Whether you’re exhibiting your artworks for sale or in a public gallery to build awareness of your work, creating effective art gallery labels is essential for success. So, what goes into art gallery labels that help sell and promote your creations? Here are some tips to make the process easier for you and your team.
Art Gallery Wall Labels Essentials
First, you need to provide the bare essentials. Always include the following information on your art gallery wall labels:
- Your name: While your art might be your passion, you still need to make a living. To build name recognition, featuring your name as the top item on your exhibit labels is crucial to building awareness of your work.
- Your work’s title: Homeowners and collectors buy a work of art for various reasons. Your title can often reveal your artwork’s subject matter. For instance, if a buyer collects paintings of horses, reading “Portrait of Secretariat” as your work’s title may drive her to purchase it.
- The medium you used: Buyers need to know whether your piece will work in the room where they want to display it. A watercolor framed under glass, for example, might not be the best choice for your buyer’s master bath. However, a sculptured 3-D plaster intaglio, says Architectural Digest’s Caroline Biggs, would be an ideal medium for a bathroom display.
- The dimensions of each work: Again, think of the practical implications of buying art. A friend of mine recently bought a lovely oil abstract painting, but it still resides in storage. Turns out, she didn’t measure the work to see if it would fit in the intended space. Including the dimensions of your work right on the label makes it easier for buyers to know if it will work in a specific space.
- The price: If you’re displaying your work for sale, price is essential to qualify a buyer. The old saw, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it,” doesn’t work in today’s competitive market. By not listing your price, you might inadvertently scare off buyers who are willing to pay your asking price.
Engage Buyers with More Detailed Exhibit Labels
In today’s technological universe, you need to find a way to connect with buyers after they go home from your gallery opening. Whether that’s opening a parallel online gallery or posting your studio’s website URL on your exhibit labels, it pays to think digital as well as in-person.
If you add even more detail to your art gallery labels. So long as you don’t overcrowd your label, it’s a great idea to provide a little more information than the bare essentials.
However, try to keep your label’s word count at 100 or fewer. Otherwise, you might give buyers eyestrain instead of utter delight.
A short description containing keywords that will attract the attention of people searching for specific types of art can help boost your likelihood of a sale. For instance, if you specialize in equestrian art, including “horse paintings,” “equestrian sculptures,” or “equestrian art,” can help search engines direct buyers to your online gallery long after they’ve left your brick-and-mortar location.
If you’ve been in the business of creating art over a few generations – or display other artists’ works from various eras, it pays to include the year of each work’s creation on your exhibit labels. Some buyers, especially those with vintage homes, like to display art from the same era as their home’s building date. Knowing that a work of art comes from that era will likely drive more sales.
Use Labeling Best Practices
To be effective, art gallery wall labels must be easy for viewers to read. Using a minimum size of 18 points – or if possible, 22 to 26 points, says Wasted Talent, makes your label readable, even for people with some visual impairments. Use a 36-point font for headings.
Since most people in Western countries read from left to right, align your art gallery wall labels to the left. Of course, if you’re displaying your work in a country whose residents read differently, align your text accordingly.
For your in-person displays, use fonts that work well for printed documents, such as Times, Garamond, and Helvetica in a dark, neutral color against a white background. However, for your online gallery and webpages, use art labels that read well in a digital format. Those fonts include Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet, and Georgia.
Be sure to proofread your custom label draft before you take it to the printer. Even though most printers will catch most typos and other errors, it pays to double-check before it goes to print.
If you order adhesive labels, you’ll want to mount them on quality cardstock or foam board, commercially available at art supply shops under the brand name Fome-Cor. Then, cut the label carefully, using a ruler and craft knife to make sure it looks as precise as your artwork itself. Removable adhesive can be used so that walls are not damaged in any way, and no residue is left behind.
Place Your Art Labels at Near Eye Level
While your art itself should be the primary focus for each piece you display, make sure that you place the labels for each piece so that people can read them without craning their necks or straining their eyes. The more comfortable buyers are when they view your work, the more likely they will purchase it.
Consider a Sign at the Entry to Your Exhibition
Artists and curators should consider placing a sign at the entry to the gallery to help attendees get acquainted with the artist’s background and expertise.
If you’re a newer artist or a relative unknown in your area, you might want to provide attendees with your business cards at the entrance to the gallery. That way, interested buyers can contact you later if they see a piece of art that pulls at their heartstrings.
Follow the same best practices as you did with your smaller labels. However, you might want to use a portable stand to display the signage, especially if you exhibit in multiple galleries.
If you’re planning a gallery opening during the coming year, plan how your gallery labels will look early on. That way, you can go over the details with your printer well before your opening, leaving you free to concentrate on your next masterpiece.
When you work with the Nova Custom Label Printing team, you’ll be partnering with people who are as passionate about great design as you are. Begin your planning process with us today!