Business Alliance Member - Douglas Miller of Framing by Design

12 Mar 2017 5:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

  • Can you tell us about Framing By Design ? How long have you been in business in Atlanta? 

I was doing the books for my best friend who owned a frame shop in the late 80’s. Although I wasn’t framing at the time I had learned a lot from just observing what he did. I enjoyed seeing the fun and creative work he was doing and thought it might be something I too would enjoy. He needed help and I was a bit burned out of the restaurant management job that I had. I sat at a computer for the next six months and began writing programs tailored to our business. He had been doing everything manually and was either not charging enough or charging too much. As I learned the business from the accounting end I also learned it from the production end. After a year or so of “apprenticeship” I felt I knew enough about the industry and decided to buy him out. 

  • What kinds of  framing services do you offer? 
We pretty much do anything that our customers ask of us and if we can’t do it we will refer them to someone than can. Most people just want basic framing. A frame, a mat or two and some glass. We also offer specialty cuts into mats since we have a computerized mat cutter. A lot of people don’t realize that they have many options available to them. People know that there are tons of frame options, but most don’t realize that there are also many mat choices such as paper, rag, silk, linen, suede and leather. We also make mats out of specialty papers and customer supplied fabrics to match their interior. Glass is another one of those things people no little about. In my industry we call it glazing. That basically means any substance used to cover and protect the underlying art. Sure it can be glass, but it can also mean plastic, laminate or a clear coat of a spray sealant. There are also many varieties of each of these glazing types including anti-reflective, conservation grade and museum grades. Museum glass, although a bit expensive, will not only be nearly invisible, but will also cut out nearly 98% of damaging UV rays.

  • With all of the new technology in photographs and digital technology , How has that impacted the framing business over the years?
I have always embraced the new technology and although it has impacted my bottom line a bit it hasn’t been something I worry too much about. Nowadays it’s easy to snap a photo with your phone, upload it to an online service and have it printed and framed, pretty much on the cheap. But do you really know exactly what you are getting? How was it mounted? What sort of tapes or adhesives were used? Is the frame some cheap plastic? Digital prints, whether they be to paper, canvas or even fabric are another story. I say go for it, but bring them to a professional framer to get them framed 

  • Where do you see the business going with all of the changes ?
I’m pretty much an optimist, in both my personal and business life so there is really only one way to look at things. I’ve learned to evolve and adapt to change.  

  • What makes a good " frame"  shop ?
Knowledge is power. A farmer knows his crops, his soil, his seed and his animals. A framer too knows his craft, albeit a bit different than a farmer. A framer needs to know color, texture and all the techniques involved in designing a good looking piece as well as the conservative properties some pieces need in order to maintain the value of that piece. A good framer will determine your likes and dislikes and suggest something that will fit in with your tastes as well as budget. A good framer will also use good materials. My biggest pet peeve has always been framers that have used materials there were not intended for the framing industry. Most of these are tapes and adhesives that are not acid free. Acids in these inferior products will ultimately damage the underlying artwork. I have seen pieces hinged in with scotch tape, painters tape, electrical tape, masking tape, S&H green stamps and I even had one that was hinged in with a used band aid
  • How should a buyer measure artwork when buying a frame  ?
A buyer need not worry about measuring a piece of artwork other than making sure the completed piece will fit in it’s intended space. We always tell a customer who may be concerned of size constraints what their finished piece size will be.

  • What is Rabett depth and why is it important ? 
A rabbet is the overall depth that any frame can accommodate. Most people need not concern themselves with rabbet depth since any good framer would only show you options of moldings that would accommodate the depth of the artwork.

  • Can you tell us about some of your favorite projects ? And Why ? 
Most of my favorites tend to be the family heirlooms or things out of the ordinary. We recently framed some old war maps and compass from WWI that belonged to a customers great grandfather. Our customer was so happy to have something that meant so much to him and his family hanging on the wall to enjoy instead of in some box in the attic. We recently framed the original stir stick used in the manufacturing of Coca Cola. That stick was about four and a half feet long and well over 100 years old. We have framed Olympic torches, a piece of mirror that Elvis supposedly kissed for a fan, a real Renoir and believe it or not, lizards on a stick.  

  • We have seen your work and think it is really exceptional. People like to take many shortcuts with framing and sometimes with disappointing results. Why get it done professionally  ? 
Thank you. Most people fail to look at the long term. Many an IKEA frame has come across my worktable. Sure, they look okay and are an affordable alternative to having a piece professionally done. Nearly every customer that has bought these types of frames if not already will soon be saying that they wasted money. The quality is not that good and over time they fail and fall apart. A quality frame will last not only for your lifetime, but for your children and their children and possibly longer. Amortized over your lifetime, a piece of custom framed artwork is really not that expensive. Probably less than a monthly car payment. You bought the art because you liked it, it touched you or it means something to you. Why would you not have it framed properly.

  • How can customers find you ? Do you offer out of town shipping services? 
We don’t offer shipping services and recommend you tell us if you intend to ship your framed artwork so we can discuss options. Customers can find us at 1830 Piedmont Avenue. Right next to the Iconic Gorilla Car Wash. We are open Monday - Friday from 10 - 7 and Saturday from 10 -4. Running late? We can wait for you.

Douglas Miller

1830 Piedmont Avenue

Atlanta, Georgia  30324


Contact Us

Piedmont Heights Civic Association
1579 Monroe Dr. NE, Ste. 307
Atlanta, GA 30324


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