What’s Your motif? Images and Meaning on Your Scrapbook Pages

by Debbie Hodge

From paisleys to paw prints, you’ll find a huge variety of images on scrapbook papers and embellishments that you can use to support your page subject. Some motifs are fun decorations and cues to your subject while others come with associations that can be used to deepen meaning.

the obvious image

The easiest use of of images on pages is to cue the viewer to a straight-forward understanding.

In “Fishing,” the fish sticker is a decoration that works along with the photos and the title to convey the subject of the page. There’s no exploration of the symbolic meaning of fishing here, just a recount of an afternoon of fishing.

imageFishing by Debbie Hodge

On “Ticket to  Ride,” Trish Turay used a strip in the middle to mirror a “sidewalk.” She used map paper to add a “travel” feel to a page of her son riding his bike.

imageTicket to Ride by Trish Turay

The bright epoxy cars and gingham airplane on “Beep” are great accompaniments to Kayleigh Wiles‘ page of everyday childhood play. The styling gives the page a whimsical feel perfectly suited to the topic.

imageBeep Beep by Kayleigh Wiles

the symbolic image

Every culture has images that come with associations to abstract ideas. To Buddhists, the lotus flower represents the progress of the soul. American colonists came to associate the pineapple with hospitality. Butterflies can symbolize growth, beauty, change, and even freedom.

A long-time dream of Myra Cherchio and her family was recently realized when they got a boat. She celebrates this with her page “Dream” on which she features the image of the cleat to which the boat is tied.

image Dream by Myra Cherchio

My page “10 Years Ago” shows my son and a neighbor 10 years younger and is my look at the changes that have occurred. Trees and a stamped ruler symbolize growth and change.

image 10 Years Ago by Debbie Hodge

setting tone

As you select images, think about the effect styling has on page tone. Depending on the style and tone of its rendering, the same image can evoke different emotions.

When Betsy Sammarco thinks of clouds, she thinks of day dreaming. She chose a background paper of soft clouds for this layout that describes the life she dreamt for her boys. The muted colors and vintage styling give the page a nostalgic and reminiscing feel.

imageI Dreamt for you this Life by Betsy Sammarco

On Aaron’s page, he used the “lofty” images of clouds and hot air balloons to support his message to his daughter: “Let Your Dreams Soar.” The tone of this cloud paper is more whimsical and “in-the-moment” than that on Betsy’s page.

imageLet Your Dreams Soar by Aaron (Sir ScrapALot)

Are there images you use a lot on your pages? Any subjects you’re planning to scrapbook that could use images to deeping the page meaning?

3 Responses to What’s Your motif? Images and Meaning on Your Scrapbook Pages

  1. Lizscraps August 5, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    love your articles — so full of insight keep em coming :)

  2. Irene at Gone Scrapbooking August 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Great article and layout inspiration! I linked to your post in today’s daily scrapbook news article at http://exm.nr/afyX0Y :)

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