Signing fine art prints

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 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 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 Artist’s Print Room – just complete the form below.

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Certificates of Authenticity

Following on from our recent blog post about Limited Edition Prints, another important aspect to consider as an artist, are certificates of authenticity. These can provide your customers reassurance in your product as well as protecting the integrity of your finished print and prove a vital part in the resale of your artwork. Certificates of authenticity are 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?

Overall, there are 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’ and seal of approval on the certificate. This ensures your link to the work and gives you the recognition that you deserve.

The date: This may seem an obvious aspect, but it is worthwhile to at least add the year to the certificate of authenticity.

Certificate/print number: Particularly important if your print is part of an
edition. For example print number 1 of 500 – this information should be included on each of the certificates of authenticity – every certificate will then contain a different edition number. 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 in addition to signing the print too! Additionally, on the certificates of authenticity that we provide, you can 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 sales 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.


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Limited Edition Giclée Prints

When reproducing your artwork, one of the major considerations often surrounding this, is how many prints should you include in your print run. There are many ‘rules’ surrounding the concept of limited edition giclée prints and here we hope to answer some of those questions to make your process much easier!

What is a limited edition giclée print?

To begin with and to put it simply, a limited edition print is a set of prints of the exact same image which will only be produced to a maximum number eg. 100. These series of prints will always look exactly the same when processes such as accurate colour correction and artwork reproduction are followed. It is also worth noting, all prints in your edition do not have to printed at the same time either avoiding the costly overheads – you can print as required (eg. when you sell a copy – see our on demand section here).

The ‘rules’

One of the most comprehensive resources surrounding this topic comes from The Fine Art Trade Guild. The Fine Art Trade Guild provides a lot of excellent guidance on how limited edition giclée printing should work. Firstly, it is recommended that a limited edition print run is kept to below 850 prints worldwide, however, you can have as few prints as you like. This also includes any artist’ proofs. But it is worth considering that the lower the edition run, the ‘rarer’ your prints will be – potentially this can be good for resale, however, the more prints produced, the higher the potential income initially. This is really for the artist to decide upon as it depends on your objectives and purpose. We can of course, help advise and give guidance if required.

The Fine Art Trade Guild also states that, ‘a limited edition print is based on an agreement between the licensor, usually the artist or artist’s estate, as a holder of the copyright, and the licensee, usually the publisher.’ The licensor should agree that no previous reproductions have been made and will not be produced again for publication. The publisher will also agree to not exceed the agreed print run which has previously been specified.

Additionally, to comply as a limited edition giclée print run, the image should not be produced in any other format, anywhere in the world. This includes on other items such as mugs or other items for example, or as a different sized print. However, there is an exception in that it can be printed for promotional purposes in items such as brochures or books.

Certificate of Authenticity - The Artist's Print Room

All print edition details should be included in the certificate of authenticity which is provided with the print included which print number the specific print is and out of how many.

You don’t always need to limit!

Alternatively, you don’t need to ‘limit’ your print production and you can produce open edition prints. Basically, this means you can print as many as you like in whichever formats you like! Again, this is your personal choice and agreements need to be put in place. However, it is worth considering the sales value and resale potential with open editions can be much less than with limited edition prints. With limited edition prints you tend to find that there is value added due to the uniqueness and exclusivity. Open edition prints are much better suited to mass production and high turnovers.


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