Unity and variety are two of the most fundamental principles of design. When used correctly, these two principles complement each other and result in artwork that looks just right, complete, and pleasing.
Unity happens when the parts of a scrapbook page or layout (or any kind of art) work together to be seen as a whole. It’s difficult to specify exactly how to achieve it because unity is an impression of the person that is making the observation. It is a feeling that is conveyed to the viewer of the art. And because we’re unique, each of us with our own perspective, it comes down to who you are making your art for.
With all that said, there are a couple of tips that have proven time and time again to result in artwork that looks unified to pretty much everyone.
The first tip will sound fairly obvious: greater unity can be achieved by reducing diversity! In this instance, we specifically mean reducing how much diversity you employ in each of the main elements of design (shape, color, lines, texture, space, value, and form). In our example above, you can see that we kept to just a handful of colors and basic shapes, most of them created by straight lines. Because the various elements of the page share many attributes, there is less diversity and greater unity.
Our second tip to building unity in scrapbooking is the use of repetition. Looking at our example again, what repetition do you see? Let us know what you find in the comments below. (Hint: there is so much more than just the square shapes! 🙂 )
This leads us to the second principle of design we are discussing today. To create pages that are visually interesting and exciting, you have to have variety in your art.
Variety occurs when you use differences and change on your pages to increase visual interest.
The scrapbook page we are sharing with you today is made up of 12 3″ x 3″ squares. This works well in this instance because of the variety in the patterns, colors, and photos. The elements need to be alike enough so we can see that they belong together and at the same time different enough to be interesting (harmony).
The principles of art are tried and true methods for organizing the elements of your art. When all of the pieces work together, the result is harmonious! Make an effort to strike a good balance between unity and variety on your scrapbook pages so that your albums will be brimming with enjoyable works of art! Keep following us on the blog to learn more!
Many of us scrapbook with storytelling as our primary goal. Preserving stories is the main factor we keep in mind as we design pages, layouts, and albums. The story is what guides our photo placement and the order of events. Sometimes, we even go as far as labeling parts of our pages to help the viewer follow a specific path through our stories.
Today we’re going to discuss two design principles that will help your artwork do some of the storytelling for you. These two principles work together to organize different elements within your artwork in order to create a natural visual flow.
Rhythm is something that catches the viewer’s eye and continues to move it through the artwork. It is created through slight differences in a pattern and repetition of elements, and, just like in music, it can vary in pace depending on how heavy your patterns are and how often they repeat. Movement is the path that your eye takes through the art.
Can you spot the rhythm causing elements in our example scrapbook page above? There are several, so let’s talk through a few of them. First, take a look at those colorful pennant banners. There are two, both made up of equal-sized triangles and the same color scheme. As a pair, these two banners catch our eye and move our attention from the top left of the page to the center. Even each banner has its own rhythm because of the repetitive triangle shape.
A second place we find rhythm in this piece is in the cluster of squares and rectangles made up of the two small photos, the white rectangle behind the lower banner, and the small journaling card.
They are all similar enough in shape and size to consider them a repetitive pattern. This rhythm generates a sense of movement in the lower middle section of the page.
A third, subtle, way we created movement in our example is through the repetitive use of blue sequins.
We started out at the top left, moved to the middle, then across to the bottom right. Another place we see rhythm and movement in this one page is with the color yellow. From the banners, to the photos, and the paint washes, there are small accents of yellow carrying our attention from one place to the next.
These are just a few of the many ways rhythm is creating movement in this example piece. Now that you know what to look for, can you spot any more?
Most of you reading this blog naturally look at things from left to right, top to bottom. It’s how we’ve been trained to read the world around us. To keep with this natural rhythm we’ve all been subconsciously taught, keep it in mind as you create your artwork so that the finished product will look and feel pleasing to you and your audience. In the following two-page layout we use lines, shapes, color, and space to create rhythm and movement from one page to the other, following a left to right, top to bottom flow.
In the left page, where we will always know to begin, we are first drawn to the title for several reasons. One of which is because it is framed with yellow lines and accents.
From this highlighted title, the yellow rhythm continues to the surfboard in the 4 x 6 photo and then from one cluster of embellishments to the next until we reach the end (or right side) of the second page. Also creating rhythm and visually moving us along from left to right are the blue lines, blue photo mats, and blue arrow.
