Best Selling Gallery Wrap Sizes

So what are the Best Selling Gallery Wrap Sizes?

Are you considering offering gallery wrapped canvas prints to your customers for the first time? Not sure which are the most popular sizes to carry while evaluating the concept and opportunity? This article will help you get started…

Before we look at the most popular sizes, take a moment to look through our Cost Per Print analysis spreadsheet, which outlines the cost of producing just a single print under a variety of conditions. You can download that free, handy tool by clicking here.

Next, assuming that the subject of your prints will primarily be photography (fine art prints will largely be determined by the artist and based on the original), pixel aspect ratio will be the single best tool for determining the most popular sizes to offer.

Pixel Aspect Ratio: Describes how the width of a pixel in a digital image compares to the height of that pixel. For example, a traditional 35mm film camera has a frame that is approximately 36mm wide and 24mm high, which is best interpreted as a 3:2 ratio. Most professional cameras and Digital SLR camera’s these days also shoot in a 3:2 aspect ratio.

This means that most of the images that you will come across will be formatted in this 3:2 aspect ratio, especially if you are working with professional photographers. Therefore the 3:2 ratio will be your primary rule-of-thumb when choosing which sizes to offer as you will be able to print these images completely, without having to crop and lose some portion of the image. Examples of 3:2 aspect ratio are 8”x12”, 12”x18”, 16”x24”, 20”x30”, 24”x36”, 32”x48”, 36”x54” and so on.

There are also a handful of widely popular sizes that do not follow this logic as most consumer point and shoot cameras (PAS) use the 4:3 aspect ratio. While considering images that you may receive from those who are not professional photographers one must also take into account that images may be cropped before they are sent in to be printed. Here is a list of other sizes that are known to be very popular: 8”x10”, 11”x14”, 16”x20”, 24”x30”. These sizes fall very closely to the 4:3 aspect ratio, with minimal cropping required.

If you are just getting started with canvas prints, you may want to minimize your investment in this project while maximizing your potential to earn sales. Therefore, keeping your stretcher bar inventory low, while offering a wide selection of possible sizes, may be a goal of yours. In this case, you should look for multiple sizes that use the same width bar (in one direction). An example of this would be 8”x12” and 12”x18”, because you can use 12” bars to make both of these prints. Another would be 16”x20” and 20”x24”.

Here is a closer look at the popular sizes that fall into the 3:2 aspect ratio. If resizing your image is needed, you will be able to size it to match another frame size in the same ratio. The higher the resolution you have to begin with, the better the results will be when enlarging your file to print at a bigger size. For canvas printing, we recommend aiming for 200dpi at your final output size (If you have an 8”x12” @ 300dpi, scaling it up proportionally will get you a 12”x18” @ 200dpi. Let’s take a closer look at how this works with the 3:2 aspect ratio:

Figure A: Leave Resample Image Unchecked. This will ensure that the image is scaled proportionately. Figure B:Type the new width you need and the height/resolution will be scaled proportionately.

The diagram above illustrates what you can achieve with a 20”x30” image @ 200dpi. By simply adjusting the Image Size in Photoshop (make sure Resample Image in not checked), you can quickly size to other sizes in the same ratio. To set custom sizes you can create with this aspect ratio, simply type in the width you want and the height/resolution will be scaled proportionally.

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  • J Riley Stewart

    Not many fine art photographers constrain their choice of perspective to that offered to them by the sensor/negative design, which an engineer selected.  Instead, we decide the crop to best match our artistic intent: square, rectangular, panorama, etc. 
    Your advise is relevant, still. The artist needs to determine which “sizes” of prints will be his/her 3-5 most commonly used and stock supplies that accommodate those common sizes. The decision impacts not only stretcher bars but if not finishing the work in gallery wraps, then it also affects glass and frame sizes. The message is to select the 3-5 dimensions and try to make cropping and presentation styles adapt to those dimensions. This is a matter of efficiency and economy.
    J Riley Stewart

    • Paul Morales

      Exactly. That seems to be the best approach when determining what sizes should be offered. From a business standpoint, you’re saving on materials and time. Good logic.

      • sueyq

        very good article and good discussion. I learned a lot from you all. I first came looking for one thing, plain and simple. What is the most popular size canvas used or purchased. whether it was for painting or photography it did not matter. Now the reason that I got so much out of this little discussion is because I am an artist returning to the field of art and I am interested in it all. I Paint and I also love taking pictures(Photos) and then digitally enhance or change the image. But the ones I have change some of the ratio and the pixel size get crazy. So it matters greatly!( I want good size image on canvas) and all of that was stated in the replys added to my learning. The tid bits I got here were great!. Size matters so much!! I want the average size for that kind of medium both. I love what I do however I do have to make a living. for a while it was hard to part with some of my images. however I am learning to let go and make a copy online. So I can have my cake and eat it too!! smile. So in closing I want to say that to you Paul and all the others who added greatly to this conversation.

        • Justin Bodin

          Thanks for reading and commenting! We are really glad you enjoyed the article and discussion.

