Framing: Aaron Scofield


Page 13 from Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel, David Boring

In the book Graphic Design: The New Basics, Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips describe frames as what creates “the conditions for understanding an image or object”(117). I can completely agree with this because if I see a picture frame, all I’m really going to be focused on is what is inside that frame and what meaning that image has being inside a frame. Frames are all over the place and there are many different types of framing that don’t include an actual framed image. For example, the image above shows how framing can be used in a graphic novel. Clowes decided to go with a 3×3 frame layout and he gave all of the frames the same shape, however the frames in each row are not the same size. He uses this framing effect to offset the images and it ends up looking great on the page. What you can tell about this page in particular is that it hardly has any words on it. The majority of the frames are images that tell a narrative without using text. Throughout his graphic novel, Clowes uses text for most of his pages and on each page, he makes sure to leave the narrative text outside of the picture frames as you can see in frame one of the image above. Another unique thing about frames is that you can read frames from left to right or you can even read frames from top to bottom and then left to right. It really all depends on how the author or illustrator wants the audience to view their work. On the other pages of the book, the commentary between characters is kept within the frame and the narrative text is in alignment with every frame. A popular way for a graphic designer to use frames is by using borders around their images to help define the boundaries of the image. You can also put frames inside of other frames which creates a unique effect and many photographers and designers use that to their advantage as well. Some images have what is called implied framing and that is when the mind sees or implies that a frame is there because of the points that are in align that are creating that frame effect. Subtle framing is exactly what it sounds like it is, framing that less obvious. Cropping is another thing that goes along with framing because it can remake the borders or change the shape of an image by scaling the image differently. Perception of scale is how someone perceives a picture according to its’ actual scale.

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