Increasing the value can help you charge more for your prints. Doing so requires finding ways to make your print worth more and creating an emotional attachment to the buyer with the print. Many companies you know do this in ways which you may not have even been aware of. They use techniques to influence the buyer’s decision by making them believe they are paying for a higher quality product. This might include how the product is packaged to its placement in a store.
The term giclee is used to describe a digital print created with archival inks and typically on archival media. This term was created to improve the perception of the print by also giving it a fancy name. You know your print has value outside of just the cost of materials and inks which make up your print. But the question you should ask yourself is how effective are in creating worth of the print in the mind of your buyers. A buyer probably has little to no idea as to what was involved in reproducing the art print so it might be necessary to take some steps to help them feel it is worth more. Below are some ways you can do this. Oh, and these are not just for artists making reproductions of artwork. Fine art photographers should also consider utilizing some of these same methods.
Limited or Special Edition
Offer limited edition prints. These types of prints create a sense of uniqueness and exclusivity. In the eyes of the buyer, they are receiving something of an elevated status. Signing and numbering as described above is required in most scenarios. In today’s digital age, it is easy to cheat and do these on demand, but you really should print these all at once. You will likely want to include a COA with the same info.
I place this as one of the most obvious and best things you can do. Obviously if using a service like FinerWorks, a signed print is going to require you have the print shipped to you so you can sign it. If drop shipping, signed prints might be more difficult since we we are shipping prints to your customers for you. But in some cases, the artists have come to us before we have shipped their prints. They sign, then we ship them. We have had artists place such importance on signed prints, they have travelled from around the world to our main facility, just to place their name on them before they are shipped. Signing a print is not required but if you are doing a numbered series, it is necessary under most circumstances I can think of. The most common place to sign is in the left or right bottom in a margin or on a border. Usually, it is signed with pencil or fine point pen. If it is a limited-edition print, include both the current number out of the total plus the total near the signature. If an actual physical signature is not something you can do (think drop shipping), we have had artists create margins around the image and apply realistic looking signatures in that margin, so it becomes part of the image file.
A Certificate of Authenticity
Along with a signature, COAs are the other top method used to increase the value of a print. The rules behind a print’s COA are relatively easy to follow. Ideally it will include a description of the media (i.e. paper), ink types used, the title of the work and name of the artist. A lot of COAs I see will also include a thumbnail image of the artwork printed on the certificate. If the print is an open edition print, the certificate should indicate this, otherwise you will likely want to include the print’s number and the total number in the edition set. The certificate does not have to be signed but doing so should add to the worth more, especially if your certificate represents a signed and number series. You can create a COA on your own personal letterhead and in a letter format, but your buyers feel it is more official if presented in a more certificate style.
Offer Framed / Matted Prints
This is perhaps the method that will yield the greatest sense of value for most prints. Yes, your cost will go up, especially with the cost of a frame but out of all the methods, a frame creates the most dimension. I always tell people a print by itself can be impressive but for some it just may seem like a 2-dimensional piece of paper. When a print is in a frame, it becomes a work of art in the eyes of most.
Placing the print is a special presentation folder or box adds a sense of luxury and class. Take Apple as an example. They have masterfully achieved the packaging process. So much so, you may even be one of those Apple customers that has a hard time throwing away the box your iPad or iPhone came in because you feel even the box itself has valuable. There are many buyers like that who succumb to that inner feeling in which the packaging is an extension of the item they purchased. Again, move your art prints from the realm of being a 2-dimensional piece of paper into the realm of dimension.
This is one I do not see too often but is easy to do. Provide a written document or flyer on separate piece of paper to be included with the print. A good place to start is with an artist bio. But it could also include information about the papers, the inks or other materials which make up the print. This would be more detailed than what would be found on a COA. If there is any history you can share around or a story behind the decision to reproduction of the artwork, including what inspired its creation, add it. Photographers might want to also talk about how the story they have in capturing the image represented by the print.
You may have come across other ways to do this. Now is probably the best time to evaluate your current methods of selling and if there is any way you can accomplish improving your prints’ value. Many artists have been impacted by increased cost in production for giclee prints so finding ways to offset higher expenses may become more important than ever.
These are not the only ways to improve your prints’ value. Talk to others that are selling, look at how they are selling their work and try various techniques yourself. You might be surprised at how much more you can increasing the value of the print while improving the buyer’s experience.