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)

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