Picture Frames, Picture Framing and Picture Framers' Blog

Welcome to our weblog about picture framers, picture frames and picture framing. It is published and maintained with the goal to share information, knowledge, tips, ideas and opinions about this industry. All posts are grouped in the sections listed below. For help with orders, please visit our Store Help and FAQS page, or use our Contact page.

Black isn’t the new black any more!

We think it’s high time that customers, interior decorators and picture framer lightened up!  By that we don’t mean to lighten up as in stop worrying about things, but aesthetically, to stop flooding homes, house, apartments, offices and buildings with black or dark picture frames!  It seems, and it has been, years and  years since square-profile black, mocha, or dark grey frames became popular both as custom pictures and ready-made poster frames.  Older picture framers will fondly remember the not-so-long-ago days when pastels, sands, pinks,  oaks and azure colours dominated the picture framing counters, both as picture frames and window mounts. Back then black frames were largely reserved to for the framing of legal, or other allied, professional qualifications and requests for black mouldings were relatively uncommon. Nowadays these black and kindred ...   picture frames are  absolutely everywhere in plague proportions from 2-Dollar shops to big department stores. And while it’s kind of nice to see black frames becoming more popular, we say enough is enough. Most framers would rightfully raise their eyebrows and tut-tut if they saw a blue frame on a red and yellow print, yet that print will probably be framed in black nowadays even though there are no blacks in the art.  A black frame on this red and yellow print example would draw the viewer’s eye away from the art and towards the frame itself. This is the contrary of complementing the art being framed and simply put, is bad framing. The appropriate technique is to frame lighter, or complimentary frame colours so that the print, poster or art itself remains the focus of interest even when after framed.  Then again, most Customers tend to follow what’s being suggested to them or what they see everybody else as doing. In that context perhaps, designers and decorators are sinning in the inappropriate and exaggerated use of mouldings of this colour. Largely because of this social pressure, many picture framers in a lot of places have  to try and explain to customer who want their art framed  “nicely” why a black moulding is neither a  good or correct choice for their art.  However custom picture framers can always show and present, during the custom picture framing consultation,  what combinations would look bad, mediocre, good or quite good. Picture framer often get Customers who aren’t happy with what’s available at department stores, or off-the-shelf and seek a suitable or appropriate custom framing alternative. These Customers also present the picture framing proprietor with a golden opportunity to showcase alternative to the run-of-the-mill black or nut brown colour combinations. And once the proprietor has presented the Customer with a pleasant alternative, that delighted Customer is also quite likely to become a lifelong, repeat Customer. The polar opposite of black mouldings, white mouldings, have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Their cognate cousins, the lighter tints of silver, charcoal and oak toned have shared this resurgence. And while black frames will never disappear, their opposites and related lighter colours are also enjoying increased popularity. More to the point, many Customers don’t want to be pigeon-holed or to be fashion slaves and will consider with interest new suggestions. Framers should also consider their predispositions as many of them are simply more used to selling medium-dark and dark-coloured mouldings to white, or kindred, light colours. That said,  the paramount principle of good picture framing remains, frame to adorn and enhance the art being framed, not strangle it, visually speaking o course. In the final analysis, it behoves  the framer to heed the Customers’ wishes and suggest combinations that will both suit their tastes  and their art.


Actually what I read here is pretty true. I went to a custom picture framer here in Brisbane the other day to get a family photo framed for my nanna. She lives in a Californian bungalow untouched since the 1970's. All her frames are oak, walnut with gold trimmings or gold. Well I had a hard time finding a framer who could still supply the old-style frames. The 2 framers I first called into didn't have what I wanted. Only the 3rd one, an older frame shop, still had some. So yes, can we customer please have something other than black, white or grey picture frames, or mouldings, as framers call them.
Terry H. - 21 Jan 2018 08:25 pm
I've noticed this too. I asked my husband to get framed a delicate seashell watercolour I bought from overseas not so long ago and he brings it back with a black frame! When I asked him why he did that he said that's what the framer recommended! Aaaargh, men !!!!
Esther C. - 18 Sep 2017 07:58 pm

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