Naming your artwork can be very difficult for most artists. Since I love making up words so much, it hasn’t been a major problem for me. However, in the beginning, I struggled with knowing whether I was naming my pieces the right way or whether I was doing something wrong by naming them “my way”. In other words, are there standard conventions for giving artwork titles?
Very often, I come upon this question or a variation of it in the different art groups to which I belong. How do you title your artwork? Interestingly, recently I was faced with this same question.
As an artist, I’ve got to answer this question every time I create a new piece. Usually, by the time I finish the piece, I’ve got a name for it. and as part of my finishing touches, I add the title to the back of each piece I make before I call it done. Interestingly, when I completed my last piece, I didn’t have a name for it by the time I was done.
How to Title an Artpiece
That was the first time in a long time I’ve been faced with this question again. How should I title an art piece? This is my method for coming up with all the titles of my works.
The titles I give my work will come to me during the process of making the piece. They generally have to do with one of these things:
- the color scheme I used (for example Yellow Oranges)
- the design (for example Rhythm #1)
- the subject (for example Bread & Butter or Skyline Under the Bridge)
- the venue (for example (Cappadocia Caves)
- the inspiration (for example my Mobiles #1 is based on Alexander Calder’s mobiles)
- my thoughts and emotions during the creative process ( For example “Whirlwind Thoughts” or “Towering Above”)
As you can see there are several ways you can come up with a title for your work. There are still various things you need to think about when naming your artwork. One of them is what makes a good title. Jason Horejs from ReDotBlog.com has the following suggestions.
What Makes a Good Title?
A good title :
- will provide insight into your inspiration for the artwork
- may help the artwork tell its story.
- leaves room for the viewer to bring his or her own meaning and interpretation of the artwork.
- will be memorable and catchy
- will be original
- will not be too cheesy
Why You Shouldn’t Name Your Work “Untitled”
So what about naming your work “untitled”. If you can’t come up with a suitable name is it okay to name it “Untitled”?
Jason Horejs says
A buyer wants to feel like that artwork they are about to purchase from you is one of your best ever – that it truly is one of your masterworks. They’re going to have a hard time believing that if you’ve called the piece “Untitled No. 427”.
And artist Lisa Bernard says
This can be a real deal stopper and a complete turn off to a potential customer. Viewers and potential buyers will have a hard time believing your work has value if your piece is simply called “Untitled”. Titles do matter to an art buyer!
Obviously, names matter to buyers. If you don’t intend to sell your work any time in the future, you may be able to get away with not taking the time to name them properly. Although naming your work also helps you to easily organize, sort through, and find a particular piece when you need it.
I must say though, after a while of naming your work, it becomes second nature to you. Well, except the occasional piece that doesn’t tell you what it wants to be called 🙂 like, my latest piece. In that case, you can resort to this method.
The Last Resort Method for Naming Your Work
Just ask people!!!
And that’s exactly what I did with the piece I couldn’t name. I told my Instagram followers what the piece represents to me and the thoughts I had about it. Then, I asked them to help me name it. And Instagram artist Julia Walten suggested the name “My Cup Runs Over” which I loved. Because it truly conveys what I wanted to say with this piece. So that became its name.
How do you name your work? Do you have a system? Does the work tell you what it wants to be called? Or do you struggle with naming your work? I want to hear your views.
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Also published on Medium.