Thursday, February 26, 2009

Simple Tutorial Conclusion

If you're just tuning in for this week, you'll want to scroll down and read the Monday and Wednesday entries. They look long, but they make for really fast reading, including illustrations for each. We're continuing on with the third and last guideline for simple, memorable page layouts, using the two sample layouts from Monday's post.

3. Embrace negative space.

"Negative space" refers to the undecorated, or "background" portion of any piece of artwork or graphic material.

Now that you've visualized a grid for your scrapbook page (Monday's tutorial), and you've laid out the elements so that their hierarchy tells the right story (yesterday's tutorial), you might be tempted to fill in all the little empty spaces that are left. Resist the temptation! That negative space is doing as much to help your layout tell its story as the grid and the page hierarchy. The eye takes more in when it has wide open space around what's really important. Think of it like trying to have a meaningful conversation with a friend in a busy subway station, versus chatting with that friend on a nice, quiet bench in the park.

Below, Layout 1 obviously fills up every little space with paper, ink, brads, stickers, and so on. You might say it looks like all of the components for that layout were mixed up really well in a blender and just poured out on the page. In addition to how busy all of those embellishments make the layout feel, there's another simple reason to leave that negative space empty: moolah. That's right. Money. When you add up the cost for all of the embellishments and papers we used on Layout 1, you're looking at a whopping $27.44! Granted, you will still have embellishments leftover for other projects. But let's face it - how many of us have drawers of leftover embellishments that we mean to use again, but never do?

Now, Layout 2 fills in a lot of the negative space around the photo and caption with squares of textured and patterned papers and linen. But those squares contain negative spaces that give the whole page a light, breathable freshness to complement the sunny Easter morning shown in the photo. Also, the negative space in between the squares hints at the "invisible" grid structure, and emphasizes the hierarchy of the page elements. And last, but not least, the paper and embellishments for Layout 2 end up costing $14.98. That's just over half the cost of Layout 1, and again you've got leftovers, if you think you'll use them.

Well, that concludes our tutorials on using simple composition to make the pages of your scrapbook meaningful. Like we mentioned in November's type tutorial, guidelines of this sort are based on principles of good design, but they're still flexible. Start each layout following the basic principles, and then trust your design instincts to tell you where and how to bend the rules. Each page you create will tell the story it's meant to tell.

Again, let us know what you think of these design tutorials. Feel free to comment whether you like them or not, and why, what you would change, and what you might be interested in covering in future posts. We love your feedback!

More projects, tips and tricks, and give-aways on the way!


Micheline said...

Thanks for the tips. I found them quite informative and will try to implement them more into my scrapbooking.

Maria said...

This was great! I have always "leaned" more towards the organization of layout #2, but with changing styles I thought I should try to make more like #1. This helped me realize that my own style is OK! I want my layouts to tell the stories of my family and I feel like I can do that more productively by incorporating more than one photo and by using more of a grid style.
I kind of feel like you gave me permission with this tutorial.


Karen C. said...

Most of the scrapbooking magazines and websites out there make it seem as if the more chaotic a page, the better. I so enjoy the much more simple, clean look. I have never really enjoyed looking at the more "busy" pages, much less, trying to do one.

Thank you for the great info, keep it coming!

JennyM said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I liked the idea of the grid look. The example had squares of patterned paper as a backdrop and I need to use that idea more. IT could use up some of the many scraps I have. Thanks Again, Jenny M


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