Signing fine art prints

Deckled Edge - The Artists Print Room

When it comes to signing fine art prints, there are some unwritten rules to be aware of. It’s important to consider these factors if you are hoping to make money and sell your work. Here 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 so don’t feel this is necessary.
  • 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. Make this signature different! For creative inspiration, take a look at this list of artist signatures.

It is also incredibly important to not sign within the width of your print area. Make sure you stay away from your borders as if you’re subsequently having your print frame, you may find this is covered over or even worse, cut off! If in doubt, seek advice from your framer before signing your fine art prints.

Tools For The Job

When is comes to signing fine art prints, you need the right tool! We would suggest using a pencil on matt papers such as the Hahnemühle Museum Etching. Here at The Artists 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 in order to prevent any spoiling of your work. 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.


Did you know that we are the only fine art printing company in the UK which has been accredited by Canson Infinity, Hahnemühle Fine Art, Epson DigigraphieILFORD and a member of the Fine Art Trade Guild? Also, why not sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with news, products and future competitions at The Artists Print Room – just complete the form below.

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