Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bethy's Tutorials: Focal Point

This time we're talking about focal points.
Simply put, divide your layout into thirds both vertically and horizontally. Where those lines intersect (at the red dots) those are your focal points. Those are where the eyes naturally rest. When you are placing the focal point of your layout, remember those dots.

And yes, with a few exceptions, every layout *should* have a focal point. That focal point should be bigger than everything else, it should jump and yell "LOOK AT ME". It could be the title, an embellishment, the journaling. But, most often, it's one of your photos. So, should you center your photo right on those focal points?? Nope! Center the focal point of your focal point on them!! Did you get that?? LOL

If it's a close-up of your darling granddaughter, make sure her eyes are near that point. Is it a photo of your husband holding your baby boy's hand? Put those hands on one of those red dots!

Let's touch VERY quickly on flow. The natural way your eye flows through a layout is that dotted line in my sample. Starts at the top left and Z's through to the bottom right. Flowing through each of those dots. That's key when you are placing elements. You can use those elements to enhance the natural way our eyes go through a layout. Have the help the viewer go to the focal point.

And hey, have you every noticed those fantastic negative space layouts? The ones with a cluster of elements and lots of empty space. Did you ever notice that *most* of them tend to weight to the bottom right? Well, that's because of flow. Your eye ends up there. I've tried to do layouts that aren't there and they always feel off to me. Why? Because that's they way the eye flows!

Now, when I first started reading all these "design rules" I started to feel overwhelmed. I started to think too much. But, these things are what your eye does naturally!! It's just understanding that. So, when you are designing your layout, if your fussing with it and it feels off, remember these natural design rules! It just may help you fuss that layout to a composition that makes you happy!!

And, again, I would highly recommend the Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams.  Although she doesn't talk about Focal Points, she touches on so many other areas that really make you realize how to put together all the basic thoughts on design together in a pleasing way!

1 comment:

Ellie said...

Thank you very much Beth, for your wonderful tutorials. They have been very helpful to me.

I have a question about focal point and hot spots. Do I understand it correctly that the bottom right sopt is the strongest? I am asking because some time ago someone posted on dsp a chart with hot spots and the top left had 41% strengh, top right 20%, bottom left 25% and bottom right only 14%, which means that it is the weakest of all and top left is the strongest. SO now I ma confused. HAve you heard anything like that?