Mat board, which is also referred to as ‘mat’, is a paper-based material that has various applications. Decorative framing and digital framing, artwork and posters, photography, desk calendar, as well as open-ended reproduction are all recommended to use matboard as a method to create a differentiated visual experience.
Five aspects can be the primary determinants of the quality of a matboard, they are thickness, acidity, core, finish and colour. A high-quality matboard cannot only decorate your work but also protect it from potential damages.
The thickness of a matboard is measured by PLY. 4-PLY usually is the standardized specification of matboard. However, the 2-PLY or 8-PLY mat is also available in the market. 2-PLY is for smaller pieces, as well as when the customers do not want their work being over-shined by the matboard. On the other hand, 8-PLY can offer an extra presence to the overall design.
The thickness also creates depth in your artwork, and the entire piece will look more professional. Furthermore, a thicker matboard is less likely to warp. Therefore, the thicker a matboard is, the higher quality it is. Ultimately, users should also consider the circumstance on where and how they will be using the mat.
There are three mainstream cores available in the matboard market, which are standard core (also called cream core), white core, and black core. The core means the material that the matboard is made of, which can be revealed with the bevel cut. The typical thickness of a core is one-eighth of an inch.
While the standard is the most affordable option and many retailers also opt-in this core for most of their products, white and black cores can offer a more professional overall feeling to the matboard.
In terms of standard core, it is cheap and cost-effective for both manufacturers and users; however, there is a disadvantage follows, which is the matboard will fade and become slightly yellow looking with exposure to sunlight over the years.
On the other hand, white and black cores are acid-free, and they have the ability to retain colour much longer than the cream core. Further, the artwork can be shown up well against black or white core’s matboards. It is also recommended that white or black photo should use black cores, which can reflect the true colour of the picture itself.
The bevel, cut accuracy and cleanliness are stated to be the most crucial aspect in identifying the quality of the matboard’s finish.
In terms of the bevel, a 45-degree bevel cut is suggested, it is much better than a straight cut, and it is the unspoken standard of the industry. However, some of the manufacturers will use simple press cutter, which results in a straight cut, to save money.
Cut accuracy is also crucial in criticizing the finish of the matboard. There are some criteria you can use to judge whether the cut accuracy is good from a specific manufacturer. Firstly, the perfect border alignment should be necessary; it ensures the inside boarders line up correctly and parallel to the outside edge. Secondly, an opening outer size accuracy can make sure the matboard has the exact size that fits both the frame and the artwork.
The other aspect to judge the finish quality can be done by checking if there are any fingerprints and smudges; if there are any bends and creases; or if the matboard is clean and without any scratches. Leading companies like DY Matboard can always ensure they perform excellently in all aspects; therefore, saving customers efforts by providing the best-quality products.
Colour is a very personal aspect to identify if it is suitable for your artwork or photos. However, the sharpness and intensity of the colour are usually positively related to the quality. Further, the tone on the matboard can be maintained much longer if a high-quality matboard is used.
The colour can also be referring to designs and pattern on the matboard. For instance, DY Matboard provides Chinese style collection, adornment picture collection and textile fabric collection. The same colour can yield differentiated feelings in these three groups. Customers can take advantages from the design so that their works can stand out more than others.
In the ”core’ section, we mentioned that acid-free core could reduce the impact of sunlight exposure. The surface can also be acid-free or not. A 100% acid-free matboard is only available in cotton-fibre based product, and they are used for museum arts which need to be preserved for hundreds of years. An acid-free core is not related to an acid-free surface; though the core’s colour may not fade or yellow if you pick up the white or black option, the surface colour can still be discoloured if it is acidic.
Overall, if you are looking for the absolute best option of matboard, and you plan to use it for your valuable pieces of artworks, then acid-free surface and core is vital. Further, you should also be contacting a trusted manufacturer such as DY Matboard; in this case, the finish, colour, and the thickness can be tailored perfectly to your works, and the entire product can be more outstanding and unique.