  • Luca Ragogna

    Crap. I’m going to be “that” guy. Pixel Aspect Ratio refers specifically to the aspect ratio of pixels (oddly enough). Photographers work with square pixels but some video formats specify a rectangular pixel. What you were talking about is just regular old “aspect ratio”

    • Paul Morales

      Hi Luca,

      I wanted to keep the explanation of aspect ratio brief and easy to understand, but your points are valid. Yes, the pixel aspect ratio refers to the ratio of pixels, but I suppose the terms are discussed intermittently and that sometimes can cause confusion. Sorry about that! 

    • t.linn

      I was going to be “that” guy but you beat me to it, Luca.  I’m a video guy and pixel aspect ratio is a very specific term referring to the shape of the pixel itself.  (Standard def video used rectangular shaped pixels while computers used square pixels.  In the world of HD video, everything is square.)  I’m not sure how using that term in this context is appropriate in even a general sense.  Sensor aspect ratio is what the author refers to.

  • Mitch Bentley

    Nice article. I don’t often see anything here that interests me. I do art on canvas from digital images, but I am not a photographer – I create art vis assorted 3D programs, Photoshop painting, plugins and filters.

    This points to an old argument between myself and my wife, who is a photographer. She hates to crop her images, even though she is aware from her journalistic background and art history background, that it is often necessary. I always tell her to format for standard framing because of my illustration, gallery and art history background. What this article misses is the standards offered in the framing industry, which will disappoint the common photography formats. Most of the sizes that have been standards for decades are not these ratios. Yes, 8×12 is standard, but 11×14, 16×20 and 18×24 are also standards that go unmentioned herein.

    Cropping is not evil, especially if you just keep it in mind when you shoot. I know they teach photographers to frame in the viewfinder, but it saves a lot of headachs if you just make a simple allowance. As an illustrator, I have to do this with every image because of book, magazine of other formats… then I need to make more allowances for framing of prints after that. Perhaps the bulk of Breathing Color’s clientele is Photographers, but you may be surprised how many others you have out here. Digital art is becoming a new standard in its own right.

    The other 2 comments are also spot-on.
    Mitch Bentley

    • Mitch Bentley

      Ah, I forgot to mention 2 other things that caught my eye – ppi (“pixels per inch” as opposed to dpi which is “dot per inch”) is the more correct term, and 300ppi is the standard resolution in the print industry. Frankly, I do resample when going down; but ALWAYS rename and re-save as a differently formatted version. I don’t want a 668ppi 11×14 print – that is overkill.

      My apologies BTW, you do mention the other sizes, but it is about standards, rather than popularity. It is also safe to say that many of the sizes you first mention are becoming new standards.

      • Paul Morales

        Good points Mitch. I agree that 300 is an optimal resolution for printing, but in this case we’re talking about canvas. Since canvas has a texture/weave, you can get excellent quality prints at 200dpi (or less) and have it still be comparable to other high res prints. This is actually advantageous because it allows each print maker to explore larger sizes while still retaining good print quality.

        If we were talking photo papers, I would absolutely keep it at 300. But in the case of canvas, we have more room to work with. Hope this helps!

    • Paul Morales

      Great insight and great points on cropping and the different artistic backgrounds! While I do mention some other sizes, I should have been more clear about which sizes are popular and why.

      Thanks for the comment Mitch!

  • Bob

    Article fails to answer the question “Best Selling Gallery Wrap Sizes” 
    I was hoping for information about which sizes were in greatest demand by consumers.

    • Paul Morales

      Hello Bob,

      Thank you for the comment. I was hoping to provide insight as to why certain sizes are more popular (based on today’s cameras), so those sizes are listed with the explanation of aspect ratio. Looking back on it, I should have written these sizes in list form so they would be easier to spot in the article. Those sizes are: 8”x12”, 12”x18”, 16”x24”, 20”x30”, 24”x36”, 32”x48”, 36”x54”, and 40″x60″.

      I appreciate your thoughts and will definitely try to be more thorough next time around!

    • John

      Did you ever get an answer, Bob? I was googling this exact question and all I see are complicated blah blah blah techie comments that don’t answer the simple question. I wanted to know the most commercially popular sizes of art that is purchased

  • Barbalbano

    After studying the deep discounts offered on Groupon I came to the conclusion that they offer the sizes they do  so they can print  2 side by side. This minimizes the waste of canvas. Thus, we structure our sales to entice the customer to buy 2 of any 16 x 12, 16 x 20, or 16 x 24 so we can print them side by side on the 40 inch Lyve canvas. Popular size  in my world is the size that gives the best profit margin.

    • Paul Morales

      Good points Barbalbano. Anything you can do to maximize the printable areas on the canvas and cut down on waste is a good thing! Thank you for sharing.

  • Tccpaint

    You can also buy Perfect Resize, a plug in that works with PS5 very well.  Then you can take your print resolution up to 16×20 and 360ppi, for HDR printing on canvas!
    David Doll Crown Photography

    • Paul Morales

      Thanks David. Perfect Resize is a useful tool for enlarging images to print. Oh, and great shots on Flickr!

  • Shirley Holloman

    love this post it is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks

    • Paul Morales

      Thank you Shirley! We are happy to help provide insight towards helping your business.

  • Pez

    Very helpful and informative blog. Thanks.