October 8, 2018

Tracking Artwork Inventory in Style

What comes to mind when you think of tracking inventory? Maybe it sounds boring, time intensive and complicated. Or perhaps you don't think it's necessary for your type of artwork. And yet, with all of the end of year shows and sales, you need to keep tabs on your work. One simple spreadsheet can host all of the information to help you foster a successful creative business. This matters whether your are producing multiples or only originals, whether you show in galleries or at art fairs, whether you have an online store or simply a portfolio. So how do you keep it simple?

It's possible that spreadsheets are not one of your favorite tools (unless you are one of those clever Excel artists), but when it comes to tracking your artwork inventory, I can't think of a better option. Of course, there is software like Artwork Archive, but if you don't want to pay a subscription fee, I'm here to help you set up your own fully customizable inventory spreadsheet (or improve on what you may already have). Once you develop a system for tracking your art, and yes, it will take some time to get the process started, but then all you have to do is update it once a week or month, depending on your rate of production. Let's get tracking!

Here is a range of different columns you might use depending on the type of artwork you make. Some apply more to original fine art in galleries and others are better suited for handmade goods produced in batches. The goal is to know What, When, Where, How and Who about each piece. Pick and choose based on the information that's important to you.

What: Descriptive Details
  • Title
  • Medium
  • Number Identifier
  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • Category
  • Subject Matter
  • Condition
  • Brief Description
  • Keywords

When: Key Dates
  • Date Created
  • Date Sold (if applicable)
  • Time for Creation

Where: Location
  • Sold Status
  • Current Location
  • Location / Show History
  • Applicable Awards

How Much / Many: Costs & Totals
  • Pricing
  • Applicable Discounts
  • Profit Margin
  • Cost of Production
  • Shipping Costs
  • Reproduction Editions 
    • Total Produced
    • Total Sold

Who: Buyer
  • Owner or Collector