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What is an artwork inventory and why do you need it?

An artwork inventory is an internal studio document that works as the primary record for artwork related details. Its purpose is to maintain consistency across sources and to increase the speed of access to and accuracy of data pertaining to artworks and their current and past status.

Here is a template for a Maintenance Manual :

Click on the image below to download the template.

How to work the template sheet?

The sheet is divided into the following 5 sections:

Black: Basic Artwork Information

Teal: Artwork Condition

Blue: Artwork Production details

Green: Artwork Sales Data

Yellow: Extra information

While it lists most of the common information needed, depending on the nature of your practice you will need to alter this inventory format to suit your needs better.

The inventory sheet (and organisation by inventory number) can also be used as the basis for organising one’s archive, making it easier and faster to cross-reference relevant data and locate high-res images when needed. If using cloud-based solutions for maintaining the inventory, folders for artworks can be directly cross-linked for ease of access.

Alternative resources:

List of alternate softwares for inventory. These are paid software, but a lot of time looking at and testing out the demos can give you a lot of understanding as to how you would like to tackle the inventory of your own work since an artwork inventory can’t be a one size fits all kind of situation though the format covers most of the major information you would need ready access to. (The following are not in order of quality)

  1. Artwork Archive:

  2. Art Butler:

  3. Art Fundi:

  4. Art Logic:

  5. Get Your Shit Together: 
This is also a great learning resource though to a certain extent may be more US specific, especially this section –

And many more. Many of the resources on how to manage artwork inventories actually exist on the blogs of these various artwork inventory softwares.