Do you find it more challenging to get gallery visitors to slow down and really make a connection with the art on the walls? There is so much more competition and channels to see art these days. How do you stand out and make looking a more engaging experience? Art exhibition labels.
The wall labels you create for artworks are a perfect opportunity to make a more meaningful and emotional connection between viewer and art.
In this article, let’s explore how writing engaging labels can help you sell more art off the gallery walls.
What is the goal of your art gallery’s exhibit labels?
Of course, you want an art label to communicate information such as the artist’s name, the title of the work, size, and medium. Price is also important to include. This is a fundamental goal for your gallery’s labels, but you can do so much more to make them a more powerful sales tool.
Take cues from how museum curators approach their exhibition labels. A great deal of thought is put into labels because they add to the experience of viewing art. Often the museum’s goal is to provide historical context. As a contemporary art gallery, your goals will differ a little from a museum. You want the viewing experience to be a path to sales.
Consider these three goals that could lead to more sales opportunities.
- First, your goal for gallery labels might be to create a bridge to the artist for the viewer on a deeper level or to expand on how a specific work of art ties into an exhibition theme. This can significantly enhance to viewer’s experience and connection to a piece.
- Another goal could be to encourage the viewer to look longer and with a clearer perspective on the intention of a work of art. What can you share that may not be obvious but gives more meaning to a piece. That’s where emotional connections are made.
- Finally, you want your wall labels to encourage a conversation with you, the gallerist, or the artist. The information you include could pique curiosity and the viewer’s interest in knowing more.
Finding your information format for art exhibition labels
The sky is the limit when it comes to the type of information you include on your gallery’s labels. It can vary depending on the show’s requirements and how certain information could enhance the viewer’s understanding. However, once you select a format for an exhibition, be consistent with all the labels.
You might include a quote about specific pieces from the artist to share their philosophy or inspiration. Labels could also be an opportunity to share your curatorial thought process and why each piece was selected for a show or what you feel the work contributes to the dialog of the theme. Or, if work is created with an unusual technique, you could explain the process of how the artwork is produced.
If more appropriate, you could also create more extensive stand-alone panels of descriptive text that discuss a smaller group of artworks within the exhibition. This can be helpful if works are hung in particular order to tell a story. Explanatory panels can help ensure that story is understood.
The format you choose will help cultivate a more meaningful and emotional connection with the work.
Information that may NOT be helpful to the viewer to include on labels is opinions on aesthetic quality or artist biographical information. This type of content is best obtained from other sources.
With all your labels assembled for an exhibition, it is a good idea to review them collectively to make sure the format and style are uniform. You also want to make sure they meet your goals for the labels and message you want to share.
It’s a small thing, but it can help viewers better connect the works of art and experience the show as you and your artists intended.
Guidelines for writing compelling gallery wall labels.
While including additional text with the basic information about a piece can go a long way to enhance the viewer’s enjoyment, you don’t want to overwhelm gallery visitors.
Here are six tips to keep in mind when writing influential art exhibition labels.
- Write with your buyers in mind. What typically interests them about art or your artists? How is an exhibition theme potentially relevant to them?
- Use a conversational tone as if you’re speaking to a friend. Galleries can be intimidating enough. Your labels shouldn’t make a viewer feel stupid.
- Include information that might be surprising, create a new context, or raise questions in the viewer’s mind. Your artwork labels shouldn’t be boring.
- Focus on a single intriguing aspect of the piece. You’re not trying to give the whole story away. Encouraging a conversation is the best path to a sale.
- Keep your gallery’s labels short and sweet. They should be quick and easy to read but still provide enough content to meet your goals and reinforce your exhibition’s message. Your message should be able to be consumed in 10-15 seconds.
- Use a clean font that is large enough to read a few feet back. Black text on white is easiest on the eyes, and place lines 1.5 – 2 spacing.
To the Point
You cannot assume that the art will speak for itself. It often doesn’t. That is why enhancing your gallery’s labels can be such a valuable tool.
Your labels should be able to stand alone and be written in clear, straightforward language that art collectors of all levels of connoisseurship can understand. Not everyone will read all your labels, but by creating them with more information, you provide a more engaging experience.
Once you create compelling content for labels, repurpose it!
You can use it on your website’s exhibition, portfolio and viewing room pages, and social media too. This text can also enhance sales communications, either in person or via email.
I hope you see the value in making your art exhibition labels more informative and feel inspired to make them a more potent sale and marketing tool.