Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bethy's Tutorials: Alignment

This was a tutorial I first introduced at another site and I'm now putting them into my blog to keep them easy to find!

Note: The concepts we're talking about in these tutorials are not hard and fast rules! Remember not to worry as you put together your layout if you are following the “rules.” These concepts are to help you when you are looking at your layout and aren’t happy with it. You can run through this rule and other design rules and see if tweaking anything might help! The final judge of any layout is you if you are happy, then don’t worry about any of these!!

Alignment plays a big part in giving the viewer a chance to really absorb a layout. When there is no thought given to alignment, a layout can look jumbled and the viewer will feel like they don’t know where to look or what’s important.

Alignment is important in font work and photo/element alignment. (at least that’s the two pieces will be talking about)

For fonts . . . for most times, right or left alignment in your journaling is the strongest. We all like the symmetrical feel of centered text but, visually, it’s the hardest to read and doesn’t give a strong line anywhere. Now, there are times it works, but most of the time you want to lean towards right, left, or even both sides alignment.

Here are two examples from our last challenge on contrast. These are by sayo_c. She did a fantastic job of some fun font work with good contrast. But compare the first and last one. The first one, while fun, looks a bit jumbled. When she aligned the right side, the emphasis on the fonts really shines!

Here’s one I did that is similar I aligned the right side and made the spacing between the lines the same. The viewer has a sense of stability even while reading all of our crazy fonts!

(credits: MeeMaw by Elizabeth Weaver) 

Here’s some examples of photo alignment. The first one I did was ok. But the spacing on the photos wasn’t even and the top and bottom weren’t working together. Once I lined them up exactly, and then using BIG contrast for the title (REALLY big), the layout worked better!


Ok . . . some other examples . . . (and, please, I’m NOT picking on you if I use it as a don’t-do-this example! LOL) MommyPanda had this one for her first round entry in the NKOTB contest. It’s a cute layout with lots of fun details. But those details are scattered all over the page. It’s hard for us to see them all as we are concentrating on trying to find them first! An alignment for the title and the photos would help us see the whole picture. Like . . . lining up those important people along the bottom . . . title on top. They don’t have to be in a straight line but all together so we can see what’s important.

Then look at this one by her. There’s some great alignment here . . . from the elements at the top, to the columns of journaling. It’s easy to look at and see what we should be reading.

Here’s a good example by Ann (the3chickens) of a layout FILLED with elements and nothing seems to be aligned. But it works . . . why? Because it DOES have an alignment along the bottom. She has everything aligned along the ribbon stretched across the bottom. It’s not lined up . . . but centered and weighted along one line. That is an alignment that gives this layout, filled with layers, a line that makes us feel centered.

Ok, Nancy’s first Bootcamp layout. (picking on a bootcamp entry so that’s a bit unfair but she did say I could!) Can you see how NOT having the photos aligned or the same size . . . no stability to it, doesn’t show off her cute grandkids as well as it could??

Then see this one she did for another challenge. The angles are aligned with the journaling strips and the photo give this a very strong line!

Cindy's (lovedigiscrapin) layout. Fantastic alignment. In fact, I still remember the first layout I saw from her . . . her style is a great one for studying alignment.

Next, is a layout by nancyr. (and I’m picking on her very first layout so that’s not really fair!) Well, this layout has great tilt for contrast and nice colors for contrast . . . but here’s where we can combine the concepts of contrast AND alignment. If you have different size photos and lots of colors then it becomes EXTRA important to align things cleanly or understandably. If these photos were all the same size, and matted the same, then you can throw some great tilt in there. But when you have different sizes and colors, then alignment becomes more important.

Let’s see how far she’s come . . . check out this one she did for DSU290 . . . lots of colors, different size photos . . . but FANTASTIC alignment so it pulls it all together.

Here’s one of mine. Cute photo but nothing lines up . . . I tried but the text is all over the place. It makes it hard to see what I should be looking at.

(elements by Tina Chambers, Meryl Bartho, and Lauren Bavin)

Here’s one of my favorite scrappers, Meg. What great lines in this. Each line ends and starts at the same point. But they have different shapes and elements. But the echo of the straight line gives the eye a great line.

