How I List My Artwork Dimensions and Why

I’ve been working on a ton of website upgrades lately. I have pages for all of my artworks now, and each page has the piece’s details (title, year, materials, and dimensions) and a little snippet to tell you something about the creation, the origin, or the meaning behind the piece. Seriously, go check out the new artwork pages!

In putting these pages together, I realized I have never consistently recorded my art’s dimensions. So, I broke out the originals I have and measured them. I can’t directly measure the originals I’ve sold, but for those I can approximate.

As I measured, I started to think, “Should I put this with the width first or the height first?” I mean, it’s important to be consistent, right? Can’t switch it up and sometimes use WxH, other times use HxW. Too confusing. But, I’d never thought about what format might be the accepted standard. So, I decided to find out.

The Standards

In the art/museum world, the standard is height x width. In the graphic design world, the standard is width x height. As an artist and graphic designer, no matter which standard I use, I’m at odds with one of my industries.

In terms of my Soulprints, I can’t sell good portion of them as originals, but that doesn’t make the artwork itself worthless. Even if the paper I drew them on is in bad shape, the drawings are still lovely images. With a little digital editing, I clean them up nicely and they make great prints. Once I scan them to digitize them, I’m concerned with the drawing itself, so I think about them in width x height in keeping with graphic design standard.

I do have many originals as well. This is where thinking about the entire object, i.e. in the entire sheet of paper and not just the drawn image, is important. It makes sense to think of the original piece as height x width in keeping with art industry standard, especially if it has been framed.

However, I make prints out of my originals too. As such, once I’ve scanned them, I have to switch back to width x height thinking. What a conundrum!

My Choice

In this situation, when there are two competing standards, I think I have to just pick one and stick with it. I mean, I can’t change up my convention all over this website and confuse visitors, can I?

What’s more, I can’t confuse MYSELF. If I were to use height x width for all of my artwork, I’d have to switch modes as soon as I open up Photoshop, and I just know I’d make careless mistakes. It wouldn’t be a big deal, of course, but it’s better to avoid the trouble anyway.

So, I use width x height, but for clarity’s sake, I use W and H in the dimensions so it’s easy to see which number corresponds with which side.