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Signing fine art prints

embossed fine art print

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.

Please also consider that there is a difference between hand pulled fine art prints, which are printed traditionally from plates and fine art giclée prints. Not all giclée prints need to be signed, but all hand-pulled prints should be signed.

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 fine art prints can generally increase the sales price.

“An artist’s name on a print can increase the price by two or more times, and creators generally view signing and numbering works as a valuable source of income for themselves.” Daniel Grant, Huffington Post Article.

 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.

signed Limited Edition fine art print of Stag in Winter scene

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 it’s up to you, whether you decide to. 
  • 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! You could choose to just initial your prints, if you want a simple, unfussy look.

Please Get in touch if you have any questions, we’re happy to help

signed fine art print of cityBear in Mind

Always remember to sign in the border and not on the giclée print image area. There are photographers who sign within the photo print image, but this can look messy and detract from the image. 

If you are including a mount with your giclée print, don’t ever sign the mount. Over time your customer could decide to reframe your print and use a new mount board, thus details of who created the image will be lost immediately. It is always important to sign the actual print, even if you choose to sign the back.

Bear in mind that a mount board aperture or frame could hide your signature on the print. Therefore generally artists and photographers tend to sign their print just below the image. So you definitely have to consider the depth of the border of your print if you want to sign and especially if you want to emboss your print.

You can learn more about print borders here.


daffodils painting as giclée print Using pencils or pens for the Signature

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 a pigment finaliser such as Sakura Pigma Pens. Using a pigment pen will ensure the ink doesn’t fade or discolour, subsequently affecting your print.

Digital signature

If we are sending your prints direct to your customer, you may want to invest in a digital signature. A digital signature is a digital image of the written signature, which we embed in the lower right hand side of the print.

embossed fine art printEmbossing your print

As an alternative or even as an addition to hand signing, you could emboss your print to add a really extra special touch. If you do decide to emboss your print, you may need a deeper bottom weighted border than you originally planned. Having a deeper border will give your embossed stamp room, without infringing upon the actual print image area. If you are ordering Limited Edition giclée prints, at the Artists Print Room we would apply our embossing stamp to your prints. We always recommend a 50mm bottom border for signing and adding an embossed stamp.

You can learn more about Limited Edition prints here


Whatever you decide to do about signing fine art prints or embossing them, it is best to be consistent. If you add a title to your print and position it in the middle, then always do this. By being consistent, you are making your work instantly recognisable, you are adding another layer of Authenticity. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to Get in touch



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