How to sign your fine art print

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Questions regularly crop up surrounding signing fine art prints, therefore, we have put some tips together for you to help explain the most common practices in the industry.

The Importance

Firstly, the most important thing to remember is, it’s really down to you! You’re the artist, it’s your work that you have spent time creating. Signing your print can generally increase the sales price, this Huffington Post article from 2011 suggests the value can be increased by at least two times. Additionally, your work is something to be proud of and you should therefore put your name to the piece and claim your rights as the artist.

Signing should be an automatic part of the production process and should be one of the first things you do once receiving your prints (after unwrapping the packaging, of course!) Also, by signing your prints, you are giving your approval of the work.

Signing The Print

Traditionally, prints are signed at the bottom, in the margin, as follows;

  • The left hand corner details the edition number and edition size (if applicable). For example, edition number 4 of 50 would read as 4/50.
  • In the middle, you would add the title. Again, this is only if applicable. Not all artists title their artwork.
  • The right hand side is where the most important thing comes; the signature. Your signature is your brand, be creative and distinctive. We would highly suggest not using your day to day signature that you use for things such as banking.  For creative inspiration, take a look at this list of artist signatures.
  • Make sure to your sign within the width of your print area and stay away from the edges of your border, otherwise your framer may be forced to mount over or cut away your signature during the framing process.

This general guide and industry standard can be seen in both artwork reproductions and fine art photography prints.

Tools For The Job

When is comes to which implement to sign with, we would suggest using a pencil on matt papers such as the Hahnemühle Museum Etching.Here at The Artist’s Print Room, we always recommend a mechanical pencil such as a Pentel P209 with a 2B lead. However, for other papers with a gloss coating such as the Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag, do not sign with a regular ball point pen or maker pen! It’s vital to use a pen which is archival and acid free. One excellent choice would be the Sakura Pigma Pens. Using such pens will ensure the ink doesn’t fade or discolour subsequently affecting your print.

As an alternative or even as an addition to hand signing, you could emboss your print to add a really special extra touch.

Certificates of Authenticity

To supplement your signed print, why not compliment it with a Certificate of Authenticity? Find our more in our previous blog post.


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