SOO, alignment is important in fonts and in photo/element alignment. Your challenge is to think about these ideas and see what you can come up with! Or study your gallery. Find one that definitely does NOT follow the rules of alignment and re-do it! Just keep in mind that your eye is the most important one to please.

(and go to your library and check out "The Non-Designers Design Book" by Robin Williams . . . lots of great information there that translates to scrapping quite easily!)

(you can click on most of the layouts above for full list of credits)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bethy's Tutorials: Contrast

This was a tutorial I first introduced at another site and I'm now putting them into my blog to keep them easy to find!

The concept for today is contrast. It sounds easy enough but it's one that scrapbookers often miss. Here are just four different ways contrast can influence a layout . . .font work, angles, color, and photos.

Contrast gives a layout POP, gives it movement, and makes it interesting. Without contrast, a layout often feels flat. The key is to be bold! If two items are different, make it known!! Don't by shy with contrast!

Ok, let’s get started!

First, font work. Don't have one font just a smidge smaller than the other or use similar fonts together. Make the difference obvious! Use a HUGE swirly font with a small serif.

Here are some examples of what I mean on bad font work. This is an early one of mine. I chose two fonts that, while not the same, aren't BOLD enough in their difference. Just making one really big or fading it isn't enough.


Here's one I do like: Meg's Many Man.  The softness of the handwriting font she chose is off-set by the big bold label font! It's a beautiful contrast.

Most of the time, you only want 2 or 3 fonts on a layout. And make them different! Fonts that aren’t the same yet aren’t different enough actually causes conflict. It’s like they are fighting to see who's in charge. Now, choose a HUGE swirly font for your main idea and balance it with a clean font, and they will work together.

Font work is a big concept to understand so study ones that work for you and ask questions! (oh, and Tina's word art class!!)

Next, angles! Don't tilt one photo a tiny bit to the left or the right . . . make it look purposeful . . . that you MEANT to do it not that it was just a bit off-kilter. A small increment makes things look crooked. A big one . . . well, you MEANT to do that! That gives it movement and energy.

Here's a great one I found in Bocca's gallery. The tilts are bold and dynamic. It echoes the energy of the layout in a great way!

Here's one that isn't working for me . . . although I like the layout the subtle tilt of just the photo makes it look like a mistake. I think it would look cleaner if I had kept the photo straight OR I could've funk-ed it up a bit by adding another mat and tilting it as well. (we'll be talking a bit more about this concept in another tutorial)

(elements by Elizabeth Weaver and Tina Chambers)

Third, color. If you use a mainly monochromatic kit, add just a touch of bright color and watch the layout just POP! A slight bit of red in this layout by Pam (donut) gives my very monochromatic kit, a dramatic feel!

Color is a big subject. If you are interested in color theory, here are a few links you can look at. For this lesson, we’re looking at ways to make a layout pop with contrast. Using a highlight color in key areas will draw the eye there and give the layout some more zing.

And last, photo size. Let us know what photo is the subject of the layout. Don't make us guess! Give the most important one overwhelming importance!! Let's take this very early layout of mine. (I'm SO blushing that I'm even pointing these out to all of you!).


This layout simply doesn't work for me. (and this is the after version! Yikes!) The photos are the same size and look flat. Now, look at this layout of mine. Again, 2 photos of the same size yet this layout DOES work. Why? Angles give the layout movement, color gives it contrast, the font work is interesting.


Now, remember one important thing . . . art IS subjective. There are no hard and fast rules. These are just guidelines that can help you. When a layout isn't working for me, I work through some of the standard design rules and see if I'm either following the rule or breaking it in a BIG way. (again, contrast, if you're going to break the rule . . . make it KNOWN you're breaking it!!) But what works for me might not work for you. If, in the end, YOU like the layout, then that is what is important. You are preserving a memory for you and your family. Adhering to rules that don't work for your layout doesn't make sense. But knowing them, can help you when your stuck or not happy with the way a layout is going!

I'm getting a lot of these general concepts from The Non-Designers Design Book by Robin Williams. I read it several years ago and found it to be a great resource with fantastic examples! I would recommend everyone check it out of the library!!

(you can click on most of the layouts for a full list of credits)