Why is a design session necessary?
A few of our customers know exactly what they want and will forgo a design session but the vast majority of our customers welcome the knowledge and expertise all of our 4 designers bring to the table (excuse the pun).
Once you book an appointment for a design session (which is free) it does indeed take place at a table in the midst of the myriad of frame samples on our walls. The designer will ask if you have any ideas of what you’d like to see (most people do not), your budget (mouldings and other elements going in to a design vary in price), and your personal style, and house decoration. Even though we’ll always target a frame design to the actual art, there’s often more than one way to frame a piece beautifully. There’s no point, for instance, showing you a classical gold frame if your style is modern.
What actually happens during the design appointment?
The designer will place your art on the design table while they’re asking you about budget, likes/dislikes, etc. We have mirrors above our design tables to give some distance to your view of what’s taking place. It’s sometimes difficult to envisage how a design will look when you’re standing directly over the design. This distance also helps the designer with color management – for instance a white mat is often anything but pure white. What can seem like a good choice as the designer pulls the corner sample out of the rest of the white samples will reveal it’s tint at a distance and may be too pink, too yellow, too grey etc.
The designer will offer options explaining why one thing is better than another. The session is extremely interactive and you shouldn’t hesitate to express how you feel about a particular design. Having good feedback enables the designer to make better choices knowing how you feel about certain looks/colors etc.
Are there really a lot of choices for me to make?
There are definitely quite a few and the designer is there to help you make informed choices. The designer is not going to push you into a design just because he or she likes it. We realize everyone’s preferences are different. The designer may say “I really like this one because…” but you should be excited about a design and want to display it on your wall for a long time, if you’re not that design isn’t the right one for you.
Art on canvas does not need a mat, the canvas will need to be stretched or mounted if it isn’t already, and there are basically 2 types of frames that can be used for canvas art – traditional and floater. We talk more about floater frames here. Canvas frames should be deep enough that the canvas does not stick out the bottom of the frame. This way, the frame will sit flush against the wall. We also recommend a coroplast backing behind the canvas which helps protect the canvas from the rear and prevent spiders etc from nesting there.
Art on paper can be matted or not, art on paper can also be floated. If it isn’t matted a spacer should be used to keep the glazing from sitting directly on the art. a single or multiple mats can be used in a design and they have significantly different effects on the look. We can use fillets inside mats or inside frames. I know I’m not explaining the various terms (I’m trying to keep this brief) but the designer definitely will.
Art on paper can also be mounted in several different ways, again the designer will walk you through each.
There are 8 main types of glazing to choose from, each with different cost levels. The designer will explain the pros & cons of each.
So, yes there are lots of choices (even outside of picking a frame from the thousands of samples on the walls) but the designer is there to guide you through all of them.
How long does the design appointment last?
There’s no hard & fast rule to this. The last thing we want is for you to feel rushed. Sometimes the design can come together in just a few minutes. More commonly there’ll be a few different designs created before there are a couple that you love. Then the choice may just come down to cost.
When you make a design appointment you’ll be asked how many pieces you’re bringing in. We’re conservative with out time allowance because we don’t want you to feel rushed. For one or two pieces we’ll normally book an hour appointment; 3 or 4 pieces 90 minutes, and 5 or more pieces 2 hours.
During COVID we have only one design table in use at any time so it will just be you and the designer. It makes it easier to maintain a 6 foot distance (or whatever makes you feel more comfortable). Our normal workday is 9-5:30 Monday through Saturday. If necessary, we can book appointments outside those hours but we try to limit those.
We finally came up with a fabulous design, now what?
Now the designer will price out each element of the design and present the total cost and the detailed breakdown to you. If the cost is acceptable to you, the designer writes everything up and you can pay a 50% deposit or the whole amount. The amount of time it will take to complete the job depends on where the materials are coming from, whether they’re in-stock, and our current workload. The holiday season (November & December) is normally our busiest and if you’re looking for something for Thanksgiving the latest you should be coming in is mid-October. For Xmas/Hanukkhah (depending on where it falls) mid November is probably the latest your order should be in. Even when we’re not at our busiest, a custom frame job can typically take 3 weeks.
Do I have to come in for a design session?
We can do a design remotely but it is better in person. We do everything we can to make sure you’ll be in a safe environment but, if you prefer, we can do design sessions by email, phone, facetime, or zoom. The downside is that you can’t see or feel the elements in the design. Colors don’t always translate accurately onto computer monitors or sometimes phone screens. No-one has yet come up with a way of accurately replicating everything the eye sees. That being said, if that’s what you want we can make it work.