Creating rhythm and movement in artwork will take practice and patience to master. The first step in the process is to know that it is there. Make note of it in other people’s art and learn from it. Take what you see (and like) and incorporate it into your artwork as best you can. With practice it will eventually become second nature and you will be visually guiding others through your artwork and your stories intentionally and with purpose.
We’ve talked quite a bit about how to make harmonious color combinations based on color theory and the color wheel. Today we’d like to branch out and look at some other visual elements that can boost your artwork beyond the use of color.
Balance is a design principle that refers to the distribution of visual elements (such as shapes, colors, space, and textures) and how they relate to each other in terms of their visual weight. That term “visual weight” sounds a bit complicated, so let’s take it back to the playground to explain.
Consider two children on a seesaw. To have a fun experience, the children on either side of the seesaw should be relatively the same size or weight. If one child is heavier than the other, the seesaw is unbalanced and it will continuously want to tip to the one side, creating an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. The same idea applies when working on two dimensional paper projects, such as scrapbook pages or cards.
We tend to strive, usually without thinking about it, to create artwork that is balanced. A balanced work, where the visual weight is distributed evenly, appears stable, is pleasing to look at, and makes the viewer feel comfortable. Work that is unbalanced does the opposite. Sometimes artists will create unbalanced art on purpose, but that is pretty rare in scrapbooking and cardmaking.
So how do we apply this design principle to our craft?
There are a few different approaches to achieve balance in your artwork—and we brought examples! So far we’ve been alluding to probably the simplest approach, and that is something known as reflection symmetry, where one side mirrors the other (both kids on the seesaw are the same size). This is an easy way to achieve balance and doesn’t require too much consideration. Simply draw a line (hypothetically, you don’t really have to draw a line) down the middle of your work and then mirror what you create on one side on the other side. The line can be drawn vertically, horizontally, or even diagonally.
Radial balance is another type of symmetrical balance where the visual balanced is based on a circle (don’t worry, we won’t quiz you on these terms we’re throwing around—the principle matters more than the vocab 🙂 ). The design has a center and it extends from there. Daisies, a star, and the sun (when depicted with it’s rays) are all examples of shapes in radial balance. The page above is a beautiful example of one way you could use radial balance in your scrapbooking.
The downside to symmetrical balance is that it can sometimes come across as too simple, or boring, since both sides are visually the same. But there’s more, so keep reading!
To have balanced artwork does not mean that all of the pieces on your scrapbook page or layout have to be the same size and laid out in perfect symmetry. Back to the seesaw—if you have a big kid that wants to play but don’t have a child of the same weight to balance him out on the other side, you create the weight by stacking two or three kids opposite the big kid. Another option would be to move the big kid closer to the center of the seesaw with just one smaller child on the opposite end to achieve balance where the two can play harmoniously.
In art, if you have a large object on one side of your work it can be balanced with several smaller items on the other side. Or, instead of increasing the number of parts on your scrapbook page (because sometimes we don’t have them or just don’t want them), move the larger piece closer to the center and balance with the smaller elements on the opposite side.
Take a look at our asymmetrical page above. This page is asymmetrical because it has unequal visual weight on opposite ends. To balance it, our “heavier” elements were moved closer to the center and were countered with a handful of lighter elements on the other corner.
When done correctly, asymmetrical balance is more interesting to look at. It offers more visual variety and even has a more modern feel to it.
To determine whether or not your artwork is balanced, rely on your perception of it. No one area should draw your eye so much that you can’t see the others. Also, consider how it makes you feel. Do you like it? Is it comfortable to look at? Or do you sense that something is off?
Balance is the first of several basic design principles we will be discussing on this blog. Make sure to subscribe and to check back with us regularly to learn how to better use the elements of art in your artwork.
There are many, many ways you can preserve your story in a scrapbook and how we do that has changed over time. What hasn’t changed is how much we like remembering our story. People enjoy looking back, sometimes with nostalgia, other times just as a reminder of where they’ve been. People also like sharing their memories, talking about their experiences and the things that have shaped them.
We get lots of questions about how to encourage a younger generation to take up this mantle and preserve their story by creating something that will last like a scrapbook, and today we are showing you some examples of scrapbooking from a Millennial point of view. Anyone can scrapbook this way. The principles featured in this style of scrapbooking can appeal to all memory keepers, but we are specifically focusing on style aspects that Millennials gravitate toward.
