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Standard Frame Sizes

Updated on October 1, 2014
Size matters when it comes to framing. Custom framing is good in theory, but can cost far more than its actual market worth.
Size matters when it comes to framing. Custom framing is good in theory, but can cost far more than its actual market worth.

Size Matters

As an artist or photographer, have you ever struggled with matching frame sizes to your prints? I know I have, until I learned that the frame size actually relates to the inside dimensions of a frame (For instance, an 8x8 frame holds an 8x8 image). With that in mind, I started making art that fit these pre-determined standard frame sizes. It saves you a lot of money, especially considering the sometimes outrageous price of custom framing. What kind of artist or photographer can afford that kind of job? None that I know, that's for sure!

Check below to see some of the standard picture frame sizes - and how you can save money while you're at it.

Most Common Frame Sizes - Quick Chart

 
 
 
4x7
9x12
12x16
5x5
10x13
13x19
5x7
10x20
14x18
7x7
11x14
16x20
8x8
11x17
18x24
8x10
12x12
20x30
8.5x11
12x16
24x36

Most Popular Picture Frame Sizes:

5×7

A 5x7 picture frame is best suited for family photography and desk display. While you can certainly add a hanger and create a wall collage, these frames will most often come with an easel backing for your desk, mantle or nightstand.

8×10 / 8.5x11

Frames of this size are often used for standing displays (much like a 5x7) with an easel backing, but are versatile enough to be used in wall display. An 8x10 frame is great for certificates and diplomas, and an 8.5x11 size is one of the most diverse frame sizes. Since it is the most widely-used size for printing, you'll find that there are limitless ways to make use of these dimensions.

11x14

11×14 frames can often include an off white mat for an 8×10 image, just like an 8x10 can hold a mat for a 5x7 frame. Both sizes are versatile, but the 11x14 allows for better wall display and Expands the look dimensions of the previous frames.

11x17

11x17 frames are one of the most popular picture frame sizes for artists who sell prints of their work. These are also effective as mini-posters: if you're into live music or theatre at all, you've no doubt seen this print size. As a frame, these are about as reliable and widely-used as an 8.5x11 and look particularly nice on the wall in landscape orientation.

16x20

Looking to hang some wall art? These dimensions are perfect for mid-sized displays of art in your home. When you want your art to take up more space than the other options, this is the way to go. In this size, you will typically find more decorative and interior design-driven art.

24x36

The classic poster size. Most posters you will buy online are in this size - plenty big enough to cover a great deal of wall space without really trying. Frames this big usually suffer from a bit of "hangxiety" - a lot of times they will break off from the wall unless you have some good support keeping it up. I also would recommend a wood or sturdy polystyrene material for the moulding material (the "shell" of the frame.) These are a great seller if you take very detailed photographs or want to show off your art skills in a large size.

Frame Size Poll

Which Picture Frame Sizes Do You Prefer?

See results
This Floater Frame from Frame USA is an example of saving money and pre-planning your art to be a standard size - a cheaper floater frame without the mess of going custom.
This Floater Frame from Frame USA is an example of saving money and pre-planning your art to be a standard size - a cheaper floater frame without the mess of going custom.

Standard Frame Sizes Summarized

Whether you need photo frames or affordable options for selling your work, knowing the standard sizes for your frames is a critical part of increasing sales as a creative professional. Be sure to check back my future articles on other ways to save money in the photo and art industry! If you'd like any additional resources on the most common frame sizes, be sure to ask below. I also welcome any contribution to the discussion - what ways do you save money in the art and framing industry?

I'll share my first source I mentioned earlier in this article, who also made a similar post: FrameUSA.com

© 2014 Kevin Little

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