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Framing Design

There is no single way to frame a picture. Framing as an art is subject to the same influences as any other art form, including fashion and style as well as personal tastes.​

To get the best from a picture, the framing needs to be matched not only to the image but to personal preferences and requirements.

​Framing covers such a wide range of subjects and requirements that it is impossible to have rigid set rules of design there are just too many exceptions. Below are a number of principles and very general rules that we use to guide us. We do not use them all every time but they are useful tools for narrowing the choice and pointing us in the right direction.


​Framing Principles


When looking at a framed picture the first thing you should see is the image or object that has been framed not the colour of the mount or size of the frame. Our job is to make the most of the image, the best framing is the framing that you don't see.

Achieving this is a very fine art, it changes with every picture and it will even change with the same picture and a different customer. It involves balancing colours in tone and area, highlighting some colours while avoiding others, leading the eye to particular points, usually the focal point, then keeping the eye on the image and to stop it wandering.

A customer's requirements also have to be considered. Is the picture to be a focal point in a room or part of a collection? Will it hang in a dining room, bedroom, study or office? Are the furnishings antique or contemporary? Is it a gift or presentation, personal or corporate? Is there a budget or price limit? The answers to these questions will influence the framing before we have started choosing any mounts or frames.

When dealing with frames we tend to go wider with light or neutral colours and reduce the size as the colour gets darker or more vibrant in order to maintain the balance. The frame will also be generally stronger than the mounting so that it is visually strong enough to hold everything together. Frames can also be stacked, that is using two or three mouldings to produce a larger frame, combining colours, textures or disguising deep items.

Mounts give a picture space and so tend to be fairly neutral in colour, although the stronger the image the stronger the colours you can use.

In the decorative section, you will find details of various devises we use to further enhance the mounting to keep your eye on the image. Briefly, this involves adding extra mounts in a highlight colour(s) or creating lines at strategic positions. This can be a wideband or a fine line measured in tenths of a millimetre or a combination of both.

The more details you add the more you can enhance the piece being framed but you also need more skill in balancing all the various components. Often compromises have to made to achieve an overall effect, it's no good finding the perfect mount and frame if they don't work together, this will confuse the eye and detract from the artwork.

We are happy to discuss and advise on the various options available however simple or complex your requirements.



Components of a Simple Frame

Picture Framing Componements Eagle Gallery


To show how framing can influence the presentation of a picture a collection of the same image has been framed in different styles. This is either drawing on specific colours within the picture or matching it to a particular style - antique or contemporary for example.

The image or object being framed is the most important component. The framing should enhance and compliment not detract or dominate.
​It is important to consider a customers requirements, this can include, the pictures location, room furnishings and colour scheme, personal preferences, cost and the reason for framing.
​The palette of colours to be used are the ones in the picture. The best way to harmonise the framing with a picture is to use the same colours. Introducing contrasting colours can be a distraction and pull attention away from the artwork.
The colours to be used in the framing do not have to be in the picture. There are occasions where it is relevant and acceptable to introduce new colours. This includes team, school, corporate or regimental colours, where they may not be present but are a fundamental aspect of the object being framed.
Any part of the framing should not be lighter than the lightest point in the picture or darker than the darkest area in the picture.​ The eye will be drawn to the brightest part of a composition - this should be in the picture, not the framing.
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