1. Create intentional white space.
Are you familiar with the term minimalism? It’s actually an idea that’s been around for quite a while, but today, minimalism is a trend that resonates with many Millennials. It focuses on eliminating clutter and avoiding excess and distractions. People apply this idea to spending, décor, design, fashion, and more. When thinking about minimalism and memory keeping, focus on clearing the clutter by intentionally leaving lots of white space, like you see in the page above. This page is primarily White Daisy cardstock, but you don’t get lost in the white space. Adding a thin Linen cardstock border on the top and bottom of the page helps to ground your eye and pulls you in to the center.
2. Use only one or two photos.
With minimalism in mind, a single photo is the focus of this page. It’s easy to get lost in the thousands of photos on our phones or computers, but you don’t have to scrapbook all of them. That’s probably not even possible, but you can pick your favorites. Start with scrapbooking one or two photos that are truly meaningful to you and tell other people something about who you are and what you enjoy. Even just one photo on a page can tell a story in a creative, yet clean and uncomplicated way. The neutral color scheme keeps the spotlight on the photo. Just add a few embellishments and a couple stamped images to round out this look.
3. Focus on the story.
We don’t always remember details about our lives, even from the most important moments. Details from events like family vacations, weddings, or even day-to-day life can get lost. Scrapbooking gives us a place to record them, so we can remember the little things that made them special later. Instead of thinking about your page as one that’s primarily photos, why not think about your page as one that’s primarily words?
Describing the story can be the point of your page. Scrapbooking allows you to be reflective, to be grateful, and to document change. Those are ideas that matter to Millennials, and they often are thinking about ways to reflect and document their lives on social media or through other venues like a gratitude journal. These are all ways to tell your story. What makes scrapbooking unique is that it is preserved and available to continue to share and learn from over time. You can do this, plus exercise your creativity, through memory keeping.
This page also incorporates elements from the minimalist perspective, using lots of white space and just one photo to complement the real treasure, the words. Keep in mind, your photos don’t have to have faces in them. It could be the perspective of your feet hanging out the window, like you see on this page, or maybe it’s the food you ate or the places you visited. Photos don’t have to be just of people. It can be whatever best illustrates the words on your page.
4. Make something simple, yet Instagram-worthy.
Millennials, and many of the rest of us, are already sharing their story on social media. These photos deserve a home, but it’s equally important to Millennials to be creating in ways that are Instagram-worthy. This means that what they make should be easy to share and aesthetically pleasing with a touch of simplicity.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci
The beauty found in simplicity is something even Leonardo da Vinci recognized as important, and it continues to resonate with Millennials. Using an Everyday Life™ format can mimic the popular look of photo books, and these albums can be just as simple to create. Even in a smaller size, this type of scrapbooking can still emphasize white space with photos, similar to a photo book. Photos could be square, making it easy to scrapbook things directly from places like Instagram. Millennials are already sharing their story on social media, but it is so easy, and affordable, to take those stories and photos and slip them into an Everyday Life™ album. With little extra effort, you can preserve your memories in a simple, sophisticated way.
Scrapbooks come in all shapes and sizes. They allow us to creatively express who we are, the time we live in, and the things that matter to us. You don’t have to be a Millennial to appreciate the trendy looks in the artwork you see in this post. Like da Vinci’s thoughts about simplicity, some of these ideas have been around a very, very long time. Millennials just happen to be the ones taking inspiration from them today, and that can encourage us all to both try something new in our memory keeping and help others to tell their story in whatever way speaks to them. So next time you pull our your scrapbooking supplies, think about how you can add some extra white space, focus on the story, or keep simplicity in mind as you create beautiful pages for your memories, and as always, we hope you share those memories with others.
We’re rolling up our sleeves today and sharing a few of our “tricks” to add that little something extra to create artwork that looks polished and complete. Check it out!
There are several things to learn from this layout, alone.
Embellishments are a great way to add intricate details to any paper project. When putting clusters together, do so in odd numbers—consider three or five. (Any more than five may start to look too crowded and can take away from the project as a whole, so proceed with caution.)
Soft and Sharp Edges.
As you’re laying down your pieces, Complements or any other type of embellishment, mix your edges up. What does that mean? If you have pieces that have pointed or sharp edges, add something with a rounded edge next to it. This creates balance in the art and avoids making it look too harsh (or too soft, in contrast).
Plan Your Stamping.
Before you start stamping away all over your beautiful (and sometimes hard!) work, come up with a plan. One of the perks of My Acrylix® stamps is that they are transparent. Before sticking them to a block and inking, lay your stamps out on your project to help you find just the right placement.
