Color: More Than Meets the Eye
Getting your custom framed piece to look “just right” is a result of many factors. First and foremost, it’s important to choose the right combination of frame and mat for your artwork to create a harmonious look.
In addition to the style, size and texture of your frame and matting, the colors you choose are key to getting that “just right” look.
Selecting colors that match or complement each other isn’t as easy as it may seem. Indeed, there’s more to color than meets the eye.
The Color Wheel
The color wheel is a tool that displays and categorizes colors. First developed by Isaac Newton in 1666, the wheel is made up of 12 colors, which are classified into three categories:
The Primary colors red, yellow and blue cannot be mixed from other colors and are the source of all other colors.
Secondary colors orange, green and violet are created by mixing primary colors.
Tertiary colors are a combination of a secondary color and a primary color next to it. They include yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green and yellow-green.
There are four principles of color matching that can help you to evaluate various frame, mat and image combinations. Keep in mind that the colors of the frame, matting and image must all be considered as part of the whole.
A monochromatic scheme will use one color in varying intensities from light to dark. Most likely, a monochromatic scheme will not be your best option for custom framing. However, depending upon the image you want to frame, it may be worth considering.
Complementary colors are any two colors which are directly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green; red-purple or yellow-green. Complementary colors are high contrast and, with the right image can make quite an impact. For example, an image that is predominately green may contrast nicely with a yellow mat or frame.
Analogous colors are any three colors which are side by side on the color wheel. For example, yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange. Usually, in an analogous scheme, you will want one of the three colors to predominate.
A triad comprises any three colors that form a triangle in the center of the wheel. A triad combination will be bold, but balanced.
Not Just Black and White
Now that you know a bit more about color, how do you put it all together to complete your piece?
One very important rule to remember is – mat (and frame) your picture to suit the picture – not your wall, furnishings or décor. That is not to say that these things are not important, but your first consideration should be to enhance the image.
A second, but key rule is that framing and matting should have one goal – to draw your eye to the focus of the image.
1.Use an accent mat
There are times when a single mat will look unfinished. An accent mat can make your piece pop by creating an additional border around the image.
2. Use the dominant color in the image
Most images have a dominant (focal point) color that contrasts with the background colors. A good rule of thumb is to use the dominant color for the accent mat and a background or neutral color for the top mat. Use a dark top mat with a dark work of art and a lighter mat for an image with lighter colors
3. Use high-contrast mats for drama
Use the color wheel! Dark mats on light art, light mats on dark art, and strong colored mats can give your art added punch.
What color schemes are used in this bold grouping?
These are just a few of the guidelines we use to help you choose the best mat and frame color combination for your custom project. There are other guidelines as well. But, we don’t want to give away all our secrets! When you’re ready for your next project stop by and let’s talk color!
How different mat options change the look of your piece. What color schemes do you notice? Image via wanderlustandlipstick.com
What do you think? Should the accent mat be in the dominant or background color? Image vis wanderlust