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What's Different About Personalised Wall Art?

April 22, 2020 4 min read

why personalised art is different to traditional art

Personalised wall art, by it's very nature, is different to traditional wall art. Why? Here are five very good reasons.

(1) Personalised wall art is not all about the artist's vision

An original painting or photograph comes from an artist's vision, or as close as they could get to that vision with the resources available to them. 

Artists can try different compositions and colours. Photographers can change the viewpoint of the photograph (left a bit, back a bit...). Artists and photographers choose to include some things in their finished picture and they choose to exclude others. They've made concious or unconcious decisions about what looks best.

With personalised wall art, the personal message is all-important - this message has to be delivered. Personalised wall art needs to be more than something attractive hanging on a wall - it has to look attractive AND deliver the personal message. With personalised wall art, the creator can't decide to simply exclude part of the personal message because they think the final composition looks better without it.

(2) The message in personalised wall art forces design compromises 

Imagine a very simple piece of personalised wall art - a square print with a single name printed on it. Short names on a square print work well - the name is large enough to read and it has space to 'breathe' on all sides around it.

Longer names are more difficult. They have to be printed in smaller text than short names. There's a compromise (a design decision) between how much space appears above and below the name and how much space appears on either side. Long names just don't work as well on a square print.

This is always the case with wall art that incorporates a personal message. The message must be delivered but the message also causes design compromises in layout and colour. The piece might look 'better' with a shorter message, for example, but without the message in personalised wall art, the wall art isn't personal.


(3) Personalised wall art tends to be word-based

You can make art out of words. Many people do. Just search on Pinterest for 'Word Art' and you'll find no end of beautiful (and not-so-beautiful!) creations.

The personalised element of most personalised wall art consists of words - names, place names, dates, descriptions of events. We use words to communicate, remember and celebrate things, so we use words when we want a piece of wall art to include personal message.

Most traditional art, however, is image-based. Most artists and photographers don't choose to restrict themselves to working exclusively with words so they have fewer restrictions to work under and a larger palette of ideas from which to create their images. The inclusion of words means more restricted design choices.


(4) Personalised wall art exists for a specific purpose with a specific person or people in mind

Personalised wall art is all about the connection between the wall art and the person (or people) it's designed for, and perhaps the additional connection of the person who gave it to them.

Personal wall art exists to trigger a memory or celebrate something specific to the individual who hangs the art on their wall. Other commissioned art usually exists for a very specific purpose too - a portrait commission, for example. 

But this is a world away from the stereotypical view of the traditional artist who paints what they please and then either leaves it to gather dust in their studio or broadcasts the results to the world. That's not to say we can't have a connection with this kind of art - of course we can. We can love the style and the colours, we can love the subject, but our connection to the artwork is not the reason it was created.

Personalised wall art wouldn't exist without the specific person who it was created for, non-personalised art would.


(5) Personalised wall art is displayed for a different purpose

Personalised wall art is displayed because of the connection it has with people -the milestone it celebrates, the memory it evokes or the way it connects with someone's identity. That's different to most art, which is displayed because we love how it looks or we love the way it makes a particular room look. 

Personal wall art has a different job to do - it tells our story. Art that isn't personal doesn't tell our story, it shows our taste.

So now we understand why personalised wall art is different from traditional art, what can we do with this information?

We can treat buying the two types of art differently.

The search for pictures we love is something of an adventure and a gamble - popping into galleries, browsing exhibitions - but there's always the chance, no matter how slim, that you'll come across something you absolutely love. When you do, you better be ready! More than once I've seen a picture I adore and failed to buy it. And, realising my mistake, when I've gone back, the picture was gone.

With personalised wall art, you're more in control. You can decide who to design it for and what you want it to celebrate, even the precise words that will appear on it. If it's a gift, you're probably less likely to have to take a chance on whether the recipient likes the style. And if you don't buy it today, you'll probably still be able to buy it tomorrow.

Our map grid prints are designed to work both as traditional art (where you choose it because you like how it looks) and as personal wall art (where you choose it for the personal connection). 

Personalised map of the UK by elevencorners

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