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)

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