Limiting print numbers, and a request for advice.

So, we are having this exhibition next Friday, and our printing is being done through RB. We picked up the prints that are going to hang in the gallery yesterday afternoon, and they look FABULOUS! First time I’ve seen a large framed print from RB, and they’re good! Very good. The frames look great, the mat is cut perfectly, the polycarbonate (or whatever kind of plastic it is) on the front is very nice (this is something I was a bit worried about, but not any more), and they even have a wire and hooks on the back, and felt pads to protect your walls. All very nice. We picked up 24 of these buggers, and they completely filled up the back of the car, scary stuff!

(as an aside, the preview for “off-white” mat when you go to buy a print is a horrible Baileys-like creamy-beige, whereas in reality it’s very nice, don’t get put off!)

So, that’s all good.

The next stage is taking them to gallery, hanging them, then opening the show (PLEASE COME!) and sitting back while the dollars roll in.

Ha ha yes… Anyway this is where the problem starts. Most of the artists in the show want to limit the edition to a certain number of prints. Ideally, we would even want to somehow sign either the mat of the back of the frame. This of course is impossible with the sales going through Red Bubble.

The question is, do we embrace the print-on-demand, web2.x etc zeitgeist, and just make everything available to print in an unlimited way, and make this a <b>feature</b> rather than a bug, or do we come up with some arcane way of limiting the number of prints that are sold? If so, how on earth?

I think the buying public are going to have trouble with option 1 to be honest. These are people who have come into a gallery to look at (and perhaps buy) some special item. To go up to the gallery assistant and be told to go home, log on to RB and enter a credit card number and wait for a package in the post is certainly going to be a challenging concept to a certain proportion of the public. It’s fine when things are displayed on a web site because the people looking in the first place are going to be reasonably internet savvy.

This is both the strength and the curse of this exhibition, and we’re all struggling to find a way through!

One option would be to maintain a register of interested buyers at the gallery during the course of the exhibition, and then organise payment and printing ourselves – ie get the cash, go to RB ourselves and get the work posted to ourselves, and then deliver/post on. I think this will probably be a reasonable option for most people, but it doesn’t exactly leverage the unique opportunity of using RB infrastructure (ie payment and postage) that we have.

Anyone have any bright ideas?

PS come and buy lots of our stuff, and see what whacky solution we come up with ;> Go on.

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