How to sign your fine art print

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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The importance of certificates of authenticity

As an artist, it is highly likely that you want to give your customers reassurance in your product as well as protecting the integrity of your finished print. That’s where certificates of authenticity come into play. Designed to protect and authenticate your fine art prints, these certificates add a perceived layer of value and trust to your customer.

What is involved?

Typically there are a certain few things that should be featured on each certificate of authenticity, this includes;

Title of the artwork: arguably one of the most important features. What’s the name of your piece?

Artist: Again, as above, one of the most vital pieces. This if your ‘stamp’ on the certificate. Ensures your link to the work and gives you the recognition that you deserve.

The date: May seem an obvious one but it’s worthwhile at least adding the year to the certificate of authenticity.

Small image of the piece: Immediately makes the certificate of authenticity linkable to the finished print.

Certificate/print number: Particularly important if your print is part of an Certificate of Authenticity - The Artist's Print Roomedition. For example print number 1 of 500 – this information should be included on the certificates of authenticity. Each print will then have the corresponding number pencilled on to provide a pair! One certificate to one print.

Material/Printer/Inks: These are other variables that can add perceived value to your piece. By detailing the substrate printed on in addition to the quality inks, this highlights and ensures the archival qualities of your fine art print.

Finally, you, as the artist should sign the certificate.

Additionally, on our certificates of authenticity you will also find a declaration of intent, signed by both the artist and publisher.

How do certificates of authenticity benefit you?

By supplying certificates of authenticity with each of your prints you show your dedication as an artist and this can make your artwork easier to sell as well as potentially increasing the value. By having this document linked to your work, your customers can have the confidence in purchase. Sadly, there is no guaranteed way to 100% prove the piece is authentic further down the line when it comes to reselling, however, providing a certificate of authenticity provides good reassurance where possible. In addition to this, many companies, including fine art paper manufacturers and organisations such as ArtSure from the Fine Art Trade Guild offer services where you can upload details to an online register to give an extra level of confidence.

Here at The Artist’s Print Room we can provide certificates of authenticity with each print. Please contact us to discuss your particular requirements and we will be more than happy to help.