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  • Writer's pictureAbdul Qudoos

How To Label Photography Medium for Exhibitions?

Updated: Apr 7

How To Label Photography Medium

What if I told you that the label you choose for your photography can make or break your exhibition? It's true.

The label is more than just a name tag. It's a powerful tool that connects your image with your audience and tells a story that goes beyond the visual.

But how do you create a label that does justice to your photography and captures the attention of your viewers? That's what this guide is all about.

You'll learn how to label photography medium for exhibitions and discover the best practices that will make your work stand out.

Why Labeling Matters in Exhibitions

Labels in exhibitions serve a greater purpose than just naming the work. They act as a portal into the photograph's significance, allowing viewers to tap into the artist's vision and creative process.

Well-crafted labels provide crucial details that transport viewers deeper into the image. They build a narrative around the work that reveals key information on when, where, why, and how the photograph was taken.

For the photographer, labels represent their voice in the exhibition space. It's a chance to articulate concepts and share perspectives that shaped their photographic journey.

In essence, labels unlock deeper meaning that takes the viewing experience to the next level. Rather than just seeing, viewers are experiencing and engaging with the artwork on a richer level.

Key Decisions for Labeling Photographs

Acrylic Sign Holders

Acrylic sign holders offer an elegant and streamlined look, especially for modern or contemporary exhibitions. The transparency allows the photograph to take center stage while discreetly delivering the crucial label information.

However, some downsides exist. Acrylic can create an overly sterile impression that detracts from more organic photography. There is also potential for glare depending on the lighting. Prints may appear washed out behind the plastic.

Printed Labels

Traditional printed labels provide flexibility in terms of label shape, size, and visual design elements. They enable customization for specific needs.

While they lack the sleekness of acrylic, printed labels pair naturally with more traditional photograph styles. Using high-quality, archival inks and acid-free papers ensures longevity.

Tips for Choosing Between Methods

  • Consider label size needs. If labels must be oversized, printed labels allow more freedom.

  • Assess glare potential. Acrylic labels near spotlights may cause problematic reflections.

  • Evaluate costs. Printed labels get more economical at higher quantities.

  • Factor in label life expectancy. Acrylic often lasts longer than paper.

  • Determine aesthetics. Pick the method that best matches the style of the photographs.

  • Assess ease of changing. Printed labels make late content changes simpler.

Crafting Optimal Label Content

The information presented on the label provides crucial context. Follow these best practices for informative, readable exhibition labels:

Include Key Details

  • Artist's full name

  • Title of photograph

  • Date of image

  • Dimensions

  • Photographic process used

  • Edition number (if a limited edition print)

Omit Non-Essential Data

  • Don't clutter labels with tangential information like the photographer's birthplace or musings about inspiration. Stick to factual details directly related to the image.

Mind Character Counts

  • Use clear, concise language.

  • Avoid jargon and art theory buzzwords.

  • Craft digestible sentences that get right to the point.

Seek Consistent Structure

Maintain the same order of info on all labels for continuity. Such as:

  • Artist Name

  • Title

  • Date

  • Medium

  • Dimensions

Place this essential data first before any secondary details.

Size Matters

  • Use a font sized appropriately for easy readability at a glance (generally 20-point font or higher).

  • Allow adequate white space around text for visual separation.

  • Keep line length short enough for comfortable reading.

Creating Physical Labels

For professional quality, physical exhibition labels should use:

  • Acid-free paper - Prevents yellowing and decay over time.

  • Archival ink - Fades minimally for long-lasting labels.

  • Clean fonts - Sans serif fonts like Arial provide maximum legibility.

  • Appropriate scale - Text should be readable from a reasonable distance.

  • Concise text - Include only key details relevant to that work.

  • Visual consistency - Maintain cohesive font, layout, and color choices.

Affixing Physical Labels

When affixing labels directly onto photographs, take care by:

  • Pressing down gently at the edges when positioning

  • Choosing archival tape or adhesives

  • Attaching to framing instead of print if possible

  • Avoiding moisture bubbles underneath

Also, consider weight. Heavier materials like wood or acrylic may require:

  • Strong double-sided tape

  • Small screws into the frame backing

  • Velcro for easy detachment

Avoid tape or adhesives directly on photographs to prevent residue or tears.

Protecting Physical Labels

For label longevity:

  • Store prints/labels out of direct sunlight to prevent fading

  • Maintain cool, dry conditions with proper ventilation

  • Gently clean labels only when needed using archival methods

  • Handle labels carefully to avoid tears, scratches, or dents

With vigilant care and handling, labels and photographs can be exhibited for many years.

Generating Digital Labels

For interactive multimedia labels, utilize:

  • Label design software like Adobe apps

  • QR code generators

  • Digital displays like tablets, TVs, and projectors

Update content digitally instead of reprinting to save time and money.

Best Practices for Label Design

Well-designed labels enhance the exhibition experience. Follow these key principles:


  • Use clean, simple fonts at a readable size

  • High-contrast colors for easy scanning

  • Avoid long paragraphs or small text


  • Maintain cohesive visual style throughout all labels

  • Organize label content in a consistent order


  • Align with exhibition branding for a unified look

  • Reinforce the brand through logos, fonts, colors

White Space

  • Allow breathing room around text with margins

  • Reduce visual clutter to highlight photography

Final Words

Here are the key takeaways from the article:

  • Well-designed labels enhance meaning and provide context

  • Choose durable, archival materials suited for long-term display

  • Convey only key details relevant to that photograph

  • Position labels unobtrusively in a consistent location

  • Take care affixing labels to avoid any damage

Proper labeling is more than just identification. It allows photographers to communicate the vision behind each photograph in their exhibitions. Follow these best practices, and labels will effectively showcase photography while engaging audiences.

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