Traditional Frame or Digital Frame- How to choose

  In the modern lifestyle, ways of decoration have changed from the past and have transformed into more sleek and sophisticated versions that are available in various shapes and sizes. One key element of interior decoration is the picture frame. It plays a vital role in adding a creative element or a unique characteristic to the aura of your room whether it is your home, office, etc. It also reminds you of personal memories of old days. Meanwhile, thanks to the technological revolution of the modern society, digital frame, a new way of recording memories was also born naturally.

  Both of the two forms own their space in our daily life use, no matter for decoration use or cherishing memories. Here we will give a brief introduction of traditional picture frames and digital picture frames, compare their features and share differences between them, so that you may have a clear mind while deciding which one will suit your needs better.

Traditional Frame

  It might be surprising and a little creepy to know that the earliest frames are thought to be those that surrounded fayum mummy portraits. The stucco frames may have been used to hang the portraits in the owner's home until the time of death. Ancient Egyptian and Greek artists usually used framing borders to divide scenes and ornamentation in pottery and wall paintings, then in 12th and 13th century Europe, carved wooden picture frames emerged firstly in decorating small panel paintings. After several renaissances in European countries, art came to the forefront of daily life, picture frames flourished as well. Since then, pictures frames began to be designed by furniture builders instead of artists, sculptors or architects in the past. Books on furniture and interior design were also published and distributed to wider markets than ever before.

Universality and Availability

  The widely accepted features of traditional picture frames is that they are commonly used, carefully designed to suit various styles, and could be applied for a wide range of scenes. Most of them are made of commonly seen materials like wood, plastic and metal, also making its production comparably simple and easy, except for handmade frames of course.

  Available in diverse material, colors, shapes and size, traditional frames could be designed to suit any themes of home interiors easily. The arrangement for match and contrast of your structures to walls is totally customizable, therefore the final look depends mostly on the choice of photos, arrangement of the frames and selection of frame colors and materials. For example, for some minimalist interiors with entirely walls, frames in contrast colors may be good choices.

  In addition, traditional frames can be used not only to display photos or paintings, but many other things like a magnificent flower, embroidered piece of cloth or even your child’s artwork, making your home decor a vintage yet modern style.

Digital Frame

Digital Frame

  In the end of the 20th Century, digital cameras were widely adopted in the photography field. And with modern photography firmly planted in the digital format, the digital picture frame came into being naturally. 

  By definition, a digital frame is a picture frame which displays photos without the process of printing. Like normal frames, they also come in different shapes, sizes and with a range of features. Most digital photo frames display the photos as a slide show and usually with adjustable time intervals. Some may even be able to play videos as well as display photographs. Built-in speakers are commonly used for playing videos with sound, and many frames also equip with remote controls. Besides digital frames charged by plugs, battery-operated ones are also available for portable use.

Connectivity and Storage

SD Card

  When speaking of digital frames, one must be mentioned is it could provide mass storage for photos. Some have built-in storage, where photos are saved locally on the frame or accessed from a Micro SD card that you insert into the frame, and you can expand the storage with a larger Micro SD card or by applying cloud storage. Others are exclusively cloud-based, and require you to upload photos through an app, or you can email photos to a specific frame using a unique email address and those images will be uploaded directly. That’s also the reason why many digital frames require an internet connection.

  Easy sharing could be another huge advantage to digital frames. Most digital photo frames tap into Wi-Fi networks, allowing photographers to access photos from their computers, tablets, phones, cloud or even social platforms. This is a big plus as it means you will be able to easily refresh your photo selection instead of plugging it into a computer with a lead for connecting, which you may need extra time to look for from your mess drawers.


  The development of digital cameras revolutionized photography and changed the way most people take pictures for good. While digital frames have their uses, they haven’t caught on to the degree people once thought they might, and they certainly haven’t replaced physical prints and old-fashioned wooden picture frames or metal picture frames. There are still some differences between both, and these can not be ignored while making a choice.


Appearance of traditional frame

  Traditional Frames usually consist of several components: border, cover, mat, backboard and prop. Today, there are plenty of choices when it comes to traditional frames, from soft curves to straight and flat, from vintage style to modern or to minimalist style. Meanwhile, natural wood plastic and metals are still regarded as the standard framing materials, which are available in numerous colors as well as matte and neutral colors nowadays. With the continuous emergence of more ornate, antique, modern styles, traditional frames have flourished throughout time.

  On the other hand, digital frames have been designed trending toward minimal and simple styles. They generally consist of just borders, wire and screen, some may come with a battery box on the back. In early time, digital photo frames tended to feature a lot of Perspex and plastic to look futuristic, but thankfully, today’s offerings are more stylish and variously designed, so they could be able to suit most places in modern style.

Convenience in use

  Traditional Frames being widely used by most people could be attributed to how conveniently it could be to assemble them and how easily to change the photos or prints inside. Just pick out the prints you like in advance, open the backboard to put them in, place them on the table or hang them on the wall with the hole on the back, then you could just enjoy the vibe. And when you are tired of those pictures, just repeat these easy steps to make a difference.

social media icons

  However, when it comes to digital frames, one of the biggest pros is that your photos in them could be changed constantly. Besides, most digital frames now offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to add new pictures for display through your phone or laptop. Some even are able to add new ones automatically from the internet as long as there are updates in your online album. Therefore in some way, whether you choose to update your images from your phone or a website, changing up images on digital frames is certainly much easier and faster than waiting to have photos printed.

Application Scene

  Just like its name, a traditional frame is often associated with words like vintage, formal, art, decoration, therefore it’s commonly used in circumstances like Home Decor and Museum Exhibition, which also means it could match well with most styles of decoration.

  There are plenty of reasons to get pictures printed. But if you just want a simple way to enjoy pictures without the hassle of making physical copies, a digital frame might be right for you.

  It could be the perfect complement to your digital camera or your phone album, rescuing photos from the camera-roll graveyard, where they may only be seen and remembered when you frantically scroll through looking for something else. With so many photos on our phones, on hard drives, or in the cloud, it only makes sense to want a way to display them without having to print them out, saving a lot of space, both real world and virtual world. In this regard, it suits perfectly well with place like an office or study with limited space.


  While enjoy its aesthetic value, we also need to pay careful attention to its maintenance as a daily item. For example, for traditional frames, wooden picture frames might need us focus more on the air humidity around to prevent mildew, while metal frames must be kept away from water to avoid turning into a rusty mess. 

  As for digital frames, possible problems which need our special care are concentrated in screen scratches and battery loss, just like many other electronic devices. Therefore, regular maintenance for the device is highly required. What’s more, same careful maintenance is required for the built-in battery during charging, or you can just use batteries with no memory effect in the beginning.


Traditional Frames

  We have also summarized some features of people who are more likely choosing traditional frames and people who prefer digital frames. Normally, people who are nostalgic, enjoy antique things or appreciate craftsmen's spirit may prefer traditional ones. So do artworks collectors and interior lovers. On the other side, people who enjoy minimalism, electronics enthusiasts, digital camera users or those who always suffer from entanglement tend to choose digital ones. If you are still unable to choose which suits you better, hopefully this could help a little.

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