Creating Scrapbook Pages with Unity and Variety

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.

Unity and Variety #ctmh #closetomyheart #unity #variety #harmony #artprinciples #designprinciples #ctmhdocumented #bashful #ctmhcentralpark #thincuts #stichedhearts

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!


Recipe:

12″ x 12″ Love Today Page
D1772 My Acrylix® Documented—Scrapbooking Stamp Set, X7234B Documented Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z5941 Bashful Cardstock, X5984 Pixie CardstockX5984 Pixie Cardstock, X5963 Poppy Cardstock, X5983 Sorbet Cardstock, X5961 Saffron Cardstock, Z2844 Pixie Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2852 Poppy Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7234C Documented Complements, Z4177 Documented Dots, Z4171 Documented Titles, Z4197 Central Park Alphabet, Z4182 Thin Cuts—Stitched Hearts, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Sewing Machine

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Back to the Basics

What makes a work of art a work of art? What turns a good scrapbook page into a great scrapbook page? There are many answers to these questions, but one thing that contributes to great scrapbooking and all types of crafting is having a strong design.

There are certain principles that contribute to the strength of a design, which can really elevate the final product. Many well-seasoned crafters probably use these design principles without ever having “learned” them or even realizing they are doing it. However, for those who are new to crafting, these principles can be absolute lifesavers, and they can even give you a great place to start—a springboard for reaching greater heights. And even the most gifted crafters will inevitably find themselves tangled in the details of a complicated project as they struggle to see the big picture. At such times, it’s always good to get back to the basics.

In the artwork below, one of our artists has done just that. Taking four basic design principles as a guide, our artist created this beautiful scrapbook page:

My Sunshine

So, what are the design principles that work together to make this page so wonderful? We’re so glad you asked!

1. Pattern. Now, we’re not talking about incorporating our B&T Duos™ patterned paper here, though that does go a long way to make any project beautiful. 🙂 We’re talking about using repetition. In the page above, you can see a strong pattern of horizontal lines—the horizontal strips of paper above the photograph, the Cricut® banner underneath the title, the kraft paper behind the photo, and even the lines of corrugated metal in the photo itself! The possibilities for creating patterns through repetition are endless: Try repeating colors, shapes, and many other elements to create pattern.

2. Unity. Having all the different elements on a page work together is what makes the page look well thought out. Think of it like an orchestra: There are many different instruments, but they have to work in harmony to play something beautiful. One way to create this harmony is through color. Our artist used many warm tones on the page: Gold shimmer trim, Honey, Canary, and kraft cardstock, a strip of paper from the Brushed paper packet, a Canary stamped image–all these pieces tie in nicely with the color of the boy’s shirt in the photograph to create a sense of unity. Unity can be created a myriad of ways, so get creative! You’ll find it’s much easier than you think!

3. Variety. Though it’s important to create harmony, it’s also important to make each element unique—this is what makes the page have depth. An orchestra wouldn’t be an orchestra with just violinists! Start by determining what you’d like to unify your elements. Like we mentioned above, our artist used warm tones to create unity. Then, for variety, she used several different textures, shapes, sizes, etc. There is also variety in the cool colors used in the bottom half of the page versus the warm colors used in the top half. All of that further plays off the contrasting colors in the photo. Using a variety of products, from embellishments and twine to embossing folders and Cricut® cuts, also makes adding variety even easier!

4. Balance. This design principle is demonstrated in spades in the page above! Our artist decided to use symmetry as her primary means of creating balance, though there are other certainly other ways to create balance. Placing the photograph in the very center of the page, she then embellished all around it in a beautifully balanced way. Notice how the width of the “My Sunshine” title mirrors the width of the Canary, Cricut®-cut strip above the photograph. The symmetry of the page is not strict—those aqua dots are not lined up, people!—but the sense of balance persists in the way the elements offset each other on the page. You have to love how the gold shimmer trim and the Canary stamp in the top left part of the page balance the “July 2015” sentiment and the Glacier Extra Thick Twine bow in the bottom right.

Now that you’ve taken a few steps back to find your center, it’s time to return to your crafting space and tackle that tricky project. You can use these four basic design principles to help you through any crafting project, and before long, they will become second nature to you! Happy crafting!

Recipe

12″ x 12″ My Sunshine Page
Reflections: Front and Center—Basic
D1599 My Acrylix® Geek is Chic, X7190B Brushed Paper Packet, X5668 Honey Cardstock, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, X5764 Pear Cardstock, X5770 Glacier Cardstock, 1275 Outdoor Denim Cardstock, X5772 Canary Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2031 Paper Fundamentals Enchantment Assortment, Z2155 Topiary Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2643 Canary Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z1853 Aqua Dots, Z1918 Teal Shimmer Trim, Z1985 Gold Shimmer Trim, Z3039 Glacier Extra Thick Twine, Z1995 Honeycomb Embossing Folder, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z1851 Scallop Border Punch, Thread

Cricut® Shapes:
Artbooking
¾” Border <3> (p. 40)
1 ¼” Shift+Border <Vacation> (p. 67)

 

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