Mounting Matters

by Chris A. Paschke, CPF GCF




The LA Framer – GLAC Newsletter April 2012

"Wall Grouping Unity"


Hanging a series of 9-up, or rows of 4-6-8 or 10 pieces of matched moulding and mats will have an inherent unity, even when border proportions all vary to accommodate the images. This has been a very popular display arrangement for B&W photos for decades (diagram 1). But unity may not always be established by using the same moulding or mat colors, it may be art by the same artist or subject matter, like postcards, sports memorabilia, or family photos.


Wall groupings are a very popular in home décor. Family heirlooms and keepsakes are often framed over the years creating wonderful collages of periods, colors, textures and styles...a lifetime in pictures. Designing to a given room, period and color scheme can be a luxury. And even the best designed series can still fall apart if the space, proportion, balance, and focal point are lacking for the necessary unity to make a group work.




diagram 1

Unity in mat,

frame size & color.


diagram 2

Patchwork butted grouping.




Space and Emphasis

Space is the area between, above and below the individual frames and items in a group. Frames should be placed far enough apart to make an individual visual statement, yet close enough to be part of the group. Too much space between images loses visual unity, but when there is a large wall or cathedral ceiling wider spacing is allowed. The general rule is the tighter the wall space, the closer the placement. It's even popular to butt like size frames tightly against one another in a mosaic pattern create a patchwork pattern (diagram 2).


Focal emphasis—or placement--is important when arranging any group. Designers and galleries are frequently combine furniture settings with framed art to help create mood. The five piece family portrait wall is well balanced by the dried branch arrangement lower right sitting on the table in front of it (photo 1).The placement of frames directly relates to the visual emphasis within that presentation.





photo 1

Frames are wider because of large

blank, white wall.



photo 2

Visual center and balance

point is just left of the trombone.






Balance—symmetry or asymmetry--of a grouping, creates the feeling of equal weight and visual attention. The visual center of the group in photo 2 is just left of the trombone. The literal physical center balance point is the right outer edge of the smallest certificate frame. Asymmetrically balanced, the double opening letter/photo frame--to the right--is offset by the three certificates to the left. Though the trombone remains the visual focus, the decorative frame designs do well to hold their own in the group.







photo 3

Traditional horizontal placement.








Traditional Placement

Formal groupings require symmetry in hanging. Strict horizontal, vertical or diagonal placement of like framed pieces may be the easiest way to achieve balanced symmetry with a group (photo 3). The four large silk paintings are identically framed and placed 4" apart to fill the large marble wall in this commercial building. By hanging them all evenly horizontal from a common topline--a little above eye level--a natural balance occurs. Though the subject matter varies, the medium and design remain consistent, creating a perfect unified presentation.


Copyright © Chris A Paschke, 2012



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Chris Paschke, CPF GCF

Designs Ink

785 Tucker Road, Suite G-183

Tehachapi, CA 93561