Saturday, October 25, 2008

How to Choose Mat Colors for your Pictures - Part 3

2. Double Mat Choices
With double mats – you have many more options available to you for your second or inner mat. While the outside mat should adhere to the rules for single mat choices – because you are adding an accent color beneath – you can often allow the outer mat to be a bit stronger since the eye will naturally be drawn to the inner accent color.

The most important thing of course is that the inner accent color should now help continue your eye’s travel on to the focal point of the picture. That is why choosing the inner mat color is most critical with double mats.

One rule of thumb is to step back from the picture and decide on color order. For example: What is the dominant color, what is second, third and fourth. Often a dominant color is not obvious until you notice the overall affect. Ideally you do NOT want to use this dominant color as your accent. Instead now look at the secondary or tertiary colors and see how they relate to the focus of the image. Choose one of those colors as your accent or second mat color. That way your eye will be drawn from the outer mat to the accent to the focal point of the picture.

Artwork by Stefanie Clark -"Wolves" - Courtesy of Island Art Publishers

Want to practice matting for free? Try the MatoMatic framing tool at You can upload your own picture or choose from one of their gallery images and try different mats and mat combinations, frames and even background wall colors while you design your own projects.

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