June 8th, 2010
In scrapbooking, just like in any other job pertaining to graphic design, there are several rules of thumb that can transform a layout from being dreary to being extraordinary. The main idea in any of these rules of thumb is to stop and think before jumping in with the photos, patterned papers and embellishments.
1. Conveying a story. Scrapbooking is more than just sticking a bunch of photos on a piece of cardstock. A scrapbook is supposed to communicate a story and record moments in life, document people, destinations, etc. Thinking about the story you wish to tell before you start working on the design has two main advantages:
First, it makes you stop your pace and think, therefore making your work more deliberate.
Second, it gives much more character to the page design.
So consider your story and think how the design can highlight the story you wish to narrate. Some points to consider are: What elements will convey the story? How many photos do you need? What space do you need for your journaling? Etc.
2. Balance. One of the most important things in a design is too maintain its balance. All your elements should have a definite and well scaled relationship with each other – that includes your white space as well. Don’t overload one part of your layout, without balancing it on an opposite level. Refrain from clattering your background with too many elements. Apply the rule of thirds — let the design visually separate the layout into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) and add elements in thirds (three embellishments, three tags, etc.) . Soften sharp angles with a corner rounder or a circular element, and vice versa — make sure you ground your layouts when it creates a visual cycle.
3. Color cohesion. Choosing the right color combination for your layout is just another aspect of keeping it balanced. Your color choice should correspond to what type of photos you use.
If your photos are black and white or in a sepia tone you can go ahead and have some more play with your colors, but balance the color explosion with a linear design, such as a grid design.
If your photos are very colorful try not to use more than 3 colors on your layout. Going with a natural colored background (white, kraft, gray, black) is usually a safe choice to build color on. Try to keep your color trio balanced – not all dark and not all light (unless you are going for a monochromatic design) – play with the colors hue, tone and saturation.
Make use of the color wheel. Choose complementary colors together analogous colors to insure a good and balanced combination.
Keep those rules of thumb and be amazed by the beautiful as well as meaningful layouts you are going to create.
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