What Does That Mean? Putting It All Together
by Michele J. Emerson-Roberts ©2005



Are you ready to apply all those terms to some artwork? It really is easier then you think. We will be dealing with matting this time and I will show you a number of examples, and explain what is "good or not good", and how they relate to good design. I bet you will be able to spot exactly what I am referring to on every example. Remember that matting and/or framing should enhance the artwork, not distract from it…. so here we go!

The mat colors of mauve and pale gray are found in the print. The Patagonia landscape is double matted with these colors that enhance the print. (Good)


This Native American style double mat is okay, but is not as good as the previous example. (Not good)

The mottled dark green and metallic gold double mat repeat some of the many colors that are in the print. The use of the darker color on the outside mat creates drama. (Good)

Even though there are tiny bits of mauve and pale gray in the print; using those colors for the double mat don't help the art work and is a bit boring. (Not good)

The subject (the coyote) is brought to life by using the two shades of blue and the stylized Native American design on the mat. The mat design and color compliment the subject. (Good)

The plain white matt is okay, but doesn't do anything to enhance or distract from the artwork. (Not good)

The single mat is the same shade of metallic gold as the tiny bits of gold that were used in the print. The mat is cut a little wider then usual, and repeating the metallic gold adds to the feeling of whimsy. (Good)

This is a far stretch using the stylized Native American mat, but is a great example of what does not work! (Bad)

These fun photos of my grandson are matted with a stylized Native American mat. The double mat reflects both the subject and the colors from the photos. (Good)

The dark gray and white mat doesn't do anything but distract from the photos. (Not good/bad)

The wide metallic silver mat reflects the silver "ferry dust" found in the print, and adds to the overall feeling of fun. (Good)


The background of the print has a bit of black, and if this black mat were cut much wider it would work well with the print and be dramatic. (Not great)

The examples are just a start down the road to good design. Check out other artwork that you come across in magazines, or on walls and decide what works and what doesn't and why…it always comes back to good design!

Next time: "Fun, Fabulous and Fantastic Mating"

Michele Emerson-Roberts
Framing Editor



©2007 Michele J. Emerson-Roberts

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