How to Use Frames in Art, in Marketing, in Life.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

framing and frames in marketing, in art, collage art, design
You decide.

Art Imitates Life

I am an artist. My work requires that I literally and physically put things in frames.

I’m also a psychology enthusiastic. (For a while I even pursued a PhD in the subject!)

In psychology, the concept of framing is just as important as it is in art.

What’s Your Business Here?

At this time, most of my attention goes to a collage art project titled #MakeItYourBusiness.

It’s a simple idea:

I make cards in standard business card format that challenge the standard definition of “business.”

Frames Create Limits. Limits Organize Ideas.

When I create a #MakeItYourBusiness card, I search for images that inspire me, (mostly from vintage National Geographics.)

Often, the images I find are much larger than the 2" x 3.5" format I use.
So I must choose what to focus on.

Let’s take this example of a child and mother.

Though the original image is exactly the same, each frame tells a completely different story.

How does this apply to your life?

Your Mind Uses Frames to Structure Reality

It’s well-known that whatever you put your attention on will grow in “size” in your mind.

If you choose to focus on the positive details of your life, your brain actually literally creates more neuronal connections for both seeking and remembering positivity. The good in your life seems bigger, more abundant.

In Contextual Behavioral Science, psychologists go even deeper.

In Psychobabble, It’s Called “Relational Frame Theory.”

Relational frames are the reason two people have entirely different interpretations of the exact same experience.

These frames are the mental constructs that support an idea, a belief, an experience, etc. — and they dictate how you interpret reality.

Because frames are already in place — you formed almost all of them subconsciously in childhood — it means that your mind knows its opinions on people, places, and events before they even happen.

Your grandma was wise to wear those rose-colored glasses…

For example, if you believe that Chicago is an ugly city, this belief is your frame. So when you go to Chicago your mind is programmed to only see ugliness, dirtiness, coldness.

But, if you believe Chicago is one of the most interesting, beautiful cities on Earth, this frame pre-decides what you will see and experience when you go there. (Interesting, beautiful stuff!)

What is An Experience Without A Frame?

Imagine a tent.

You probably pictured the canvas fabric material of the tent.

But it is actually the aluminum tubes that create the frame to support the tent, making that fabric that you see the tent that it is.

Without the frame, its just a pile of canvas.

Without mental frames, ideas are just ideas, experiences are just what is and feelings are just feelings.

In the indelible words of Shakespeare:

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

So, What is the Number 1 Rule of Framing?

It’s simple: Think of the shape you want your tent to be before you put the canvas on it.

Choose the story you want to live before you tell it to yourself.

In my collage art, I choose the story I want to tell before I cut and paste the images. You can live your life the same way.

If you choose the story that today is a beautiful day, you can arrange the details inside accordingly — whether it’s initially easy or not, it can be done.

You can also choose to cut out the parts that don’t fit into the frame. Remember, it is just a pile of canvas. It’s yours to do with what you want.

Working With Frames “Redefines” How You Think About Things.

Remember: While we learn from experience and repetition, (and often get stuck because of it,) we also learn through the creative nature of our minds.

You decide your story.

Follow the #MakeItYourBusiness card project on Instagram!

New cards are posted every day at 12:00 pm EST.

Unique art created daily solely to inspire you.

Writer. Artist. Creator. Darling. I work as an editor and a creativity coach. Visit to learn more about me and to see my work.

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