Raise Some Edges.
This is an especially easy way to add texture and interest to your artwork. After adhering a pattern piece, or Complement, lift the edges with your finger. It doesn’t have to be sewn on for it to work, either.
This last “trick” is cardmaking specific.
Ever wonder how we pull cards off that have twine or ribbon wrapped around them?
Use a False Front!
This simple, yet mind blowing, trick will make all the difference in your cardmaking game. Cut a 5½” x 4¼” piece of White Daisy cardstock and decorate it as if it were the card. Wrap your ribbons and twine around it and adhere the ends on the back before attaching the cardstock to the card base. The ugly, glued ends are now hidden from sight giving your card a finished look.
There you have it, folks! Five of our tricks to elevate your artwork for picture perfect quality!
Colors are important in making our artwork look good. But, how can you know if your color choices will work well together? When in doubt, you can rely on the basics of color theory to always make good color decisions.
This is the Close To My Heart color wheel, made up of all our exclusive colors.
Complementary colors are two colors opposite each other on the color wheel, such as Cranberry and Willow (red and green), and Goldrush and Pacifica (orange and blue). If you notice, one side of the color wheel is made up of warm colors while the other is made up of cool colors. Complementary colors, since they are across from one another, will have one of each. They create a vibrant contrast, making each other pop without being jarring to the eye.
When you’re creating your art, in this case a scrapbook page, avoid using the two colors equally. To keep your artwork interesting, try using one of the colors primarily as a background and the other for accents.
You can create something beautiful using one set of complementary colors. Like in this card and the page above, simply incorporating different hues of the same color (or color family) will give your art the visual interest we all seek.
Knowing how to properly use color will only enhance your artwork. Look for a new Color Theory post every month where we will share basic color concepts and artwork inspiration to help you make flawless color decisions that will elevate your artwork.
One of the perks of having Convention in Salt Lake City this year was the tour of our home office. Those who got to visit our place kept telling us how inspiring it must be to work in such a gorgeous and innovative environment. Well folks, the truth is, it is! If you tuned in to our Facebook Live yesterday, you got an up-close look at the space where Close To My Heart artists create all of the memory keeping and papercrafting artwork you love. It’s a craft room dream come true. We want to show you how to take some of the ideas we used to create this atmosphere back to your own crafting nook so you, too, can be inspired!
The first step in this process is to find what actually inspires you. Look for something great that someone else has made and make it your own. Once you’ve chosen something you like, take a moment to really consider it. What is it at its core? As you think about it, is there anything that clues you into how it was made?
Take a peak into the Close To My Heart foyer. One of the first things visitors see when they walk into our building is this impressive mobile. Created from hundreds of paper hearts in various sizes and shades of pink, this is a breathtaking paper creation.
Because most of us don’t have fifty-foot ceilings to fit such a large décor piece, use this mobile as a starting point. Simplify the project. You can make a small version of this mobile or a banner of hearts that fits any space, including above a desk. The idea is the same—create a decorative piece with different shades of paper hearts, but with smaller and fewer pieces.
Let’s take a look inside our art studio.
These two images show a small sampling of the papercrafting pieces and inspirational quotes our artists have designed to foster an atmosphere of creativity.
Here is that same quote found on the wall of our art studio. With a small frame and a handful of small paper flowers, you can showcase something that makes you feel creative while using little space.
You might not have a large space for working on your favorite projects, but you can use what’s around you to beautify your creative space in small ways. Large-scale sayings, banners, and other papercrating décor can be simplified to fit anywhere. You can see how all the parts and pieces came together to fill this desk space with elements of the papercrafting you saw in a much larger scale at the home office.
Have you used large-scale inspiration to put together a crafting space that stimulates your creativity? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Looking for a way to spice up your scrapbook pages? We’ve got just the thing! All you need is a Cricut® machine and a little imagination for this technique.
First, find a basic Cricut® shape that you like: square, heart, diamond, etc. Next, cut out the shape over and over again on a piece of solid cardstock (we recommend using Cricut Design Space™ so you can more easily control where the shapes cut). Remove the shapes from the piece of cardstock, and then back the empty spaces with different pieces of patterned paper. As you can see from the example above, we repeated paper patterns across the shapes to add a sense of continuity to the page.
If you don’t have Cricut Design Space™, you can still get this effect by cutting multiple versions of the same image, but you could also cut the shapes out of patterned paper and attach them to a piece of cardstock. There are lots of different spins on this technique!
