We have broadly classified these drops into two types – print drops and project drops. Print drops include 1-2 artworks and they’re for sale for 4-5 days and if this is how you sell then we recommend around 8-12 of these a year. Project drops are a series of artworks, around 8 to 30 artworks linked together with a bigger story or a bigger narrative and are available for 14-21 days. If you do these then we recommend that you do these 2-3 times a year.

With project drops, a coherent group of artworks are dropped at a certain time and they’re linked together as a project with some common themes and you can talk quite deeply about the theme or the narrative there. If you are going to drop in this way then we would recommend that you start talking about the project at least 6 weeks in advance of the drop, but maybe sometimes up to 3 months. 

At theprintspace we did some project drops where the narrative was absolutely fantastic. We had linked the artworks together with a theme which really worked together well. Having learnt about it and discussed it with the artist we were really engaged with the narrative ourselves. The idea is to really build  strong anticipation for the drop. All the time you talk about the drop you should be collecting emails, i.e. “Sign up for when this drop goes live”.. In some ways it would benefit you if you did not say too soon what the exact dates of the drop are going to be, this way it is an incentive to sign up to the email to ensure you do not miss it.

If you go down this route, you have to be aware that attention spans on social media are more limited, so you will have to tell your followers about this narrative over a whole series of posts. Maybe try to ask your followers for some thoughts on the works you might sell, to make sure the selection is the right one, as you can’t afford to get this wrong if you only do a few drops per year. By asking them for this interactive feedback, you will also be cutting through that social media noise and making sure they connect the dots between those posts and the drop starts to be something they remember about. 

Individual print drops of 1-2 pieces would tend to happen more frequently and they can be self-contained, they do not have to necessarily follow on from each other in terms of the subject matter of the work, although they could. They last between 5-6 days usually, with a post a day plugs a few teaser posts so the story would be much simpler. This is easier to get across on social media. You can also say shorter, more condensed stories, not really involved narratives, do well on social media. 

In general we favour that our clients, the ones we run print drops for through our internal marketing agency, do individual print drops. There is a faster iteration cycle and the social media storytelling is less critical. That said, either style can be hugely effective if done right. 

The shorter drops of 1-2 works makes it possible to do a series of print drops much quicker. Print drops only take five days so you can do one a month. It means you can actually learn so much faster as a result that you can do 12 drops a year. Whereas with project drops you’d only be doing three or four a year so your learning and iteration cycle is much slower with projects. And if you have a project that doesn’t sell so well then it’s another three months until you get the chance to try it again. With print drops every month you’re going to learn something like which post worked really well, which post didn’t and you can try more of what works next time.

Updated on 13 March 2024

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