Creative Mat Styles

Mat styles

Bottom-Weighted Mats

There are many mat styles in common use. A bottom-weighted mat is one with a wider border below the art than on the top and sides. This classic technique was used when mats originated and it is still used today. We strongly suggest bottom-weighted mats on works of art that look bottom-heavy prior to framing.

Examples include pieces that are darker, more heavily textured, or contain larger shapes in the lower half of the art. However, they can also be used on anything to achieve a classic, timeless style. This style is especially suited to images from full-frame 35mm and digital format (2:3 aspect ratio) photos.

Elongated Mats

Elongated mats have wider borders above and below the art compared to the side borders. Elongation helps to dramatize pieces of art that are vertical in shape, contain strong vertical lines, such as tree trunks or picket fences, or have some form of vertical movement, like a person reaching upward or a balloon floating into the sky.

Elongation can also help a piece of art relate better to a tall narrow wall space.


The actual depth of a standard 4 ply mat is minimal. We can add depth to your mat designs by placing spacers between mat layers. Doing this enhances the depth already existing in a landscape or still life.

Spacers can also add depth to something like an abstract image that doesn’t have its own sense of depth. In fact, spacers can even create enough space to accommodate shallow objects, in lieu of a traditional shadowbox for unique mat styles.

Matboard Specifier Catalogs
papermat standard
bainbridge color style 21

You can download the PDF catalogs above to view mat samples. Download the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files.


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