…try backing the shapes with photos! It’s a lot easier than trying to cut your photos on a Cricut® machine because you can slide them around behind the cardstock until they are framed just the way you like.
Another spin on this technique is to change up the size of your shapes. Smaller shapes give you a lot more little shape windows to work with. This page also shows how much you can play around with dimension as well.
First, we backed some of the empty spaces with patterned paper and left others empty. Next, we used 3-D foam tape to attach the White Daisy cardstock piece with all of our heart shapes cut out of it. The Bashful background shows through the empty hearts and creates a bit of a shadow. To finish off the look, we took some of the hearts that were cut out and embossed them with gold powder. We then used them to “fill in” a few of the heart-shaped windows with more 3-D foam tape to make them really pop. See how many possibilities there are when you start playing around with your Cricut® shapes?
We used circles and hearts for our artwork, but what Cricut® shapes would you try with this technique? Tell us in the comments below! 🙂
Do you suffer from acute chronological scrapbook syndrome? You’re not alone.
Thousands like you have been printing photos and storing them away in shoeboxes for decades, assuring themselves that one day they’ll feel more motivated to scrapbook everything in the perfect order.
Full of good intentions, but dreading the task of organizing every photo, victims of this syndrome often find their passion tainted by a nagging voice that tells them they must start at the beginning (wherever that is) or not start at all.
It’s time to silence that voice and get back to doing what we love!
It may seem revolutionary, but scrapbooks don’t have to be done in chronological order. Remember that these memories are your stories, so you get to tell them however you wish. The only way you’re doing it “wrong” is if the method you’ve chosen feels like a task rather than a delight.
Free yourself and your creativity by trying these organizational methods of scrapbooking instead:
Milestones happen at every stage of life. Create an album that showcases a variety of milestones from the lives of each family member. Pick a certain milestone and focus on that, or gather a bunch on one layout. You can include things like graduations, church ceremonies, losing teeth, getting married, the first day of a new job, or learning to walk. This is a fun way to show your family’s progress over time.
Classic Family Memories
Have a favorite memory that everyone in the family loves to talk about? Get it on paper. When your family comes over for Sunday dinner and starts to reminisce, write down the extra details they add to your story. Better yet, ask them to write their own version of the family memory. Include everyone’s version of the story as journaling on your layout. Even if you have no idea where the photos of that specific memory are, just start taking the first steps. You’ll find the photos in that notorious shoebox soon enough.
Someone You Love
Pick a person who’s important to you and create an album that’s all about them. The photos can come from any time or event. The important part is simply that they get remembered. This album will become something they will cherish for always.
This artsy method is more wild and crazy, but definitely a lot of fun—and excellent for a creative boost! Choose photos and papers based on the similarity of their color schemes and then put them all on one page. Find out how fun it can be to see a collection of unrelated memories on one layout!
Reach into that pile of photos and pull out a few. Scrapbook them any way you wish, whether that’s together on one page or each on their own layout. As you finish each layout, simply place them in your album in any order at all. This method is a lot of fun to look through afterward because you’ll always be surprised by which memory pops up next.
Type a list of prompts (e.g. your favorite words, themes, questions you think your posterity will ask about you), trim them into strips, and place them in a jar. Draw a new one every time you sit down to scrapbook. Whatever kind of information that prompt inspires you to document, do it!
It’s the Little Things
In addition to the big events of life, be sure to also emphasize the daily things that make you and your family who you are. Stepping outside of big events will paint a more realistic picture of your life as well as add some variety to your albums.
Likes & Dislikes
Focus on a person’s likes or dislikes, not worrying about their age or location at the time you took the photos. An overarching theme like this really helps to reveal who a person is in just a layout or two.
What activity does your family love to do? Find pictures of yourselves doing that activity across any number of years and group them together. Say you like to vacation together; make a layout just for vacations. They don’t even have to be from the same trip—just get the theme put into one place.
How do you feel now? Empowered? Liberated? Excited? The only thing to make this moment sweeter would be for us to remind you that the albums you’ll need to keep your long-awaited layouts safe in are available at a great deal this month. Take advantage of our We’ve Got You Covered! campaign, where you buy one album and get a second at 50%-off, to get your gorgeous, non-chronological layouts archived and on display. You only have a few days left to take advantage of this promotion. Your memories have waited a long time for this; now let them shine!