay to me other than it's a white mount on top of white paper which is a bit bland for me.
It's taken from straight on though whereas most artwork hangs slightly above you or a lot above you in some cases.

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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Not your average framer » Wed 22 Sep, 2021 1:08 pm

Not all mounts which you cut are going to be the same, the requirements differ! I can divide the mounts which I cut in to maybe three, or four different categories and the way that there are designed will depend on what's needed.

I make mounts to fit my own ready made frames. These are just basic mounts will equal sized borders. They are relatively low cost and if the customer buys one of these at the same time as buying a ready made frame I give a 50 percent discount, but they have to buy it a the time, to get the discount! These mounts are made from off cuts and employ conservation, or if I still have some white core mountboard.

I don't buy in cheap mountboard just to make these mounts. It just helps to boost the overall value on the sale a little bit. I can often beat mount prices in the Range and places like this. I am just selling my waste and I don't count such waste as having cost me anything, so offering a 50 percent discount does not bother me at all and if the mount is already great value for money and I'm offering a 50 percent discount, if you buy it at the same time as buying a ready made frame, what's not to like!

Do I make a lot of money from such mounts? Not particularly, but I'm not greedy, I can turn these out like shelling peas and there's a useful profit which still adds up ad helps the bottom line. Most ready made frame customers, did not originally intend to be buying a mount, so the 50 percent discount is a sensible and worthwhile strategy.

Then there customers who want mounts cut to suit cheap frames which they got somewhere else and usually they are not planning on spending very much, if you charge too much you won't get the sale, so if I can cut such mounts using my stock of older waste mountboard, they get it half price. Colors depend on whats available. If they don't like the colours which are available and I have to use new stock then is full price and it's take itor or leave it. Whether the mounts are bottom weighted is the customers choice, unless it's my ready made mounts and these are already cut with equal width borders.

Most custom framing jobs get bottom weighted mounts, but it is still subject to the customers approval. I am not opposed to using up unwanted colour of mountboard scraps by painting the reveals and using the as rear mounts for double mounts on older ready made frames which have not sold in a reasonable time. Selling some things are not always as easy as you sometimes expect! I do not do discounts on frames and framing, but ready made mounts is an exception, if I am reusing left over mountboard scraps, but never when using new mountboard stock. From my own perpective, discounts tend to give the public the wrong message and as such are normally best avoided.

I do make an effort to cash in on the market for local artists, who are looking for frames. It's not a wouderful market and as customers they are not very loyal either, but as long as there is as reasonable profit in the deal, I will usually try and make a worthwhile deal of some sort. Generally, local artist's are short of money and quantity deals are out of the question, but I will make a few ready made frames in a few favorite sizes. They do sell, but I'm certainly not rushed off my feet with them.

Ready made frames for artists are never hand finished and are made from relatively cheap good quality, but factory finish frames, with cheap corrogated core backing boards, however they are priced to sell well and I don't mind if the public also want to buy them at the same price. It's still money in the pot, so it makes no difference to me. There is a market for ready made mounts and also a market for other ready made items, lot of major discount shop are doing plenty of such items, but their coverage leaves quite a few gaps and we can play some of these gaps to our advantage.

There is some useful money to be had, if we do it in ways which are worthwhile to us, but generally there is little sense in thinking about trying to compete with shops like the Range where they are doing something similar and even when the Range is out of stock customers won't pay any extra anyway. I've got a captive customer base that never go to places like the range and if my prices are fair and honest, I can still get the sales, without much effort at all, probably due to the fact that the Range and Ikea are not nearby and they are often short of stock as well.
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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by vintage frames » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 11:31 am

Apologies for bumping this thread up but I wonder if anyone has looked at the image posted and noticed that the top border is wider than the bottom and sides. Given the history and prestige of the gallery, I'm assuming that the positioning was deliberate. So although it would seem wrong in theory, it actually does look quite right.
I don't cut any mounts but would be interested to hear from those who do.
It would appear the the framer was wanting to draw attention to the facial area and position it comfortably within the overall frame.
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Re: Window mount sizes query

Post by Steve N » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 12:08 pm

how much bigger is the top border
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