Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bethy's Tutorials: Repetition

Repetition: The act of repeating; a doing or saying again; iteration

As I was researching and putting together this tutorial, I realized that by repeating items or shapes in a layout it unifies a layout . . . emphasizes our theme. And second, it ties together the other concepts we’ve looked at as well!  Contrast and Alignment come into play when we talk about repetition!

Repetition . . . . we love knowing what’s coming next. Sure, we all love surprises, but a jarring surprise makes the artistic eye want to go back and explore what’s different. It breaks the flow. (important point here . . . if you are going to break the rule of repetition, make sure the jarring interruption is your focal point!)

The repetition in the layout can be photo series, a shape, element choices, and even words. When you are putting together your layout and it doesn’t feel like it flows, like it fits together, look at the shape of your pieces. Do they fit together? Are you using angles and circles, or swirls and harsh edges? Are the piece choices scattered? Do they fit the theme of the layout? Do you want edgy and fresh or soft and romantic? Think about the emotion of the shapes you choose size and then repeat those shapes to emphasize the emotion you want.

This sounds complicated. Everything has to be round in a layout?? But think about a romantic layout with flowers . . . aren’t the flowers basically round? Not exactly but pretty much . . . certainly not enough NOT round to be contrast. Rounded corners on your mats would help emphasize the emotion of that shape. Looking for a harder edge? Then try straight edges and angles . . . elements that continue the theme.

Another way to look at it . . . if you’re creating a soft, romantic layout, lots of hard edges might not work as well as rounded corners. Pieces of all kinds of shapes just doesn’t work. (This is where we can remember contrast.) Let’s say you have rounded corners on everything, if you put in your focal point with a square edge, it might help bring more attention to it. So, the repetition of the soft, rounded corners would help emphasize the piece that does NOT have the rounded edge!

I struggled finding bad examples of repetition. It can be a bunch of photos of the same theme that are all different sizes or using lots of different shapes without pulling them together in some cohesive way. Photos that are matted differently. Font work that doesn’t have a point of repetition to pull it together . . . and, remember last challenge, the point of repetition could be that right alignment! That gives our eye a nice repetitive place to look. (see how these all work together!)

Anyway, here are some good examples! I’ve been saving this layout just for this challenge! It’s a perfect example of repetition of photos with the exceptions making great focal points. The3chicken’s fandango's baby he. You can see the nice lines, the repetition of shapes and the great break in the repetition. Just a wonderful composition! This is one of my favorite all-time layouts!

Here’s one by Meg. You can see the repetition of the photos as circles but you can also see the big circle used as a mat. She continues the circle theme and that gives the layout a cohesive feel. She has lots of different photos but they all fit together.

Here’s one by me. Now, I’m not using this one as an example of using lots of photos (as that seems to be the focus of what I’m talking about) but as an example of the repetition of the rounded corner shape. The repetition of the rounded corner is what pulls this layout together that is filled with so many different photos and colors.


Here’s one by Rene' Bross. She noticed the circle in her photo and pulled that shape into the layout beautifully. The circle is repeated through the layout emphasizing that great photo and making it unequivocally the focal point.

Here’s another one of my favorites: vallie’s Witching Hour Magic. There’s a circle feeling all though it. The moon, the framing, even the curve of her head to her arm. It’s very rounded feeling and that makes it feel like it belongs together. The repetition of the shapes, through framing, and the photo make it feel like a piece that belongs together.

Here’s an example of repetition in journaling. It’s not one of my favorite layout designs but I like the journaling! By repeating the phrase “just yesterday” I’m emphasizing the feeling I’m trying to portray. Repetition in journaling can be very catchy, easy to read, and fun.


Here are three more examples of repetition that I found that I thought worked really well. First is Joannknnrd’s enjoy beach girl. It has great gallery appeal. Then two by Ann.  Her Shabby Chic layout here has some nice repetition that work well. Here’s another of Ann's, endurance,  that I liked. There’s something about the shape and the placement that show’s a strong sense of repetition that ties the layout together.

Now, go see what you can do keeping the concept of repetition in mind! But remember the Golden Rule . . . if you like the layout, LEAVE IT ALONE! If it doesn’t feel right to you, think through the concepts and see if tweaking or adjusting something according to the concepts, will help. And go through your gallery with a new critical eye. Being able to articulate what DOES work and what does NOT work in your own work, will make many of these concepts second nature. Not something that slows down your creative process but enhances it!

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

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